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Mar 14, 2012 05:57 AM

Any restaurant serve Nutria or wild game?

I know it's a weird question, but my boyfriend really likes to try new things. The very fact that he's more pumped to try the bug bites at the insectarium than oysters at Acme pretty much sums him up.

Last fall we were invited to a real crawfish boil with nutria this spring by some friends on-line... six months later, timing just didn't work out. While I love NO, the whole reason we are going back was so he could try nutria. He has been really looking forward to it.

The trip is for his birthday and it's his only fun trip this year. We are staying in the French Quarter without cooking facilities, but I will get a taxi for up to 30 miles out of the city to make this happen.

So, I know it's a very uncommon request, but does any restaurant, deli, grocery store carry a precooked nutria for him to try?


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  1. Sale of game is contra-legal so that, for example, duck in gumbo must be raised. Nutria doesn't fall into that category and there have been several half-hearted efforts to popularize it. Paul Prudhomme tried several years ago but threw in the towel last I heard. But you never know. In an effort to stand out someone might be trying. There was a guy up in Baton Rouge that tried it four or five times but he also quit. In the words of Prudhomme "[Nutria] accepts seasoning well" which tells you something. In other words, while nutria is worth shootin' it really ain't worth eating. Maybe John Besh will try his magic....

    8 Replies
      1. re: hazelhurst

        That was chef Philippe Parola who was on a one-man crusade to promote nutria. I stopped going to his restaurant because I got queasy thinking about rat being prepared in the same kitchen with my food. Calvin's Bocage Market sold nutria meat for a brief period about twenty years ago but I haven't seen any interest in it in a long time. Parola is now a restaurant consultant.

        1. re: Big Easy

          Yes, I would have a problem with nutria being prepared around my food too. You could call me "Big Queasy".

          1. re: Big Easy

            Remember once upon a time crawfish and many fin fish that are now in vogue were trash or by catch.

            Having eaten from street vendors all over the world i try not to think too much about the source and just enjoy the end result. I will eat nutria if it shows up on a menu but probably not seek it out!

            1. re: collardman

              My uncle used to raise them and when he would take my cousin and I to DeQuincy, we would stop and check them out. I will never get those pictures out of my head. Not . gonna . happen . for . me

              1. re: texasredtop

                When my lovely wife visited NOLA for the first time she was researching a walking tour project and spent a lot of time hanging out with the staff at the hotel around the courtyard smoking and just chatting about this and that. One of the old guys told her that he cooked nutria. She asked him if it was good. He croaked back "If ya cook it right!"

            2. re: Big Easy

              I think you are being a bit naive by saying you can't eat something prepared in the same kitchen as a rat, especially if you considered the other things being cooked in that kitchen. Eating at any restaurant that serves any kind of ethnic food would have things going on that would freak you out. Consider sweetbreads, kidney, chitlins, etc, all being animal guts and having known what has been in them or around them. Squirrel is a rodent just like a nutria is, but of corse they're so cute and fuzzy that you'd maybe overlook them. They are nothing more than cute rats. Nutria is as clean as any other animal in the kitchen of most restaurants.Besides, if nobody told you what you were eating, you'd probably eat something considered totally disgusting and love it, like chitlins. Anything covered with gravy or bacon is delicious.

            3. re: hazelhurst

              Interesting. I guess I should not be surprised.

              T. Pittari's sounded like a hell of a restaurant. RIP.

            4. Sorry, I can't think of a single place that has nutria on the menu, nor a readily available retail source in the city. Why not try the more readily available frogs' legs, hogshead cheese, softshelled crab, ham hocks, hog jowls, etc.? If he's into earthy cooking, he can find plenty to enjoy on Cochon's menu:

              Or, you could take a taxi to Tan Dinh, a Vietnamese restaurant, on the West Bank and have jellyfish salad, goat stew, or alligator curry. Or goi cuon bi (shredded pork skin spring rolls). See a partial menu at TD's FB page:

              1 Reply
              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                Some really interesting finds for sure! Cochon's sounds fabulous!

                As for Tan Dinh, we are spoiled here in Columbus OH. The university brings in a LOT of foreign students and so has a very thriving ethnic scene with a very rich pallette.

              2. There is a guy called Seafood Frank who lives just to the left of the Industrial Canal Bridge. He sells whole nutria as well as raccoon, turtles, alligators, etc. If you want to bring one home in a cooler, you can call him at 504 292 7831.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rabeezbabee

                  Hummm... I would have to think how this would work out since I'm staying at a hotel.

                  1. re: Crockett67

                    I had a simlar problem while I was visiting last year and wanted to take home some crawfish, boudin, alligator, and some other things I couldn't get in Colorado. I went to a dry ice/ shipping company. The guy sold me the dry ice, packed my cooler (a $5 styrofoam cooler from Walmart) with the food and the dry ice wrapped in layers of newspapers, based upon how many days I had to get home, and everything froze and stayed frozen for the 4-5 days I had to drive home. It worked out great and only cost me around $20. Here's one in NO:
                    Where are you guys from? If you're close by, maybe we could roadtrip together. (It's an old hippie thing from back when we all trusted each other.) We share the ride and comradery, not hotel room.

                2. Only place l have had nutria was in South America, liked it, did not love it. If a place shows up, will get next time in N.O

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Does it taste similar to anything? Beaver maybe?

                  2. Recent New Orleans Magazine had a little sidebar on two local chefs, who were exploring some very local food items, and nutria was mentioned. Will try to find that edition, and get more details. Read it on the plane down to NOLA, and my memory just will not conjure up the names, or the name of their restaurant.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Nice! Any help would be appreciated!