Restaurants are difficult to judge because a whole bunch of them are good, there’s even a good chunk that are great, but I’ve only ever been to a few that are transcendent in quality. That being said, let’s talk about a restaurant that gets categorized into the first bubble: a genuinely good restaurant.
In the heart of Orlando, just off International Drive and Universal Boulevard, you’ll find the Universal Studios Resort area which is an absolutely giant stretch of land that spans Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure [the two major theme parks], City Walk [the major shopping area], and a whole host of hotels. Inside City Walk, you’ll find a bunch of restaurants that are cut from a different cloth: not chain restaurants, but unique, good food all around.
The strange, yellow blog-guardian of The Cowfish
One restaurant has this weird blobular (is that a word?) fish sculpture guarding the front gates that people regularly take pictures with. This blobular thing is the mascot of The Cowfish, a restaurant with a genre of food I had never even heard of, and have never even thought about combining: Sushi-Burger Fusion.
No, I’m not joking. They really combined sushi and hamburgers into a restaurant concept.
Don’t mind us, we’re just excited about a day in Orlando
Now, when you first walk into the bottom floor, the hostess greets you and tells you to head upstairs. The stairs circle around a tower-looking-thing before leading you to an eclectic environment of fish bowls with strange decorations and live fish in them, a bar area, and seats that have everyone facing the bar as well as regular tables. There is outside seating as well that seats you on a balcony overlooking the bustling City Walk environment down below, but on this day, the heat won the battle of the day, so we decided to stay indoors. There was no more room in the regular dining room so we went upstairs into another nice, cozy, strangely decorated room. The wall immediately behind us was adorned with Chinese samurai women with mustaches. Everything was weird.
My wife (Michy) and her partner in crime (Jose)
We get our menus, and the food portion is very clearly divided into three separate things: Sushi first, Burgers second, and Burgooshi third. What is Burgooshi you ask? I didn’t know either, but the menu described it as a combination between a burger and sushi, which didn’t really clarify anything because what the hell does that even mean? How do you combine a burger with sushi?
If I would’ve had the whole thing, I would’ve been stumbling all over Orlando
The waiter came by and took our drinks, and I decided to go for a spiked milkshake, meaning it was a milkshake with alcohol in it. It was actually quite delicious, but since I’m not a huge drinker, I did end up leaving the majority of it untouched.
When the waiter returned to take our orders, I decided When in Rome… and I went for it. I ordered the Burgooshi. My wife ordered a sushi roll. Her best friend ordered a burger. We essentially tried out the three major themes of the restaurant.
This is what Burgooshi looks like. The stuff on top is potato, repurposed to look like noodles. On the bottom of all that is the Burgooshi itself.
The burger was great, and the sushi roll was apparently great as well (from what my wife tells me), but the Burgooshi really stole the show. It’s surprising to think that this concept could even work, but basically what they did was take potato skin and turn it into the paper to then wrap burger ingredients into a neat little sushi roll. It was weird to look at. The top is adorned with this stringed potatoes that were supposed to simulate noodles. Basically the whole thing is to make a hamburger with the same exact ingredients as usual, but combine it into the form of a sushi roll instead of it’s normal sandwich form. It sounds odd, but don’t knock it until you try it!
One roll of Burgooshi. Excellent.
I would absolutely go back and revisit the Cowfish and try out some of the other things the menu has to offer. The menu is expansive enough, it’s a bit pricey for the quality of food you’re receiving, but it’s not so outrageous as to be prohibitive. We spent $70 including tip, and I feel like the meal in actuality was worth around $60, so it wasn’t too far off. The staff is friendly and overall the experience was worth it!
However, I am a bit of a harsh food critic in one sense: it is very very easy for me to give a restaurant three stars, and it is relatively easy for me to give a restaurant four stars, but I reserve the five star status for truly amazing experiences. This was not a five star meal. This wasn’t even the best that City Walk had to offer in terms of its restaurants (Margaritaville & Vivo are still preferable to this), but it was good enough to get above three stars.
I give it three and a half stars, a big thumbs up, and a recommendation to go try it yourself if you’re in the mood to try something new and eccentric!
-The Wandering Toucan