Almost as versatile as chicken, but with a taste all its own, rabbit withstands braising, frying, even dicing and dousing with a spicy sauce. Herewith, our five favorite rabbit dishes in New York City right now. Each is tasty, of course, and ideal for a crisp fall night. By Jessica Allen.
More: NYC’s 5 Best Lamb Dishes
Saro Bistro, on the Lower East Side, is named for the grandmother of chef/owner Eran Elhalal, and serves versions of the Balkan comfort food she made for him during his childhood in Israel. Combining delicacy and robustness, the rabbit duo features braised legs and pork-crusted loin, which take hours to prepare. If you’re lucky, Elhalal will come out and talk to you about his memories and recipes.
Glasserie, a Mediterranean restaurant in Greenpoint, just opened in summer 2013, but already its whole rabbit with flaky bread, pickles, and “the works” has taken a place on the city’s list of best dishes. The New York Times called it “a glory,” while the New York Post said the dish “promises to leave diners well sated.” At $72, it’s big enough to feed three, two very, very hungry folks, or one wealthy, determined soul.
East Midtown’s Cafe China is decorated to resemble Shanghai in the 1930s, with an old typewriter alongside one wall and patterned screens separating one section of the long, thin dining area from another. This elegant space makes Cafe China’s specialties, such as crystal shrimp dumplings, sweet potato pancakes, and spicy diced rabbit, bone-in nuggets covered in a chili vinaigrette and Sichuanese peppercorns, all the more special.
AlMar, in DUMBO, is big enough and sparse enough to hold athletic events in the dining room. And, yet, the food offers a sense of comfort that tempers the minimalist interior. The red wine braised rabbit lives up to its name, totally, utterly seeped in wine, lending a great tang to the meat’s inherent gamey-ness. The dish also has a side of polenta, to ensure you sop up every last morsel of sauce.
For his latest restaurant, in the West Village, Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle looked to his roots, namely his family’s German and Italian heritage. His roasted rabbit saddle comes with baby turnips, toasted almonds, spaghetti squash, and molasses made from pomegranates—a hearty plate of food that’s nothing like what grandma used to make. It’s better eaten than photographed.