"Dear Janice: Does any restaurant in Western New York serve ostrich steak and/or burgers?
"Also, do you know where we could get bison burgers? Thanks."
-- Moe S.
How times change, Moe. There was a time not so long ago when ostrich was all the rage. Stories about the health benefits of the gawky bird, with its hearty taste and low fat content, turned up everywhere. So did ostrich farms. So did menu offerings.
Now it's hard to find it in Western New York, at least not on a regular basis, although ostrich medallions are pretty much always on the menu at the Red Coach Inn, 2 Buffalo Ave., in Niagara Falls, a restaurant with a great location on the rapids and a luxurious old-timey ambience. The medallions are served with fruit, goat cheese and walnuts.
It's the same story with bison -- big hype at first, great health benefits, little availability now. Yes, sigh, even here in the Nickel City.
At the Soho Burger Bar, though, you can get a Bisonburger, done the way you want it.
And just in case you don't know what city you're sitting in -- the burger comes on kummelweck.
More (somewhat) exotic stuff? How do you feel about tripe? Some people love it; many people hate it. If you're in the former category, you should know that a bowl of Honeycomb Tripe (which is the best) is offered at Marotto's, 3365 Delaware Ave., Kenmore. It comes with a light red sauce and thin spaghetti.
And Chef's, 291 Seneca St., will serve you tripe, too. But only on Wednesdays.
Octopus? Sure, it's a cousin of all-too-common calamari, but some diners think it's exotic, and it's on the very cusp of trend nationwide. You can order polpo at Hispanic family restaurants like Papi's, 690 Hertel Ave., where it is stuffed with mofongo (seasoned mashed plantains).
Or you can get it sushi-style at Kuni's, 226 Lexington Ave., as well as at many other sushi bars.
You can get it in a dish called Strozzapreti -- in hand-rolled pasta at Oliver's, 2095 Delaware Ave. You can see what I mean -- it's going mainstream. When octopus turns up at Mickey D's though -- forget it.
Wild boar? San Marco, 2082 Kensington Ave., Amherst, features Cinghiale ala Brace, in which the meat is marinated with juniper berries, grilled and served with Barolo wine sauce.
Quail? San Marco again. Quaglie del Contadino is sauteed with cognac and served with mushroom sauce.
Goat? Try Jamaican Island Style Restaurant, 755 W. Market St., Niagara Falls.
And by the way -- marrow bones are served on toast in the Black Rock Kitchen and Bar, 491 Amherst St.
Send dining questions to longtime News restaurant reviewer Janice Okun at firstname.lastname@example.org