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Photos: Lagniappes Gator Roast on Allen St.

by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

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.

TAGGED: chris+silverstein, fat+tuesday+buffalo, gator+roast+buffalo, lagniappes+french+quarter+cafe, mardi+gras+celebrations+buffalo

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