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Rabbit recommendations -- Who serves the best in town?

Klowen Apr 29, 2010 06:54 PM

Some friends and I have somewhat mysteriously decided that we want to chow down on some rabbit. Any recommendations for the best-prepared rabbit around?

  1. p
    Pegmeister Apr 29, 2010 07:04 PM

    Marliave does a nice version, and for those in the party that want something different, I thorougly enjoy their beef wellington.

    10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pegmeister
      teezeetoo Apr 29, 2010 07:13 PM

      i've loved the rabbit at erbaluce and also liked la morras. for a totally different approach Szichuan Garden in Brookline makes a killer spicy rabbit dish

      1. re: teezeetoo
        jajjguy May 2, 2010 06:09 PM

        I'll second Erbaluce. Their menu changes often, so call to see if they'll have the rabbit.

        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

    2. CocoDan Apr 30, 2010 06:25 AM

      Ten Tables in JP had a very nice version with homemade pappadarlle the last time we dined there.

      Ten Tables
      5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

      1. StriperGuy Apr 30, 2010 06:34 AM

        Vinny's at Night 76 Broadway Somerville

        Their rabbit agrodolce was amazing.

        6 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy
          yumyum Apr 30, 2010 07:20 AM

          Second the rabbit at Vinny's.

          Also the diced rabbit appetizer at New Shanghai -- a bit of a challenge to eat around the bones but that's a yummy bunny.

          New Shanghai Restaurant
          21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

          1. re: yumyum
            joth68 Apr 30, 2010 07:32 AM

            I like Chili Gardens version but HATE picking around the bones.

            1. re: joth68
              lipoff May 2, 2010 11:00 PM

              I'd second Chili Garden's version. Picking around the bones is half the fun! =)

              1. re: lipoff
                joth68 May 5, 2010 10:59 AM

                haha well you and I have very different ideas of fun then!

                (Actually, I am a bit hypocritical . I can't stand picking around the bones in rabbit and goat dishes but at the same time will happily spend hours picking crabs or tearing apart lobsters)

                1. re: lipoff
                  StriperGuy May 7, 2010 01:35 AM

                  Kills me when folks say they don't like the bones/shells, etc in: rabbit, fish, crawfish, head on shrimp, chicken wings, etc.

                  Yah, we should all eat only white meat chicken breasts, huge steaks, and slabs of fish fillet with no bone (the last of which is also tremendously wasteful.

                  Holy cow that would be a miserable way to go through eating. In my book chewing, tearing, nibbling, crawfish and shrimp head-sucking, marrow bone slurping is part of what makes food interesting. I'd RATHER eat a rabbit off the little tiny bones then eat a bone-free fillet. Bring it on.

                  1. re: StriperGuy
                    joth68 May 7, 2010 08:45 AM

                    I don't think the marrow/shrimp comparison is a fair one. People generally don't eat those things because they find the idea of it gross. My issue with the rabbit dish at chili garden is that it is a pain in the @ss to eat.

                    The problem with the rabbit is that it is chopped so small that the pieces are already bite sized. I'll poke a bite with my fork and knife and it will appear to be all meat. Then I bite down and a razor sharp shard of bone lurking in the middle stabs the inside of my mouth.

                    Picking aroud the bones is also twice as difficult when everything is covered in that delicious hot sechuan oil(that sprays everywhere[yes i am a messy eater])

          2. p
            phatchris Apr 30, 2010 06:34 AM

            Erbaluce has the best rabbit dish that I've had in the city.

            69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

            2 Replies
            1. re: phatchris
              ecwashere7 Apr 30, 2010 10:18 AM

              I emphatically second Erbaluce. Chef Draghi's menu changes regularly, so there's no guarantee that its currently on it. Nonetheless, the rabbit is delicious.

              69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

              1. re: ecwashere7
                greenzebra Apr 30, 2010 01:02 PM

                Third erbaluce. Had a wonderful rabbit fettuccine dish there last summer. If you're going there just for the rabbit, call ahead, because as ecwashere7 says the menu changes frequently.

            2. enhF94 Apr 30, 2010 07:19 AM

              Against chowhound common wisdom, I always enjoyed the itty bitty rabbit at Dalí. And also against CH wisdom, I often liked the way Upstairs on the Square treated rabbit on the 3rd floor - though I haven't had it in five years.

              1 Reply
              1. re: enhF94
                powerfulpierre Apr 30, 2010 07:41 AM

                enhF94 - Great Minds (and Dali fans)!

              2. p
                powerfulpierre Apr 30, 2010 07:35 AM

                A bit different and in Tapas format but I have always enjoyed this at Dali - "Conejo Escabechado | Braised Rabbit w/Red Wine, Juniper and Garlic 8.5"

                415 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

                1. m
                  meat inspector Apr 30, 2010 01:21 PM

                  Check out Pierrot Bistro on Cambridge St. Hidden treasure!

                  1. MC Slim JB Apr 30, 2010 01:43 PM

                    Lots of good ideas here already, but I'll add the rabbit porchetta at Coppa. Jody Adams at Rialto regularly features beautiful rabbit preparations on her menu, but I haven't had dinner there very recently.


                    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                      almansa Apr 30, 2010 01:53 PM

                      That's what I was gonna say. A delicious dish, but maybe outside of their expectations for rabbit.

                    2. Aromatherapy Apr 30, 2010 02:49 PM

                      Lower end: I like the sauteed/braised rabbit at the Snack Bar in Cambridge. And I liked the very simple but spot-on (roasted? grilled? can't remember) rabbit special at Buen Gusto, Eastie. Rabbit is easy to screw up and these cooks didn't.

