After glowing reviews about a new, hip sandwich spot in Downtown, I immediately put Blue Cow Kitchen in The List. Having eaten at Casa, the restaurant the preceded Blue Cow, I was a bit skeptical. I wasn’t too fond of my last visit to Casa, and finding out that it went out of business didn’t surprise me. It was exciting to find that Mendocino farms is venturing out and starting a sandwich spot / bar. Ultimately, I was hungry and wanted to see what all of the fuss was about.
When I read that a New-American happy hour joint was serving pork belly bahn “mini” sandwiches, I was surprised. The bahn xeo taco shells were made of some kind of crepe batter. The filling of pickled vegetables, herbs and sweet aioli were familiarized by my taste buds, but the taco look alike made this fun to eat. The pork belly was fatty, though not too fatty, and the meat was tasty. This was a perfect little package.
The Blue Cow Mendo steak sandwich was better than I thought it would be. Grilled to a perfect medium, the steak wasn’t tough at all. I always don’t like steak sandwiches that don’t bite off with your teeth. You are left pulling the steak from your teeth like a barbarian –this sandwich wasn’t so. The meat was tender and flavorful from the marinade and super thick. Topped with roasted tomato, and caramelized onions, it gave it enough complexity. The candied bacon was lacking, but the arugula and cilantro spread rounded out everything well. Grilled rustic white bread was a perfect choice for this rustic sandwich. Pickles, picked carrots, and cauliflower in between bites made this a perfect steak sandwich.
My carnivorous side kicked in, and I wanted more meat. We ordered the Pitman Farm’s duck wings. Intrigued at first, I was a bit disappointed in these. The duck wings confit are grilled with an aji amarillo glaze. The glaze was tasty, and the dipping sauce was a nice accompaniment. My only gripe about this dish was that it came out looking half eaten. Maybe it was because it was so “off the bone” tender, but all of the meat was literally off the bone. I honestly was looking for something like regular chicken wings, but from a duck. Nonetheless, the meat was buttery smooth and delicious.
The name got me — pink eggs and ham. These eggs marinated in beet juice, outer egg whites turned pink. Using Mendocino mustard for the filling, the taste was exceptional. These were up there with some of the best deviled eggs I ever had. Topped with double smoked bacon and candied jalapenos, it was a delight, rich with flavor. I’m glad the name caught me because I would have missed out have I not ordered these.
After an interesting “small plates” kind of dinner, there was something called Ooey Gooey Cake. It isn’t on the menu, but something called Ooey Gooey cake has to be good. It was almost like a tres leches cake, without the wetness. The creme fraiche and strawberries were a nice addition to the cake. The cake itself was dense, yet fluffy, and not too sweet. It was a great ending.
I was surprised with their dishes. The small plates made it easy to try a lot of different things. The atmosphere is nice inside and outside. I felt like I didn’t fit in. Everyone was in suits and business attire, and there I was with jeans, and a t-shirt. It didn’t matter because the vibe of the whole place wasn’t stuffy at all. Even at the end, the waitor gave us the check and a little sketch book to draw in. I flipped through and saw a bunch of doodles and writings everyone did. One in particular caught my eye — it was a duck without its wing because, well, we had duck wings confit. I thought little things like that made this place so relaxed and was a fun dining experience. This new sandwich and happy hour hot spot gets crowded after 5 PM. I came for the food, but most come to drink. Either way, you come, sit, and “Eat Happy”.