Nestled in the hills of Malibu and embellished with the stuffed spoils of bygone hunting trips, Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas is an historic former hunting lodge that is practically the definition of cozy.
The menu presents grilled Texas antelope, New Zealand elk tenderloin (left with butternut squash), rabbit roulade, and wild boar hash. The popular wild game trio — three game meats thoughtfully chosen by chef Christopher Kufek — varies based on availability but is offered nightly.
Housed in a former wildlife museum and taxidermy, complete with a mammoth stuffed buffalo — you’d be surprised if The Gun Barrel Steak & Game House in Jackson Hole, Wyo., didn’t boast a bison-centric menu. Buffalo sirloin, slow-roasted buffalo ribs, and seasoned buffalo prime rib are the popular orders at this rustic steak and game house, but there are more delicate presentations — like bison carpaccio drizzled with Dijon mustard, served with fresh smoked gouda and garlic toast (left). Elk tenderloin and venison bratwurst also claim welcome places on the menu.
Nightly specials at this tony hotel restaurant in San Francisco regularly include a game dish — typically buffalo, ostrich, antelope, and alligator — but true game enthusiasts at Big 4 Restaurant may opt for the private wild game dinner (for parties of 14 to 20 people) where chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls offers a three-course menu featuring exotic selections of Brazilian piranha, Rocky Mountain elk, Himalayan yak, and (in this company at least) "tame" wild boar (left).
This intimate, 20-seat eatery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side boasts a menu of traditional French preparations with New World ingredients. Chef Karim Nounouh’s affection for wild game is evidenced in first courses of bison tartar with quail egg, wild boar sausage, and pheasant pâté. Ostrich steak and stuffed quail make appearances on the game-heavy entrée menu, as do bison ribs and braised rabbit.
Accolades for this "Early West" beef house in Morrison, Colo., are many, and game enthusiasts flock here for the buffalo ribs (from local Rocky Mountain ranches), teriyaki quail, elk chops, and bison steak (pictured). The roasted bison marrow bones — known as “prairie butter” to early American pioneers — is a delicacy at The Fort that was rumored to have been a favorite of Julia Child’s.
Rustic-sounding dishes like the double-cut boar rack, the venison London broil, and the seared pheasant seem at home on the menu of this 17th-century country inn and tavern. But The Sergeantsville Inn's Asian pheasant spring rolls, bison hanger steak with fries, and caiman (farm-raised alligator) over fettuccini round out the menu with a contemporary spin on game preparations.
If dining creek-side in a 100-year-old log cabin amid antique hunting collectables inspires rustic dinner choices, you’ll find yourself with the right menu in your hands at the Rainbow Lodge in Houston. Buffalo short ribs, grilled elk chop with autumn vegetables (pictured), and Nilgai antelope back strap are standards on the menu, alongside the mixed grill of venison medallions, Texas lamb T-bone, and Lockhart quail.
A secluded restaurant atop Sugarloaf Mountain (reached via a 20-person passenger Snow Cat) is the place for adventurous game enthusiasts to experience a six-course meal by candlelight. The game-heavy menu at Bullwinkles’s at Night in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, will vary throughout the season, but bacon-wrapped rabbit loin, blueberry venison sausage, herb-crusted bison loin, and rack of elk have all made recent appearances.
This Northwest-themed rustic lodge in Greenville, S.C., is nationally recognized for its wild game cuisine. Locals pack the place for wild game sausages cooked on a hickory fire, elk tenderloin, and buffalo ribeye (left) and flank steak. Emu, bear, and pheasant make frequent appearances as nightly specials.
Kennet Square, Pa., might be known as the mushroom capital of the world, but its also home to one of the best haunts for wild game in the Northeast. Elk, deer, kangaroo, bison, yak, and antelope are some of the exotic eats typically showcased at the Half Moon. The buffaloaf with wild mushrooms is an expected nod to the restaurants locale. And of course, there's always game done up comfort food style, à la the Half Moon buffalo burger (left).