From Venison to Grouse: Game On!

Hate the player, not the game.Photo: istockphoto.com/GinaRothfels

With Tim Love and Ted Turner having recently opened game restaurants here — Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and Ted's Montana Grill, respectively — it's a good time for us to consider wild animals: how free and beautiful they are and where you can currently eat them. There are some excellent New York restaurants that feature out-of-the-mainstream meats, especially in the fall.

• At the underrated Waterfront Alehouse, Ralph Yedinak is serving up a wild-tasting, rural-style venison chili, the type hunters might consume around a campfire, and a buffalo flank steak glazed with Guinness and topped with chipotle butter.

Daniel's Chef Boulud has always been a fan of autumnal, foresty foods. He's now preparing hard-to-find grouse — dense, delicious birds with an unmistakably wild taste. They're completely deboned, stuffed with foie gras, and served with Brussels sprouts, cinnamon-glazed sweet potatoes, and barberry jus.

• Although a lot of New York chefs essay venison this time of year, no one can cook a deer like Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit, who's serving an intense rubbed venison loin redolent of fennel, celeriac, and star anise.

• Tim Love is serving a New Zealand red-deer chop with a morel demi-glace alongside his ultrafilling white-truffle macaroni and cheese. He'll also have braised antelope short ribs, served with barbecue sauce and pickled vegetables.

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