Cowfish: A Review

Last night Jimmy & I went out for "date night." This might not seem like a big deal, but since we haven't gotten any sitters used to watching Skylar at night yet, we rarely go out just the two of us. Thus far we've only gone out just the two of us when we've had family in town... and that's pretty rare. So, when we were trying to figure out where to go last night it was a big deal to find somewhere good because we don't have time to mess around with mediocre date locations... (lol, i'm so dramatic). Anyway... A good friend suggested the brand-new restaurant: The Cowfish as a possible location. After looking at their menu we decided to go for it!

The Cowfish is brand new to the Raleigh area, but is only the 2nd location for this restaurant. So, I'd still consider it to be a fairly "local" type restaurant. It's gotten a lot of hype from what I can tell because it was PACKED when we got there. At 8:30. Yes, that's right... at 8:30 at night there was a wait for a table for 2. So, I would recommend reservations (though I will say that they only accept reservations till 6 pm -- at least on weeknights. I'm not sure about the weekend).

First impressions: The dining room is rather understated... except for the giant fishbowl in the middle of the bar section. Seriously. Giant:

They have an interesting outdoor dining area that seems like it would be really hot a lot of the time, but gives them more room for guests. Fortunately we were seated indoors (it was muggy as anything last night -- I'm pretty sure it wasn't very comfortable outside). It was also LOUD. But I suppose that's to be expected with a very busy restaurant. I'm sure it's even more so on the weekends... eek! ;)

There was a good selection of music... right up until they played . But .. withstanding it was a nice atmosphere in general. Not super fancy, but not run-of-the-mill either. I also LOVED the tongue-in-cheek artwork on the walls. I only snapped a picture of one of them, but check this out:


Heheheheheheh... Love it.

Okay. On to the real review... the FOOD. It took us a while to settle on what we wanted to order... but we finally did. We started with two Appetizers:

IMG_4695-RangoonDip Crab Rangoon Dip Classic crab rangoon filling served as a creamy dip topped with a parmesan panko crust, served with wonton crisps and sweet chili sauce

IMG_4693-SpringRolls Lobster & Crab Spring Rolls Maine lobster, blue crab, Napa cabbage, ginger, bok choy and carrots rolled in spring roll wrappers and flash fried until crispy. Served with cilantro pesto, Thai chili sauce and Cajun marmalade for dipping

The verdict: We LOVED the Crab Rangoon dip. Jimmy really likes regular Crab Rangoons and this was sort of a deconstructed version of that. It was very flavorful and not too fishy. We felt the opposite about the Lobster & Crab Spring Roll. These were low in flavor and pretty underwhelming. We both felt like we'd rather eat any other part of our dinner again except for the Spring Rolls. So, my recommendation is to skip this one (easier on your wallet and your waistline too).

On to the Main Course:

The menu is filled with regular entrees as well as sampler platters of burgers and sushi. We both really wanted sushi rolls of some type for dinner so we went with that and skipped all the rest. Here are the two we picked out:

IMG_4709-FilletSushi-Sz “The Prime Time” Filet & Lobster Roll Filet Mignon, portabella mushroom and asparagus rolled inside, topped with our famous lump crabcake mix and baked to perfection. Served drizzled with spicy cream sauce.

IMG_4707-fishsushi-size Master Chef Rifali’s Nirvana Roll Avocado, cream cheese and yellowfin tuna roll, topped with whitefish and baked with spicy mayo and sweet eel sauce. Finished with a drop of our delicious cilantro pesto and 4 different types of roe.

The Verdict: These were both phenomenal. It's worth noting that "The Prime Time" roll was a full 8 pieces, but the picture is only of 4 because I didn't get a good picture until half of it was gone. The "Prime Time Roll" has a lot of depth of flavor. The meat is perfectly rare and the truffle mushrooms on top bring the perfect amount of richness and saltiness to the roll. The Nirvana Roll was equally yummy. The Yellowtail was very good and the flaky fish on the outside was cooked just right. The cream cheese and avocado added a delicious creaminess to this roll. My only "complaint" is that there was no texture in the roll. I typically prefer something a bit crunchy in my sushi. Jimmy preferred the Nirvana Roll and I (very slightly) preferred "The Prime Time" roll. They were both amazing... and it would be difficult to not get the very same rolls again if we go back to The Cowfish in the future. So. I highly recommend both of these rolls!!

Finally... Dessert. I have to admit that I failed completely at taking a picture of this whole. We got the dessert to go and after we arrived at a friend's house to play with her baby chicks I completely forgot to take a picture before diving into this yummy treat. But here's a partially eaten picture:

cheesecake-sz Chef Dave's Not Factory Made Cheesecake Rich and creamy coconut almond cheesecake atop a golden fortune cookie crust. Finished with almond coconut and raspberry sauce

The Verdict: This was HUGE. I mean HUGE when it was whole. I think 4 people could share it and still get a decent amount of the dessert. This was also pretty tasty. The coconut flavor could have been a bit stronger for my taste, but generally it was actually pretty light -- especially for cheesecake. I enjoyed the fact that the coconut was very summery and gave it a creaminess (although it's cheesecake, so how hard is it to make it creamy? ;))

Overall thoughts: The service was attentive though not particularly memorable (our waiter specifically seemed both busy and kinda quiet -- he was otherwise very good and our water glasses were never low and he was around often in case we had questions). The dining room was definitely busy and somewhat loud, but not otherwise bad. Their bar area is not very comfortable (the chairs are not what I prefer and were definitely not meant for someone to sit in for long periods of time). Fortunately we spent very little time there since our table was ready pretty quickly. In terms of price we were both impressed by the quality of food for the price. The Cowfish is by no means an inexpensive night out, but our bill (with tip) was actually under $100 (it also included a glass of wine and a beer). The bathrooms are a whole other experience that I'll let you discover for yourself.

But I will leave you with the Buddah Belly Elvis who greets you in the restroom area:


Peace, Love, Burgers & Sushi, Emmie