Some Spurgles with Your Tarakihi? 

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Bondi Road  153 Rivington St, 212-253-5311
Price Range: $18-28
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Bondi Road calls itself an Australian Fish Shack. Australian? Yes. Fish? Yes. Shack? Nope. You won’t find corrugated steel or old longboards hanging from the roof. Instead, the walls are a giant photo panorama of the famed surf destination, and above the open kitchen and stainless steel bar, a projector displays some killer waves. But you will find the shack vibe in the incessantly friendly staff and the method of ordering: you use a pencil to mark an “X” next to what you want on the menu.

To get in an Aussie mood, we started with Oyster Shooters, mine tropical fruit-flavored, hers Bloody Mary-fied ($3). These were shots of vodka with a briny oyster and a flavor kick. I could have downed them all night, but a gut full of vodka and oysters makes for a dangerous meal, so I switched to Cooper ale, while my girlfriend tried the Sunburnt Cow, a saccharine mess of tequila and passion fruit, one of the restaurant’s few missteps.
The restaurant flies in its fish twice weekly from Australia to give ex-pats whatever they crave. The list is ever-changing, with selections such as John Dory, Tarakihi, Groper (yes, like your junior high band teacher), and Tasmanian Ocean Trout. Each can be ordered beer-battered (fried), breaded (fried), or grilled. I went for the grilled Barramundi ($15). It came out lightly seasoned and unsauced, letting the fish be the star. The meaty flesh was cooked to perfection, still rare in the middle, and served with a cold corn and orzo salad. I regret not getting it battered, which is their specialty. Chunks of it are served vertically, Belgian frite-style, with a light, crunchy batter approaching tempura.

My girlfriend ordered the opposite of my fresh fish, a rich Scallop Hot Pot ($9). The sweet bay scallops, still quivering inside, paired well with smoky bacon and bitter cabbage, while the pool of bacon fat made the ultimate condiment for our crisp fries — I mean, chips. We also got a plate of grilled veggies to split that were pretty meager. The $4-side turned out to be two baby squash and two baby zucchini, barely heated.

We finished with two glasses of “Spurgles” — an addictive sparkling shiraz — and my favorite Aussie sweet, Pavlova ($5). It’s a meringue mound that’s crunchy on the outside, marshmallowy on the inside, topped with fresh whipped cream, kiwi, and lemon compote. Sweet, sour, crunchy, and chewy. What more could you ask for? If you’re like me, with a deep longing for all things kangaroo — and convict — inspired, and can’t stomach another vegemite sandwich, head to this surf shack, conveniently far from the water in the LES, before the secret’s out.

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