Some great Australian Bites Sizzling in the City
by Christian Salopek
As I dragged my baggage up and out the subway to begin my new journey as an Australian in the big city there was a tingle of excitement that tickled inside me, or maybe it was a rumbling of hunger and a parching thirst for home. I was tired and the humidity made the air thick but the sun was hot and reminded me of where I had come from, Perth Western Australia, and there is nothing we ‘West Aussies’ enjoy more than a nice cold beer after a long day like this one. A few days after my arrival would be June 1st, a date that commemorates the founding of Western Australia, we call it ‘WA Day. It’s a public holiday that usually invites the smells of sizzling red meat and seafood on the barbecue under a sunny day with an icy (alcoholic) beverage. So, I thought to myself what better way to spend the evening than to find somewhere to eat, a place like home. But the last thing I would have imagined, when travelling half way around the world to arrive wandering between the tall mirrors of glass buildings and bright lights, is to find anything that remotely resembled Australia. To my surprise though, New York City has a great barbecue culture.
A succulent pulled pork roll with nicely poured bourbon seems to be something that is easy to find – and it’s amazing. Even more surprising is the taste of Australian barbeque that through word of mouth had me sitting on a rooftop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn watching the sun dip behind the tall city from across the river. The restaurant was called ‘Northern Territory’ named after the dry desert state right in the middle of Australia, where that big giant rock sits, you know, the one that’s probably on all our tourism advertisements. What a name! The menu consisted of REAL Australian beers (Coopers Pale Ale was my beer of choice) with a selection of barbequed skewers; seafood, red meat and chicken cooked just like it would be at home, with simple sides like a bowl of delicious rosemary wedges or vegetables. Some dishes on the menu that just screamed “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” were the ‘Bangas & Mash’ (pork sausages with caramelized onions and mashed potatoes), ‘Fish & Chips’ (literally fish and fries, a typical weekend meal in Australia), and my personal favorite, the ‘Aussie Meat Pie’, known as the Australian laborers choice of lunch. Quite simply, this place was exactly like home, and although you couldn’t eat on the rooftop, the dimly lit downstairs complimented the well-made ‘old fashioned’ and the beautiful sunset view, which followed the meal.
If Australian style Barbeque and a drink on a rooftop is something you wish to try I highly recommend this place. Situated on the corner of Franklin St and Meserole Ave it’s a stones throw from the water and not too far from a subway. But there’s plenty more of Australian styled food around! Maybe try ‘Burke & Wills’; a little more of a pricey spot found in Manhattan, offering seasonal flavors from down under which even offers a kangaroo burger! Or try the comically named ‘Thirsty Koala’ in Astoria, Queens, which apart from the obvious name choice also shares with New York the flavors of Australia, also including a kangaroo burger. And both these places also pour a nice pint of Aussie brewed beer.
If watching rugby, cricket or soccer is your thing, head to friendly Midtown pub "The Australian". The sports bar right of Fifth Avenue hosts a popular happy hour and serves up typical Australian beer and pub fare, Australian burgers and for the adventurous, Kangaroo loin and Kangaroo skewers.
The smell of tender meat cooking over flames and the light bubble of a freshly poured brew is something I think New Yorkers enjoy as much as us Australians. And there are little pieces of Australia hidden within the ‘Big Apple’ just waiting for a visit without a delayed flight or jetlag. So have a try! As I say from experience, there’s no better way to end a day than a southern hemisphere influenced menu and a frothy foreign beer that cools the crisp heat of the summer sun.
Visit the restaurant’s websites below for more info:
Northern Territory: 12 Franklin Street, Brooklyn 11222
Burke & Wills: 226 W. 79th Street, NY 10024
The Thirst Koala: 35 -12 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria 11105
The Australian: 20 W. 38th Street, NY 10018