Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar - Perimter Mall - Dunwoody Atlanta Georgia

You can find The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar at 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30346 next to the main entrance (facing Ashford Dunwood Rd) of Perimeter Mall. This was coincidentally the same location of Tom Catherall's sushi restaurant Goldfish. There's plenty of mall parking out front - unfortunately there's also a huge area roped off for the valet so you will probably need to walk a bit unless you can stand waiting for your car when you're ready to leave (pet peeve of mine).

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with The Cowfish - it's near my work so it's convenient and I think in general the food is good here. To understand this place, think of two contrasting food types, in this case hamburgers and sushi, and mash them together into interesting combinations. I have eaten here a few times and did not have a high opinion - the food flavors work but in general, I thought it a bit pricey for what you received (more on that later) and really, why eat here when there are so many good burger and sushi joints nearby? My opinion improved during a Yelp Elite event when I was able to taste much of the menu and met one of the owners (from Austin Texas). This owner-chef really gets things and I could tell he had a genuine love of food and was all-in regarding the success of Cowfish.

The interior of The Cowfish is Industrial-Modern with concrete floors and plenty of tile and wood finishes. The place gets packed during lunch and dinner, but a bit less so during the time in-between so I would recommend either a late lunch or early dinner - or if you're by yourself sit at the bar and avoid any waits. I love the homage artwork on pretty much all the walls - these are common graphic designs with an intentional Cowfish element working into the graphics - it takes a lot of time and talent to do this and these artists do it well. There's well designed elements everywhere you look - even the bathroom signs on the doors add an element whimsy you rarely see - I like a restaurant that doesn't take itself too seriously. There are also as you would expect fish tanks so you can stare at what would otherwise be food (make sure you visit an actual Cowfish behind the bar).

The initial meal I had here got me into a negative path - the restaurant was newly open and my expectations were fairly low. We started with the Crab Rangood Dip and it was unusual and good. I ordered a Burgushi Bento box and my friends ordered burgers with fries. I figured the Bento would give me an overall taste of what the restaurant was about as it included a slider and a few pieces of sushi. The problem with both dishes has to do with the amount of fries and fodder included to keep the pricing low. I love fries and edamame as much as the next guy but if that's all I remember from what I've eaten it puts me in the wrong mindset. In a word, the bento was just not worth what I paid for the little bit of real food compartmentalized in the box - and frankly the slider was tiny, maybe 1.5 inches square (small enough that I could have eaten it in one bite - instead I tried to stretch it to two). Ugh.

Since that initial visit I've had pretty much everything on the menu. For appetizers I'd go with the Blackened Tuna Nachos or the Spicy Poke Dip. I also like in general the salads and the burgers, provided you sub a salad for the fries (unless you really, really like fries as there's a lot of them) or get their very good cucumber salad. If you opt for the a side-salad then get the Parmesan Bacon Truffle Fries as an app. I think the sushi here is good and the rolls tasty - but I prefer nigiri over rolls and fortunately the fish here is fresh (not that frozen crap you get at buffets).

The service here can be a bit hit-or-miss but has improved to the point where I've revised my opinion, rounding up and give The Cowfish 4 of 5 stars. This is an improvement over my initial opinion of 2.5 rounding to 3 stars.

(Also posted to Yelp)
The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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