BY BRADLEY HAWKS
Though it seems like only yesterday we were anticipating the opening of the first Aussie eatery in Astoria, the reality is that The Thirsty Koala just celebrated its third anniversary. Katherine Fuchs (former FDNY chief turned executive chef), Alex Styponias (Astoria-born mixologist, raised in Greece) and Christine Chellos (Aussie native and financial adviser) invited BORO to try some of the new dishes intended to denote the restaurant’s third birthday. The charismatic and all-around beautiful trio of devoted owners have been at it again, and this time they have turned out some particularly inspired changes to the menu.
First and foremost—go and order the roasted half chicken. Generously rubbed with oregano and lemon, the bird is served on a pedestal of quinoa. In a single dish, Chef Fuchs has divined the most juicy, flavorful, tender, mouthwatering bird to hit a dinner table. With a skin that is golden and crisp, a prodding with the fork will release savory juices that drip like melted butter onto the platter. It was addictive, and I have dreamt of it nearly every day for two weeks. Just go. Order it.
Other exciting additions included a daily rotating flatbread, one version of which features tart cranberries on velvety goat cheese with a slathering of pesto and a tangy arugula sprigs. Quinoa is available—and highly recommended—in a bowl of its own, where it is prepared with earthy pumpkin, bright mint and sweet orange.
Australian rib-eye is served with a Tasmanian pepper berry sauce over a buttery mound of mashed potatoes, accompanied with a hearty bundle of haricots verts.
A generous filet of salmon is seasoned with a blend of herbs and citrus, then baked en papillote—wrapped in parchment. The resulting aroma as you unwrap the package will instantly sweep you away to the reefs of Australia.
Prepare to indulge in one of the most delicious renditions of eggplant Parmigiana, where tender layers of golden-crusted aubergines are stacked with a blend of soft, melted cheeses and piquant tomatoes.
Australian favorites remain staples on the menu, like the kangaroo burger with “the lot,” or the delicious sausage rolls and playful jaffles. And you should always end your meal with an order of salted caramel slices for a rich cup of “triple T tiramisu.” Better yet, treat yourself to an Australian iced coffee as a grand finale. Somewhat like an Italian affogato, the coffee is capped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now, that’s the way to end a meal.