A go-to option for many patrons of the Yanping Lu area, Fat Cow has expanded its burger empire to 3 stores - the other two being in Lujiazui and on Hongmei Lu. This one is pretty busy every night of the week, with buy-one-get-one-free burger deals on Mondays and happy hour between 4pm and 8pm every day. Most burgers are just below 100rmb and there is a sizable grazing salad menu too.
Went to Fat Cow for a weekend dinner with a few other SmartReviewers. It was a last minute impulse decision since our original dinner destination was already fully booked, (silly us...no reservations) but fortunately Fat Cow was close and had been on my wish-list for a while. I've tried to come here multiple times for the Monday BOGO deal, but always been deterred by the gross wait for a seat, so finally had to cave and come on a weekend. The guys grabbed cocktails while the ladies grabbed beers, subverting the expectations of the poor waitress who steadfastedly tried to hand the beers to the guys. Our wait to be seated was speedy, so we only had a few minutes to admire the eclectic interior design (especially the clock...check out the clock over the bar if you go).
The menu was an absolute atrocity of cow-related puns that I refuse to repeat here, but if you like that kind of thing, you can go experience it for yourself. I ordered a cheeseburger with bacon and fries - as classic as you can get. Although I tried to order my burger mid-rare, the server told me the kitchen will only go as rare as medium. This is strangely common in China - in the US you pretty much only see this at chain restaurants worried about health lawsuits.
The char on the burger itself was pretty good when it come – the patty was juicy and pink on the inside with nice dark grill lines on the outside. Unfortunately it was under-seasoned – no trace of salt or pepper at all on the burger crust. I generally like my burger meat free of breadcrumbs and egg yolk and all that other silly stuff, but I do need some seasoning on the meat! The bacon could have saved the day, but it actually wasn’t very salty itself, nor crispy the way I like my bacon. It wasn’t outright terrible like those sad strips of non-cured grilled pork masquerading as bacon that you get on your burger in Chinese McDonald’s, but it wasn’t living up to the full potential of bacon either. The side of pickle and the extra mustard I asked for ended up providing most of the flavor to complement the beef.
All in all, it was a perfectly acceptable burger that doesnt' quite distinguish itself from the pack of other perfectly acceptable burger places we have to choose from in Shanghai. I would go back to Fat Cow to try some of their other more exotic burgers, but I wouldn’t wait for two hours for Monday BOGO and I think there are better places in town for a classic bacon cheeseburger. I’d give it 3.5 stars overall if I could, but that’s not an option, so I’ll round it up to 4 on the basis of the nice dessert (the red velvet cake and the ice cream parfait were both solid) and the great cocktail prices for happy hour (30 CNY!).
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