America’s Best Restaurants for Meat Eaters (Slideshow)

These are the country’s top places to find wild game

10) Sammy’s Wild Game Grill, Houston, Texas

This casual Houston roadhouse doesn’t serve steaks or composed plates, but it’s legendary for another reason entirely: its burgers and sausages made with wild game including antelope, pheasant, venison, elk, ostrich, buffalo, and others are all hormone- and antibiotic-free. While it’s tempting to try an antelope burger, how many times can you say you’ve eaten a llama salad?

9) The Sergeantsville Inn, Sergeantsville, N.J.

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.

8) Half Moon Restaurant & Saloon, Kennett Square, Pa.

Kennett Square, Pa., might be known as the mushroom capital of the world, but it’s 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 buffalo with wild mushrooms is an expected nod to the restaurant’s locale. And of course, there's always game done up comfort food style, à la the Half Moon buffalo burger.

7) The Gun Barrel Steak & Game House, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Housed in a former wildlife and taxidermy museum complete with a stuffed buffalo,  you’d be surprised if The Gun Barrel Steak & Game House 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. Traditional steaks, elk chops, and venison bratwurst also claim welcome places on the menu.

6) Game, Louisville, Ky.

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The name says it all: Louisville’s Game restaurant serves some crazy burgers, made with your choice of ostrich, kangaroo, duck, lamb, elk, venison, antelope, wild boar, salmon, or Angus beef. You can also sample the meat tartare-style if interested. You have your choice of six types of bread, seven cheeses, nine sauces, and 10 extras including foie gras, pork belly, grilled fennel, and slaw. Specials include lamb heart burgers (for Valentine’s Day, naturally), wild boar chorizo burgers, pheasant sausage, and giant grilled steaks. There may be no other restaurant in America serving burgers made from more varieties of meat, and in such creative applications.

5) Craftwood Inn, Manitou Springs, Co

A 1940 restaurant located inside a historic 1912 Tudor-style inn, The Craftwood Inn serves some of the finest Colorado Cuisine you’ll find anywhere. So what is Colorado Cuisine, exactly? Just take a look at the menu. Chef Matt Schee’s menu is full of hearty, local fare prepared thoughtfully with a slight Southwestern kick and a special section of the menu is reserved for simply yet smartly prepared wild game. There’s grilled Rocky Mountain elk with fondant potatoes, asparagus, and horseradish crème fraîche; grilled ostrich steak with farro pilaf and mushrooms; pansotti filled with 48-hour braised goat; and braised bison short ribs with ancho chile rub, jalapeño spoonbread, asparagus, and cippolini onions. There’s also a sampler platter with elk, ostrich, and boar osso bucco for those looking to sample Colorado’s finest game. 

4) The Fort, Morrison, Colo.

Accolades for this "Early West" beef house are many, and game enthusiasts flock here for the buffalo ribs (from local Rocky Mountain ranches), teriyaki quail, elk chops, and bison steak. 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.

3) Rainbow Lodge, Houston, Texas

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. 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.

2) Saskatoon Restaurant, Greenville, S.C.

This Northwest-themed rustic lodge is nationally recognized for its wild game cuisine. Locals pack the place for wild game sausages cooked on a hickory fire, elk tenderloin, buffalo rib-eye (left) and flank steak. Emu, bear, and pheasant make frequent appearances as nightly specials.

1) The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver, Colo.

To give you an idea of how old The Buckhorn Exchange is, the number on its Colorado state liquor license is “one.” Opened in 1893, The Buckhorn is a true Wild West holdout, with its circa-1857 antique bar, wooden fixtures, 575-piece taxidermy collection, 125-piece gun collection, and a menu that reflects that good ol’ American desire to eat some red meat. Giant steaks are the most popular offering, but there are plenty of exotic game meats on offer too: elk, Cornish game hen, quail, and buffalo are available and can be served as samplers (elk and two quails; quail, duck and Cornish game hen; etc.) for those who really want to celebrate being on top of the food chain.