The verdict is in – once you’ve tried it you won’t be saying “See ya later” to this alligator.
Vinny’s Deli in Wallingford is offering its infamous Cajun Alligator sandwich on a hard roll or sub for the month of February. These small nuggets of alligator are packed with bold flavors in each bite. The alligator is fried and tossed in hot sauce, and then topped with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.
According to the deli’s owner, Vinny Iannuzzi, Vinny’s Deli has been serving this unique sandwich for over 25 years and is a favorite amongst local customers. “It’s one of the most popular items,” Iannuzzi said. “We only sell it for about a month or so, but the rest of the year [people say], ‘You’re the place with the alligator!’ [and] ‘When’s the alligator coming back?’”
The alligator bites are warm and spicy, contrasting nicely with the cold crunch of the lettuce and tomato. The consistency is chewier than chicken, though the flavor is similar. Iannuzzi compares it to fried calamari, however, rather than chicken.
“If I told them it was fried calamari, they wouldn’t know the difference,” Iannuzi said. “Everyone says it tastes like chicken. Someone the other day told me it tasted like shark, but to me it’s like a fried calamari.”
While the flavor is similar to common meats we eat daily, some of the green skin poking through the crispy golden nuggets will be a little bit of a reminder that you are not eating something you normally would. Alligator actually can contribute a lot of protein to your daily intake.
Iannuzzi read off a package of alligator from Georgia, that a three ounce serving gives 29 grams of protein or 21% of your daily value.
The alligator sandwich is served around this time of the year to coincide with the Mardi Gras season. Iannuzzi says it is a more popular item in the southern states.
“When the kids were young we used to vacation in Florida and it’s a little bigger there,” Iannuzzi said. After experiencing it in Florida, he then made a connection with a chef in Sulphur, Louisiana by the name of Chef Charlie. Iannuzzi says Chef Charlie helped point him in the right direction in terms of selling alligator in Connecticut.
The Cajun Alligator sandwich can be purchased on a hard roll for $9.99, a sub for $11.99, or by the pound for $32.99.
Lindsay Pytel “Lunch with Linds” is an avid foodie from Meriden featuring the best eats in the Connecticut and New York area on Instagram and Facebook.