Thursday, October 16, 2008

Later 'Gator.... I'll see you on the other side...

So I tried another new food last night- alligator! My good friend Juan was having a dinner celebrate his 25th birthday and we went to this Creole/Cajun place called "Creole" in east Harlem. The place is actually really nice. The space was cute, there was live music, the food was excellent, and the mixed drinks were apparently good judging by the number of drinks that my friends were downing.. I just had a glass of Pinot... I'm classy like that. :-p

Anywhoo... back to the gator meat. Like I've mentioned before, I'm a pretty adventurous eater, and alligator didn't really sound that exotic to me (not like blood pudding or head cheese or something). The others at the table seemed a bit more dubious than I. One of the main concerns people kept voicing was, "Where did they get the alligator from?". My response was, "The NYC Sewers", but I figured they probably got the gator from a gator farm. I assume all "exotic" meat (ostrich, deer, rabbit, snake) is farmed just like regular meat... It's not like people are going into the forest to trap deer and rabbits or wrestling alligators to provide wholesale meat to restaurants.... although that would be funny :-p

The alligator I ordered was prepared in an etoufee and was served with 2 sides (I chose Mac and Cheese and green beans). The etoufee itself was really tasty. Etoufee is a creole/cajun stew that usually has crawfish, shrimp and chicken. The etoufee at Creole was spiced really well, and --despite the addition of the gator--seemed to be a fairly traditional (spices, and the holy trinity of Cajun/Creole cooking- Green Peppa, Onions and Celery)... I thought that most etoufee's have tomato, but according to Wiki apparently some people think an Etoufee ceases to be an etoufee once tomatos are added... Whether the dish was authentic or not, it was really good.

The gator meat tasted pretty much like I assumed it would... I figured it would taste like turtle (sorry Steph)... which is kind of chewy and usually takes on the taste of whatever it's cooked in. That's pretty much what it tasted like.... It was a little chewy, but not in a bad way. I actually really liked the texture. It wasn't sinewy like chicken and it wasn't as solid as beef... The only meat I can think to compare it with is turtle.... or maybe calamari. It seemed like the gator meat was cut into chunks and browned prior to adding it to the stew. I can't really describe the taste of the meat as it didn't taste like much.... It wasn't gamey and it didn't have a "seafood" taste... i just took on the taste of the etoufee.

All in all I really enjoyed my gator experience. I liked how well it took on the taste of the dish really well and it had a very appetizing consistency. I don't know if I would seek it out specifically because it didn't really have a distinct taste, but I definitely would not reject a dish because there was alligator in it. .

All in all I give alligator an A

No comments: