162 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
New York, NY 10009
The heat wave last week was a part of everyone's conversation. The sun's scorching ray charred both man and vampire alike, the humidity drowned people in their own sweat, subway platforms became ovens. If that wasn't enough: flying cockroaches. It was into this hellscape that Bro and I actively chose to go to Alphabet city for Australian food. Bro spent some of his college days in the land down under and had, I deduce, such a bloody right time that he cracks a fat just about every time it comes up. To this day, his rain gear of choice is a waxed-leather outback hat. Ergo, it wasn't too difficult to convince him to join me for dinner here at Flinders Lane (not possessive).
The interior of Flinders Lane is just about what one would expect from a restaurant that caters to people in their mid-30s with a few pennies to rub betwixt their digits. It's very post-Millennial Brooklyn despite it East Village locale. It's very my generation. Coming in from an outside that was shockingly hot and unbreatheably humid, the first thing I noticed was that Flinders Lane needs a better air conditioner. It was better inside, but by no means as brisk as I would have liked. Bro and I didn't have reservations, so we sat at the bar. I inhaled cool glasses of water as fast as they could be poured. The drinks aren't cheap but they're not Wall Street expense account expensive and (except for the dish I ordered) the food is about the same. The menu is small and varied, but it's neither culinarily nor culturally focused. Australia, like the United States, is a melting pot and the Flinders Lane menu reflects an appreciation of that particular flavor of fondue. No two dishes are in the same ballpark.
Starting with drinks, of course, while we picked over the menu, Bro ordered an Australian beer. I ordered a Chamomile Old Fashioned, made with rye whisky and cognac. This was a boo boo. It was thin and made my tongue feel weird. See that woman in the photo above wearing what looks like a orange tie-dye bib? She was sitting next to me at the bar and when she went to the bathroom, I snapped a photo of her drink. I don't know what it was but I should have gotten it instead.
Bro didn't want a regular appetizer like a regular person in a regular restaurant, so he ordered a side salad. It's basically arugula and dressing, but it was huge. And quite delicious. Not filling. But huge and delicious. I ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid, a dish of lightly fried squid in a hot and sour dressing mixed with shallots, grapefruit, and mint. Fantastic. Perfect for summer. The dish was cool and tart, sweet and herbal. Rest assured that this will not be like any other calamari appetizer you have this year (unless you order it twice).
The Coconut Curry Laksa, a curry stew of tofu, rice noodles, and crab was Bro's entree. It was just fantastic. Bro loved it and immediately commented "how is this Australian?" Yeah, if you got it at a Thai restaurant, you'd simply say "what great coconut curry", but at an Australian place you're more likely to cock an eyebrow. Because I can't see something unique or rare and not eat it, I had to have the Kangaroo Loin, a pair of pan seared kangaroo filets, a slab o' falafel, lemon yogurt, parsley salad, and onion. This was a Mediterranean entree but with kangaroo. The dish itself was very good. Very good. Buuuuttttt... it would'a been better if it was made with lamb. Kangaroo is a little gamey. A little hard.
These dishes are, according to the staff, "Australian entrees inspired by" other cultures. So like I said, Flinders Lane reflects the cultures that have worked their way into the Australian milieu. This might irritate some ultra-liberals who see it as a watering down of "authenticity" or might irritate some ultra-conservatives who see it as a corrupting of "the way things used to be." Well, fuck the both of you. Anyway, then we got dessert. This was a four scoop variety pack of ice cream. I don't remember what it was called, but each flavor (vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and ... umm...) was amazing. Definitely delightful. Especially in the
There's also a $60, five course prix-fix menu which I did not get but should have. Our meal, which was three drinks, an appetizer, a side dish, two entrees, and a dessert, plus tax and tip, came to $145. Since my kangaroo entree was $32 (ouch), you should expect your bill to be a bit lower.