“When in Rome…” is the usual aphorism for travelers about to try foreign delicacies that aren’t typical of their native cuisine, usually followed by a swift “Down the hatch” and feelings of squeamishness.
Living in Westchester, being the deliciously simmering melting pot that it is, means residents never have to stray too far from home to try foods from worlds away. Even if you can’t afford the plane ticket, here are five nearby places you can grab some extraordinary meals to expand your provincial palates.
Bridge View Tavern — Elk, Boar
AdobeStock/bettys4240 (elk), natureimmortal (boar)
Let’s start small and close to home. This Sleepy Hollow tavern has all the burgers and soups and classic pub food you’d expect from a traditional American eatery. For those just looking to dip their little toe into the water of more adventurous dining, consider ordering an elk burger. Made from ground North American elk with melted muenster, fried onion rings, and Jameson BBQ sauce, it’s a classic American burger, with just a slightly different flavor profile than what you’re used to.
If that’s not exciting enough, Bridge View also offers bison burgers, and a wild boar chorizo burger that comes with Pepper Jack, bacon jam, and caramelized onions.
Rye Roadhouse — Alligator
Leave it to one of Westchester’s favorite Cajun-influenced dining establishments to maintain year-round access to one of the South’s most impressive treats, if only for the amount of skill we Yanks imagine goes into wrestling an alligator to the ground. While any roadside fast food franchise can sell you chicken nuggets, it takes a roadhouse to deliver ‘gator nuggets. Served either blackened or fried (we like ours fried because we’re dainty damned dandies up north), your order comes with a delicious Cajun remoulade. 250 million years of evolution and still kind of tastes like chicken!
The Bayou Restaurant — Frog
To keep with the Cajun theme for a moment, Mount Vernon’s staple of NoLa cooking puts up a classic spread of crawfish, shrimp, gumbo, and the like, even going so far as to offer alligator sausage and a French Quarter favorite … frog’s legs. Cooked meuniere, they come crispy, golden brown, and with a tangy brown butter and lemon sauce.
Flinders Lane — Kangaroo
AdobeStock/Nathan White Images
From half-a-world away, enjoy one of the few things native to Australia that isn’t inclined to kill you. (The others being sugar gliders, quokkas, and Hugh Jackman.) At Flinders, you can grab a simple kangaroo burger for about $18 — which isn’t all that expensive if you consider air fare — topped with horseradish mayo, pickled beets, caramelized onions, and arugula, and served with a side of fries. We recommend pairing it with a Rogue Brewing Co. “Combat Wombat” New England IPA for the full marsupial experience.
Inca & Gaucho — Guinea Pig
Yes, guinea pig, like your third grade class kept as a pet. Cuy, as they’re called in their native Peru, are common market sights much in the same vein as chickens, and can be cooked in similar ways. This is probably our most adventurous meal suggestion for readers with traditional American culinary experiences, and admittedly even we get a little nervous around this one when it’s split and whole-roasted over rice, although you can occasionally order it in a stew for a less visual experience. You won’t find it on the regular menu, but traditional Peruvian restaurants like Inca & Gaucho and also Mistura in White Plains will offer it for Saturday specials or special occasions.
*You can even find frozen cuy in select Latin American groceries, as well as Peekskill’s C-Town!
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