Red Fish Grill – Alligator Boudin Balls
Location: 115 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 (www.redfishgrill.com)
Ambiance: A vibrant seafood restaurant in the heart of New Orleans. The Red Fish Grill is at the “far end” of Bourbon street, which is kind of nice because you’re a little removed from the crowds of Bourbon St. The staff is professional, articulate about the food, and helpful. If the wait for a table is too long (or if you’re just popping in for an appetizer) head to the bar where they efficiently offer the full restaurant menu (including the alligator boudin balls).
THE BOUDIN BALLS
It may be that the alligator part of these boudin balls is only included for dramatic effect. The meat is a combination of pork and alligator, but they emphasize the alligator as a point of distinction. But, let’s face it, what we’re interested in is the tastiness of these fried nuggets. It matters less if there is more pork than gator . . . . right? Right.
We’ll, they’re darn good. Though, they’re not huge; they are tasty! The first thing to know is that they’re served with an Abita mustard and a “pear and pepper” jelly. We understand if all this “alligator, Abita mustard, pear pepper” business is sounding too touristy or frou-frou. But, hold on! The pear pepper jelly, in particular, takes what would otherwise be just a decent boudin ball and sends this dish to a wonderful new place. It is sweet, a little spicy, and truly delicious. the pear pepper jelly balances out the boudin ball just perfectly. If you’re not a fan of mustard then just leave that part off to the side — but don’t miss the pear pepper jelly and boudin ball combo!
When it comes to the boudin filling within the oddly shaped, dark brown, gator-tinged boudin balls, we can tell you that it is lush, not particularly ricey, and complex (“complex” in that a slightly unconventional combination of spices are used.). We wish there was a little more rice in here and don’t love the heavy use of bread crumbs as a binder. If we were to evaluate this only on its merits as a boudin ball it wouldn’t be at the top of our list. However, that pear pepper jelly pulls this together as an integrated appetizer and, so, we heartily recommend you give it a try when you’re in the Big Easy.