By Seth Fera-Schanes
It just hopped off the menu (in a manner of speaking) when I sat down at Burke & Wills on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. To be fair, I actually made reservations at this hip Australian restaurant to take advantage of the city’s restaurant week deals. I have covered restaurant week in the past but it really is a great opportunity to expand your food horizons and try places (or cuisine’s) you might normally shy away from.
The restaurant offers a Kangaroo Burger and that is exactly what I ordered. They also offered a kangaroo loin starter but I didn’t want to overdue it. For an appetizer I got a parsnip and white chocolate soup which seemed like a bold pairing and it didn’t disappoint.
After I told the server what I would like for my main course, she informed me the chef recommended the burger be prepared medium-rare. I did have a moment of hesitation. In general, I prefer my burgers with a little more time over the flames. Foodie types can feel free to disagree but I know what I like. However, I also have a policy of listening to chefs (especially when trying something new) to make sure I am getting the best experience of a recipe. With my new food policy overcoming my apparent lack of enjoying juicy rare burger policy, I agreed to go with medium-rare. She also provided some context that kangaroo meat is a little gamey and very lean and will quickly overcook (I appreciated her walking me through the reasoning for the preparation.)
The burger came with the thickest cut fries I have ever been served (let’s just call them potato wedges) and a side of spicy aioli which was delicious. The burger itself was really good. I knew I wasn’t eating a beef burger but that is exactly the point. It could be considered a little gamey but not at all off putting. It was lean, full flavored and something I would definitely order again.
The meal was finished out with some house-made doughnuts with a caramel dipping sauce and Nutella dipping sauce. The dessert was really rich, but no one is going to take issue with sugary dough and delicious Nutella, no one. It was gone in 60 seconds.
Overall, it was a great dining experience at Burke and Wills. I am glad I got to try the kangaroo burger and will be showcasing some more Australian cuisine around the city.