It seems one of the growing trends this year, especially among adventurous upscale restaurants, is the presence of exotic game meats on the menu.
Some game meats, like bison and ostrich, have become almost boring to contemporary trendsetters, so that today we’re seeing some pretty unusual stuff being served.
Kangaroo, antelope, alligator and baby pigeon (called “squab on menus) has started to become commonplace at some fine dining establishments.
If you’re brave enough, you can order kangaroo loin tartare at the Tag Raw Bar in Denver, Colo. Troy Guard, proprietor of the raw food restaurant, estimates that the dish is ordered by 80 percent of the eatery’s tables. One Yelp.com reviewer called it “meltinyourmouth,” according to a story by Alina Dizik for WSJ.com.
L.A. chef Celestino Drago has offered a game prix fixe menu at his restaurant Drago Centro since opening back in 2009. On his menu this fall you will find squab roulade. He says he’s planning to incorporate another game dish into the restaurant’s regular menu soon.
Last year, nearly 50% of the almost 1,800 chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association called game meats a hot trend for 2012, compared with about 30% the previous year.
A wider variety of game can be found on menus today. Many, including alligator in Southeastern states, and elk in the Northwest, have transitioned from being local or regional favorites to gain a national following.
The increased popularity of ethnic cuisines, like Indian and African, has led to more the more frequent appearance on the menu of dishes made with goat.
Other exotic game menu sightings around the country include:
- Partridge (without pear tree) served at Drago Centro
- Seared antelope loin with brown-butter sweet-potato hash, offered at Circa 1886, in Charleston, S.C.
- Pheasant, menued at Philadelphia’s The Mildred, is cooked vertically in a cast iron roaster, takes four days to prepare, and serves three.
If you’re the adventurous type, looks like it’s becoming easier to hunt down these exotic game menu options, and, yes, some of them do taste like chicken.
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