I have bad news and good news for all of you who have looked forward to rabbit fricassee every Monday at T-Coon’s downtown. The bad news you probably know: T-Coon’s shut its doors several months ago. The good news, however, is that Johnny Walters at Antler’s is picking up the slack for all lapin fanciers. And better yet, his rabbit is the best I’ve ever had. Even in this rice and gravy town, where everybody’s mama is the best black pot cook on the planet, sometimes a dish makes a leap into the stratosphere. This is one of them.

What sets Walters’ fricassee apart is that the rabbit, while smothered in brown gravy, has a little crunch to it, as if it had been fried first. Walters says the difference between a stew and a fricassee is that with a fricassee he dredges his rabbit in flour, then browns it in fat, so it develops a nice crust. Then it’s simmered in gravy to a nicety — the meat is tender but the haunch of rabbit has retained just a bit of that crunchy exterior making every bite particularly toothsome. Add in an expert hand with seasoning, and you’ve got one killer rabbit fricassee.

Call first. Walters says the rabbit will show up once or twice a month on Mondays, unless there’s more demand to make it a weekly item. If you’d like to see it reliably on the menu, vote with your forks. Call Antler’s at 234-8877.

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