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: Aromatherapy
                        MC Slim JB Apr 30, 2010 04:09 PM

                        The Snack Bar / O Senhor Ramos is an excellent call. My favorite dish there when I reviewed it in The Phoenix a few months back was a special of rabbit braised in white wine and herbs. Spectacular!


                        1. re: Aromatherapy
                          almansa Apr 30, 2010 07:17 PM

                          I'm curious about lower end. A 3.5 lb fryer rabbit costs around $22. Assuming half a rabbit is a portion - some leg and some loin - that's 11 bucks a pop: domestic rack of lamb territory. Since we generally see racks of lamb on menus for over $40, how can an inexpensive restaurant afford to serve rabbit? Except in a ragu, that is. I have seen pounded, rolled and roasted legs, sometimes stuffed, served sliced, and they're delicious and much less money. Often they're imported from China (no stupid cat comments please). But you don't get the loin.

                          1. re: almansa
                            bear May 1, 2010 05:49 AM

                            My son had a fantastic grilled saddle of rabbit at Teatro on Christmas Eve. Smoky, tender and delicious. Unfortunately, it was a special, so it's not regularly available. I know it was well under $30, though. Great value.

                            177 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02111

                            1. re: almansa
                              Aromatherapy May 1, 2010 06:24 AM

                              Yup, half a rabbit.

                              1. re: almansa
                                deglazer May 3, 2010 01:48 AM

                                $22 wholesale? That sounds way high.

                                1. re: deglazer
                                  almansa May 5, 2010 05:46 PM


                                  2.75-3.25# fryer rabbit, retail (from a wholesaler, though) $36.99

                                  1. re: almansa
                                    deglazer May 6, 2010 08:37 PM

                                    That is indeed a crazy price. But that's not what a restaurant pays, even from a high end purveyor like Dartagnan. They set up a wholesale account (do a credit app., arrange for delivery meeting minimums etc.) and end up paying much less than that. But rabbit is still expensive, I grant you that.

                                    1. re: deglazer
                                      almansa May 7, 2010 04:01 AM

                                      True - fresh rabbit from Vermont or similar and not China wholesales for about 6.99/lb, and that's for a restaurant that pays all its bills on time and is on 2 week terms. Most restaurants pay in the sevens. Frozen rabbit legs from China, on the other hand, are dirt cheap, as are frozen whole fryers.

                                  2. re: deglazer
                                    sablemerle May 5, 2010 07:46 PM

                                    McKinnons in Davis square had frozen whole rabbit on sale last week for $3.99 lb.

                                    1. re: sablemerle
                                      teezeetoo May 6, 2010 08:54 PM

                                      i buy it at Mayflower Poultry and it's no where near that price!

                                      1. re: teezeetoo
                                        sablemerle May 6, 2010 11:04 PM

                                        I was mistaken, it was only $2.99 a pound, and it's on sale again this week for the same price (through May 11). It isn't fresh, it's frozen, but that's still way cheap.


                                        1. re: sablemerle
                                          annejudge May 20, 2010 09:32 AM

                                          Yeah, that's the difference between Chinese and American rabbit - McKinnon's has Chinese, the other prices quoted have been American-grown.

                                  3. re: almansa
                                    itaunas May 19, 2010 12:40 PM

                                    I can't speak to the Snack Bar, but at least some Portuguese social clubs buy frozen rabbit in bulk from Gonsalves or maybe Trifuno foods. Those are Portuguese importers and their frozen rabbit tends to be a bit better than most of the Chinese stuff (which sometimes are poorly skinned or have innards still attached both of which flavor the meat). They have also been importing it for ages and have a large volume. That doesn't necessarily mean their rabbit comes from Portugal, though (and if I recall that info is conspicously absent on the packaging). That said, the retail price of the Gonsalves frozen is just about the same as Mayflower at least when its on special. So your math still stands, they are probably still paying around $10/rabbit for the frozen or mayflower on sale (they are close enough they could buy a bunch when they are overstocked). The Snack Bar did serve me actual rabbit, not just the packs of legs when I have had it.

                                    Mayflower does sell native rabbit, but I vaguely remember it was from somewhere else (upstate NY), not Vermont. McKinnon's sells the chinese frozen rabbits, they don't even take them out of the vacuum pack. I have a bit better luck with that than rabbit from the Super88 so its worth having them in the freezer for an occasionally change of pace, but if I was going to serve rabbit I would buy it from mayflower.

                                    1. re: itaunas
                                      StriperGuy May 19, 2010 01:12 PM

                                      I usually just head down to the Charles River with my slingshot, they're all over the place on the Allston Brighton side...

                                  4. re: Aromatherapy
                                    yumyum May 1, 2010 09:52 AM

                                    Oh boy. I'm at the Snack Bar, STAT. Thanks!

                                  5. BobB May 3, 2010 07:22 AM

                                    I had an excellent rabbit dish at Bergamot this weekend. Billed as braised leg of rabbit, it was actually parslied pappardelle served with a rich rabbit ragu, with fresh peas and carrots.

                                    1. k
                                      Klowen May 5, 2010 09:44 AM

                                      Thanks, all! Been wanting to try Erbaluce, anyway!

                                      69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                      1. nsenada May 7, 2010 06:08 AM

                                        I had a good cassoulet with rabbit at ESK once. Just saw an FB post from Craigie on some new rabbit dishes. I have no doubt they will be good. We have a couple bunnies in our backyard - I salivate when I see them.

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