In the midst of the aftermath of the presidential election and
the ongoing pandemic, I was offered some culinary relief by
two generous friends who invited me to join them at the annual
Hunters Dinner at a prominent local restaurant. The meats,
fowl, fish, vegetable and fruit dishes were all unusual, and it
promised to be an adventure.
There used to be restaurants in several large cities which offered
exotic game dishes on their menus. I remember Cafe Bohemia
in Chicago near Union Station which routinely had lion, tiger,
water buffalo, giraffe and other wild “delicacies” on their menu.
But you only got one or two dishes a a time at these restaurants.
At the local dinner, everyone received all the dishes, including
ostrich, pheasant, python, caviar, boar, camel, partridge, wolffish
and venison, each course accompanied by a different special
beer provided by a local brewery.
Carefully socially distanced, with all staff wearing masks at all
times, the crowd was smaller, I was told, than usual, but the
precautions did not diminish conviviality and hearty appetites.
Instead of an appetizer buffet, the eight selections were served
to each diner on a large plate. Five courses followed, generously
portioned, climaxing with a large and delicious venison osso
buco. The chef very ably sauced each dish. The grits that
accompanied the python, for example, were outstanding. It was
an evening of unusual flavors and textures. Even the fruits and
vegetables served at the dinner are very rarely found on menus.
The specialty beers were well-paired with each course.
There was a lot of very good food and good drink, and by the
meal’s conclusion one didn’t much care who had been elected
Alas, this and all the other excellent restaurants have been
closed for indoor dining for at least a month by the state
governor --- so the memory of this special meal will need
to last a while.
Check out the menu below.
HUNTERS DINNER MENU
Coffee-crusted ostrich with chimichurri
Rosemary pheasant pate
Burmese python and grits
Smoked trout mousse with osetra caviar
Bourbon boar BLT bite
Camel slider with cumin
Lobster and wild shrimp seafood sausage
Lemon garlic monkfish canape
Partridge confit with wild huckleberry coulis
Chayote bisque with creme fraiche and goldenberries
Seaweed salad with ginger teriyaki wolffish
Slugfest Juicy IPA
Chipotle venison osso buco
Cherinoya sorbet with puree of passion fruit and prickly pear
Triumphant Session IPA
Copyright (c) 2020 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.