The Sloppy Cow
Upon hearing that the selection for Dine or Dash this issue was The Sloppy Cow, I was ecstatic. I do so enjoy checking out restaurants that are gourmet versions of extremely casual fare (i.e. the burger joint) because I am always keen to find out how a staple of our sad American diet gets jazzed up. It would seem that the founders of a restaurant that was named after an unkempt bovine probably had the same mindset I did, and the idea that they weren’t taking themselves too seriously was a welcome bonus regarding their self-awareness that I appreciated.
Found on James Island’s Harbor View Shopping Center and present tenant of the former Skibo’s building, this establishment’s fare is, in fact, upscale casual, what with a baby spinach salad and a tomato bruschetta with boursin cheese adorning the menu, but this place has a hook that makes it unique for Charleston-area burger joints — the stuffed burger — but those are entrées. Let’s start at the top.
Dining before six o’clock in mid-December might as well have been in the middle of the night, as at that time of the year it had been dark for an hour courtesy of the winter solstice. As it happened, the hour was a happy one, and the atmosphere was relatively calm for a Thursday. I was very pleased to see a wine list and a set of craft beers on tap. My dining companion ordered up a Yulupa Valley pinot noir while I helped myself to a Little Yella Pils. They were retrieved with all due speed by our server who was genuinely happy to see us and briefly walked us through the menu. After I scanned the appetizer menu, and even though I knew that a stuffed burger was in my immediate future, I selected the fried grit cakes topped with sautéed shrimp and Andouille sausage with its spicy tomato cream. The next tough selection was picking which stuffed burger.
Last summer, I was introduced to the concept of the “juicy Lucy”, a burger stuffed with cheese and whatever goodies the cheese would bind to while still attempting to hold the shape of a meat puck. While noshing on the fried grit cakes (their savory version of a deconstructed shrimp and grits), I made the decision to go with the Spicy Cow, a selection that incorporated jack cheese, jalapeño relish, chipotle onions, bacon, and spicy mayo, while the wife ordered the Moink, simply bacon and cheddar on top of a burger stuffed with, you guessed it, more of the same. With fresh-cut fries for all, what could go wrong?
The consummate error in judgment was mine: why in the world would I have thought I could have attempted to consume an appetizer and a stuffed burger platter from a place named The Sloppy Cow? In my zeal for gluttonous “journalism” I forgot my spare stomach that was required to take care of all of the food. A doggie bag became an essential part of our exit strategy.
All in all, I was impressed with what the management and staff at The Sloppy Cow were (and, presumably, are) doing. James Island’s restaurant scene could use a shot in the arm every once in a while, and this was it. Just plan ahead … don’t eat lunch that day.