Calling all eaters of unusual meats: Here are five restaurants across the country serving alligator, alpaca and other animals you don’t always find on your menu. Consider expanding your palate with some of these unusual meats.
Saddle Peak Lodge, deep in the hills of Malibu, serves elk and emu.
Its New Zealand elk dish comes with English pea bacon jam, Meyer lemon and crispy potatoes. Its Tennessee emu is served with dates, brown butter, Brussels sprouts, grapes, juniper and blackberry.
The “Chef’s Game Trio” includes Amaroo Hills’ emu strip, jus elk tenderloin and Meyer lemon braised bison short rib.
Info: Saddle Peak Lodge
The walls of the Buckhorn Exchange tell some of its story: It displays mounted game, including a two-headed calf. This National Historic Landmark and Western Museum has been serving Old West fare since 1893, making it Denver’s oldest restaurant. Its menus are even made to look like old newspapers.
Rocky Mountain oysters (bull testicles) are the house specialty, and appetizers include fried rattlesnake, fried alligator tail and sirloin game tips (which include buffalo and elk sautéed with fresh mushrooms). Try a buffalo burger for lunch or the elk grilled with peppercorn crust for dinner.
Info: Buckhorn Exchange
Portland is the kind of place where you can get pizza topped with alligator sausage and sushi made with grasshopper.
French bistro Le Pigeon serves its namesake, an apricot-glazed pigeon, paired with roasted carrots and crispy quinoa pork. Le Pigeon’s starter menu includes grilled octopus and seared foie gras.
Save room for after dinner, when foie gras also makes another appearance, this one on the dessert menu: foie gras profiteroles served with caramel sauce and sea salt.
If you can’t make it to Portland anytime soon, check out “Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird,” the debut cookbook from Gabriel Rucker, the restaurant’s co-owner and chef.
Info: Le Pigeon
Start with buttermilk fried frog legs served with jalapeño tartar sauce or a roasted bison tongue pretzel slider. The chef recommends the alpaca burger topped with greens, tomato, Brie and bone marrow aioli on brioche, or the kangaroo burger, which comes with greens and tomato jam on a pretzel bun.
This rustic eatery also has a few vegetarian options, including a black bean and quinoa veggie burger.
St. Paul, Minn.
Everest on Grand in St. Paul serves authentic Nepalese, Tibetan and Northern Indian cuisine, including yak.
Along with ground yak, this dish includes onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro and spices inside a wheat flour pastry. It’s steamed and served with a special sauce.
Info: Everest on Grand