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Do any places serve squirrel?

I had lunch with my cousin and her husband this afternoon. Her husband told me that, on a trip down south, he saw a foodie magazine that offered various squirrel recipes and otherwise celebrated squirrel as a legitimate food ingredient. We talked about how some restaurants serve rabbit, and questioned whether there's really a huge difference between the two. (Not that the board of health would necessarily see it that way, of course.)

In any case, he more or less challenged me to find a place in New York that serves squirrel. I searched this board and the Outer Boroughs board but couldn't find anything current. Does anyone know of any place that serves it?

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  1. I doubt you will find a restaurant in NYC that serves squirrel. There probably are not many down south that serve them either. Wild caught game cannot be served in restaurants in New York. That's true in many places. While rabbits are farmed I have never heard of a squirrel farm. I grew up down south and recall going squirrel hunting once. I wouldn't say it makes a great meal. Sure if you're living in the mountains and have no other source of protein you will hunt and eat anything. But if you had other options, I think you would choose something else.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bkeats

      In younger years, I ate squirrel and rabbit stew in Mass. , and later in Texas, pan fried squirrel. Enough of both.

      1. re: Bkeats

        there is something very funny about the idea of a squirrel farm

        1. re: MotoEater

          My neighborhood (north of Seattle) was originally platted as mink, chinchilla and chicken farms. That was transition from logged forest to suburbia.

      2. I don't think you'll find this in a restaurant anywhere, only in the home kitchens of people who hunt. A shame, since it's a very tasty meat.

        2 Replies
          1. re: femmevox

            Chicken, of course, just like rattlesnake does.

        1. I have no idea if there are restaurants in NYC serving squirrel so can't help you with that. However, I grew up out in the sticks of Virginia and have eaten my share of squirrel. I'm dying of laughter that squirrel is in a foodie magazine or that urban restaurants might actually serve it. Squirrel ain't exactly haute cuisine. We ate it (and other game) because it was free and plentiful. I suspect you're probably going to have to hunt your own or make friends with someone who does. Good luck!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Hobbert

            Everything becomes a foodie obssession at some point. I grew up with polenta, tripe, and myriad other Italian food items from the "cucina povera" category that foodies now pay dearly for at haute cuisine restaurants. My sainted Italian-American mother is probably looking down from heaven and laughing at all of us.

            1. re: Hobbert

              Down in Louisiana, Chef Paul Prudhomme was serving Nutria at K-Paul's restaurant. When I was in the Bayou, I saw live nutria, they look like giant ( 40 lb) rats). People protested KPauls and they took it off the menu. But I'm sure it hit some foodie article, 'gourmet giant rats",,, squirrels are also rat-like.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                People have promoted the consumption of other invasive species as an ecologically friendly act.

                The Wiki article cites a Louisiana maker of dog treats

                1. re: paulj

                  Very true for the voracious lion fish and it's expanded habitat. It's the salt water equivalent to Asian carp, but better tasting.

              1. Thanks, everyone. Not that I had a huge desire to try squirrel, but the conversation started as a "You can find anything in New York" discussion. I guess not.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Garlic Guy

                  Yeah, I had a similar incident occur once. I was conducting an orientation class some years ago for new employees at a large international firm, and the conversation turned to NYC. Among other things, I mentioned that one thing I loved about NYC was that you could get pretty much any kind of food here. So one guy puts up his hand and asks me where he can find haggis...

                  1. re: BrookBoy

                    That's not even hard: St Andrews. Lunch menu.

                    1. re: thegforceny

                      Probably not very authentic but haggis at St Andrews was pretty good.
                      Some of the more exotic meat i had in NY are alligator meat and kangaroo meat. I am sure Chinatown has more exotic stuff but who knows.

                      1. re: thegforceny

                        Actually, much to my chagrin, authentic haggis is not available anywhere in the US. The reason for this is that lungs, an essential ingredient in the real thing, are deemed not suitable for human consumption here, and only go into pet food (and maybe other kinds of feed). Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.

