Photos: Lagniappes Gator Roast on Allen St.
by Ben Tsujimoto • February 22, 2012 @ 10:05am
Lagniappes French Quarter Cafe's head chef and owner Chris Silverstein is one of three people in New York State licensed to cook alligator. How cool is that? Rotating two four-foot long gators on a spit in front of Lagniappes (220 Allen St.) at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Silverstein piqued the curiosity of passersby with the strong aroma of cooking meat and the presence of a very bright green gator mascot.
Silverstein mentioned to me that ordinarily his roastin' gators are closer to six or seven feet in length, but the increased demand for alligator meat -- perhaps an effect of the show Swamp People, the chef thought -- hindered his selection. Gator meat runs for roughly $10 per pound, and Silverstein brought in 250 pounds for Mardi Gras festivities.
At Lagniappes, an Alligator Po' Boy (a submarine sandwich with gator meat inside) ran for $9.50, while the Alligator Dinner, pictured in the gallery, was priced at $14.50. Sure, it's a little expensive, but where else can you get a gator dinner for a Southern-inspired celebration?
Silverstein was correct in his explanation of the taste of gator -- it's very much like pulled pork with hints of gamey-ness and fishiness that are not overpowering. When smothered in barbecue sauce, the entree does taste mostly like pulled pork. The gator was served with two sides -- I chose fried pickles and macaroni & cheese. Neither were exceptional, but on this day, it was all about the gator.