Sweetbreads in New Orleans: you're either in or out of this offal-loving cult, and as Ian McNulty reports this week, most diners and chefs are in. If you've never tried sweetbreads—which is actually the meat of the thymus gland— it's actually considered "the most regal offering in the realm of organs and innards" with a creamy texture and flavor that often soaks up the glorious butter most preparations call for.
But chefs in Nola are branching out with crazy—and, essentially, wonderful— sweetbreads dishes that vary from poutine to pita sandwiches. Here now...
Where to Eat Sweetbreads in New Orleans
Patois: Chef Aaron Burgau has been turning out sweetbreads since this Uptown spot opened, usually with a seasonal twist like the current offering, "a pan-fried number with smoked farro, candied pecans and pumpkin with a country ham reduction."
Carrollton Market: Chef Jason Goodenough serves sweetbreads "with house-made linguini, chanterelle mushrooms and lots of brown butter."
The Franklin: Chef Baruch Rabasa serves 'em up with crabmeat "over a bed of garlicky spinach with Champagne beurre blanc."
Gautreau's: At this Uptown gem, chef Sue Zemanick also is known for serving sweetbreads with crabmeat or sometimes crawfish.
Sylvain: Buffalo wing-style sweetbreads come in a "buttery, tangy house-made hot sauce" from chef Martha Wiggins.
Toups Meatery: Leave it to meat miracle worker Isaac Toups to do a sweetbreads poutine with 'globs of melting cheese curds."
Doris Metropolitan: This international steakhouse in the Quarter plates its striking sweetbreads with "taut spheres of poblano-spiced yogurt over a caramel-colored demi-glace."
Clancy's: Chef Brian Larson and team have a "rotating repertoire of 20 or so sweetbreads recipes."
La Boca: For an Argentinian steakhouse twist, order the mollejas, which "arrive as long, unusually large slabs grilled on skewers to a charred edge and finished with a simple splash of lemon."
Shaya: Chef Alon Shaya serves sweetbreads along with chicken hearts and livers in a pita sandwich at lunch.
Brigtsen's: The appetizer, which comes with capers and roasted garlic lemon butter, pays honor to a variation chef Frank Brigtsen first had at Crozier's, which he called "life changing."
Bayona: Susan Spicer's Quarter restaurant has also known to serve a classic French sweetbreads dish.