                        That said, I'm sure St. Andrew's "haggis" is very good, just not quite authentic.

                        PS I had some real haggis confiscated on my way back in last time. I thought I might get away with it since it was vacuum packed, but no. Sigh.......

                        1. re: thegforceny

                          Actually, I did mention St. Andrews, but as already noted here, their version isn't authentic. The guy who asked, naturally, was from Scotland and really did want to know about authentic haggis. I didn't have an anwer. Still don't.

                          I did have authentic haggis myself, though, on a trip to Scotland, maybe 20 or more years ago. My wife wouldn't even taste it. I thought it was OK, not off-putting, but nothing I'd go out of my way to get again.

                        2. re: BrookBoy

                          and I hope you answered, "a ton of places have haggis!"

                          edit: oops, I guess all of the haggis I've seen is not authentic. I wasn't aware of that, but now I know! I'm not really inclined to ingest that stuff anyway, authentic or not.

                      2. Maybe you could join Tom Lehrer in the park

                        So if Sunday you're free,
                        Why don't you come with me,
                        And we'll poison the pigeons in the park.
                        And maybe we'll do
                        In a squirrel or two,
                        While we're poisoning pigeons in the park.


                        1. Not exactly squirrel, but it does raise many of the same questions: http://ny.eater.com/archives/2013/12/...

                            1. re: Gio

                              Gio, you may know this, or you may not care, but not far from you at The Country Club in Brookline, EVERYTHING is squirrel themed. Sports attire. The men's club necktie. Their highly respected golf tournament is simply "The Squirrels".
                              The keynote speaker's address at the men's dinner is called "Ode to Rodentia". Squirrels are held in high esteem at TCC. I had a good run there for 30 years.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                I do know about the TCC Veggo. It's a very special place, and has very special regard in the sporting community here in Boston and beyond. (but I never saw squirrel on any menu.)

                            2. If I'm not mistaken, rodents are illegal in U.S. restaurants. Those who've eaten them, have probably done so in their own homes.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: acssss

                                You are mistaken. Rabbit is available in hundreds on NYC restaurants. Cuy can be found in Ecuadorian and other South American restaurants (and even a food cart or two in Queens).

                                  1. re: acssss

                                    I'm not sure that is true and have never heard of any regulation forbidding serving rodents. I've heard of Capybarra showing up in South American themed resto and places out west serving beaver.

                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                      I'm not sure either. I do know, however, that trapping restrictions of squirrels exist in NYC, so I guess if you're quick and can catch one with your hand, you're in luck :-)

                                      1. re: acssss

                                        And you should be on the Olympic 400 meter relay team!

                                    2. re: acssss

                                      Has nothing to do with being a rodent, it has to do with being USDA inspected.

                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                        One hundred percent correct. I see a potential business opportunity in selling domesticated and inspected squirrel meat for NYC :)

                                        1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                          Umm, do you recall what Hizzoner, Mayor Koch had to say about squirrels? Koch said there were only two animals in NYC, rats and dogs. Someone asked about squirrels and Koch said something like rats, squirrels, what's the diff? Love his description of pigeons. Rats with wings.

                                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                            Or keep them in a cage so you can reach in and pick your own live one!

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              There was a great piece in the New Yorker a few years ago about a famous restaurant in China that served "mountain rat," where you could pick your rat from its cage for roasting.

                                      2. I remember reading something about killing your own food at a restaurant in Brooklyn. Perhaps you could look into that?

                                        1. You can't even find squirrel in restaurants in Texas. I have to go eat at the neighbors' who come from Louisiana to get squirrel gumbo. General squirrel stew or fried squirrel is easier, but not as plentiful in native Texans' homes as when I was young. Oddly, rabbit is harder to find than squirrel on most folks dining table at home!! Go figure!!

                                          1. You won't find squirrel at restaurants. Your best bet is to make friends with a hunter. My fiancé hunts rabbit and squirrel; I have both in my freezer. IMO, squirrel tastes far better than chicken. I like to brown it then simmer it in gravy.