Photo of BOEs alligator ribs by Rina Rapuanos alligator ribs by Rina Rapuano
Photo of BOEs alligator ribs by Rina Rapuanos alligator ribs by Rina Rapuano

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The Dish: Alligator Baby Back Ribs

Where to Get It: BOE Restaurant & Bar, 777 Ninth St. NW; (202) 393-1400;

Price: $14

What It Is: Alligator baby back ribs—as in, ribs that come from baby alligators. They’re braised with Indian spices and aromatic vegetables, fried to order, and tossed in a swirl of house-made sweet soy sauce and BBQ sauce that Chef Rony Garcia likens to a General Tso’s glaze. An order comes with five or so ribs, plus sliced jalapeños, crispy shallots, and a Japanese spice blend called shichimi.

What It Tastes Like: Perhaps it was the power of suggestion, but the meat itself tastes like a lean and clean pork rib. The addictive glaze is sticky and sweet, with the jalapeños adding a welcome spice and the shichimi bringing complexity to the party. And while it packs Asian influences, the glaze would be familiar enough to BBQ sauce obsessives. The overall effect is a win. I can’t say the same for BOE’s “Balls on Fire,” as I only managed two bites of the sliced, fried bull testicles—and not because of the gross-out factor. They had an unpleasant flavor and texture.

The Story: BOE is the reincarnation of the restaurant formerly known as Oya Restaurant & Lounge, which the owners closed and reopened in January. Garcia says the owners wanted to feature a few dishes on the menu that would jumpstart a conversation among diners both for their unusual proteins—unusual around these parts, anyway—and their flavors. Garcia says they sell a lot during happy hour since they sell best as bar snacks.