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Sweetbreads, Best in N.O.? Good butcher shop? Is there any market where you can by them raw?

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Which restaurant has the best sweetbread dish? Does any place in town serve the pancreas rather than the thymus?

Also, does anyone know a butcher shop or market where they can be purchased raw?

I'd also like to find a market where I can buy ox tail, chicken hearts, cow tongue and other wonderful offal, please help

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  1. Clancy's, Galatoire's, Patois, Iris

    1 Reply
    1. re: edible complex

      It is interesting--and gratifying--to see items such as sweetbreads get back onto menus again. In New Orleans, NY, Boston, the established places almost always had them. They certainly have been at Galatoire's forever, even when no one elsewhere had ever heard of them (or maybe heard of them yet stayed away from offal. Antoine's used to have tripe. Restaurant sweetbreads, in my experience, tend to be frozen and they do freeze well. If there is a slaughterhouse nearby I s'ppose you could get them fresh. I can't think of the last time I saw them for sale in an ordinary market---I see tripe and tongue and brain from time-to-time but you used to NEVER see those at "upscale" markets and had to seek them out elsewhere.

      The lemon-butte caper presenation isa clasic, also beurre noir. Galatoire's does them financiere but they'll make them any way you want them to. Hell, poach 'em in milk.

    2. The best in town, by far, are at Bayona, with the lemon butter sauce with capers.

      I don't know where you can buy these items in a store, except perhaps at Union Supermarket in Kenner, but the ox tail stew at Christie's poboys on the west bank (Fridays and Saturdays only) is superb.

      4 Replies
      1. re: pilaf

        maybe the Hong Kong Food Market on the westbank.

        Hong Kong Food Market
        hongkongmarket@bellsouth.net
        925 Behrman Hwy.
        Gretna, LA 70056
        8:00am-9:00pm
        394-7075

        or
        International Market in Metairie
        3940 Barron Street Louisiana (LA)
        Phone: (504) 443 3601 / (504) 468 8888

        call around; I used to buy goat from the guy who ran the gas station I went to.
        there was also a meat market in Fat City across the street from Maurice's on Hessmer.

        1. re: edible complex

          on the northshore, there is R&N Specialty meats.
          985.624.2662
          I was asking him about getting me a lobe, even though he doesn't stock them.
          Be sure to ask for whatever you're hankering...he may be able to score it for you.

          1. re: edible complex

            I think that this is the key. You will probably have to arrange to get your hands on them and likely won't be able to walk in somewhere and find them. I would imagine that it is because they are so perishable that they don't stock them. Perhaps most go to restaurants for this reason?

          2. re: edible complex

            Also try the halal butcher shop on Williams, on the lakeside of West Esplanade, downriver side. It's located in a strip mall with a kebab place occupying the end closest to Williams; the butcher shop is at the far end of the little L-shaped mall.

        2. Upperline gets my vote.

          1. La Boca's rendition is tops in my book. They're grilled to perfection, which is a nice departure from the usual saute job.

            I've never seen sweetbreads in the markets here, but ox tails, tongue, tripe and the like are all available at Rouse's (at least as recently as sunday); just ask the butchers if they aren't in the meat case. The price is probably more reasonable at HK Market, though...

            1. La Boca's grilled sweetbreads are the best sweetbreads I've ever had in my life (and I order them whenever they're on the menu). Sweetbreads were also the highlight of my recent trip to MiLa, perfectly pan roasted on top of truffled grits.

              As for where to buy them, I know Carriage Foods (meat supplier to many restaurants in town) used to sell retail to the public, but I'm not sure if they still do that. Definitely worth checking out. A friend of mine once bought a rack of elk from them!

              1. How timely, I just had a long and heated conversation with a chef friend about the true definition of sweetbreads. Based on my extensive research (you have to trust me: I'm a librarian), it seems to be the consensus among professionals that pancreas are not truly sweetbreads. If not simply called pancreas, they should be referred to as stomach sweetbreads to differentiate them from the real thymus gland (neck/heart) sweetbreads. Still, since this distinction would seem relatively pedantic to most people, I guess customers should ask what kind of sweetbreads they're ordering. I have never seen stomach sweetbreads OR pancreas listed on a menu, as far as I can remember.

                1. I agree with pilaf about Bayona's sweetbreads. They are where I always get my sweetbread fix when I'm in town. I did a bit of research on them trying to find a place that I could buy them and cook them at home since they are not common on menus in Memphis. It is worth noting that they are extremely perishable. I am sure that is the reason that they are so difficult to find. I finally gave up my quest and resolved to just go to New Orleans more often for sweetbreads.

                  A funny thing about sweetbreads in Memphis. I had never seen them on the menu until a few months post K when I saw them on the menu at Hunt-Phelan. I ordered them, knowing full well that they would never live up to Bayona standards, but what the heck. They were outstanding! They were close to or as good as the ones at Bayona. I raved on and on about them to a friend of mine who worked there and she brought the chef out so I could tell him how much I loved them. Seems that he learned to cook sweetbreads in the kitchen at Bayona. Too funny.

                  1. I've had amazing sweetbreads at both Bayona and Iris.

                    I tried to buy sweetbreads in New Orleans. The best I found was that Whole foods offered to order them for me but only if I'd buy a 10 lb box for over 100 bucks. Let me know if you find somewhere 'cause I'd totally buy them but not for that much!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Adrienne

                      not w/o an angiogram....geez, that's a lot of glands.

                      1. re: Adrienne

                        I know I've seen them for sale frozen; I think it was Langenstein's in Metairie.

                      2. Bayona's are my favorite.

                        however MiLa's are very good as well -- server on truffle grits w/ pork au jus, tasty.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kibbles

                          I used to think the sweetbreads at eleven79 where the best I had ever had anywhere and I LOVE sweetbreads. Then Anthony Piazzo died who was their chef at the time so I never got a chance to get the recipe. Any one know the recipe or how to get it? He used to put a little dollop of a red sauce on top and that's what made them the best.