Looking for something new to try?
Even in New York City, adventurous foodies can get bored. But people looking for a taste of the exotic can find plenty of options in Queens.
In Astoria, the Thirsty Koala serves kangaroo burgers, sliders and steaks.
“The wild game meat is extremely lean, resembling a cross between bison and venison,” Queens Courier dining writer Bradley Hawks said after trying the kangaroo dishes. “The steak is best described as a sweeter filet mignon.”
Moving from marsupials to reptiles, Max Bratwurst und Bier German Restaurant has rattlesnake and alligator on the menu.
“Believe it or not, the [rattlesnake and alligator bratwursts] are very popular, especially among the young crowd,” said Fiori, a manager at the Astoria restaurant.
He described the rattlesnake as tender and flavorful. The serpent is combined with pork to make the bratwurst because rattlesnakes are expensive and have little meat on them.
The alligator bratwurst tastes like chicken, Fiori said.
The restaurant decided to add exotic meats to the menu as a way of standing out from other area eateries.
They wanted to “make a challenge” for their customers, said Fiori, who sometimes hears diners daring each other to try the alligator or rattlesnake bratwurst.
Alligator is also on the menu at Sugar Freak in Astoria.
Its popcorn alligator dish is made by deep frying the meat and serving it with a spicy, tangy grape jelly sauce.
Slightly less adventurous diners who still want to try something new can head to Alobar Restaurant in Long Island City or one of four Bareburger locations in the borough.
Alobar offers familiar meat, but served in an exotic way.
Its Amish pig tails are exactly what the name implies.
“It was one of those approachable items that people aren’t afraid of trying, especially the way we prepare them,” said executive chef Michael Rendine.
The tails, which are six to eight inches long, are deep fried and covered in house barbecue sauce. Rendine said you eat them like ribs or chicken wings.
Originally an everyday menu item, the pig tails are now only served as a Tuesday night special. But Rendine added that people come in and ask for the dish all the time.
Amish pig tails
Bareburger, on the other hand, offers a familiar way of eating meat made from an unusual animal.
In addition to the typical beef and turkey burgers, diners can order ostrich, wild boar, elk and bison on their buns.
Manager Bobby Kumar said customers like the ostrich because it tastes similar to beef, but is lower in cholesterol and 98 percent lean. He added that they enjoy bison and elk, which are also red meats, for the same reasons.
Wild boar is leaner than beef, but has a similar texture to ground pork.
“We’ve become very well known for our exotic meat,” Kumar said. “After some people try it, some people fall in love with it.”
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