Wild at Heart

Restaurants nationwide are embracing exotic meats on their menus.

Just how far will adventurous gourmets go for the next new discovery? Pretty far, it seems, as evidenced by last summer’s reports of eateries offering forbidden fruits such as lion burgers and whale sushi. But responsible trailblazers can still try tantalizing, if unusual, alternatives to basic beef, chicken and fish—without harming nature’s most majestic creatures. Chefs around the country are embracing the trend by offering creatively prepared, little-known meats and quality game on their menus sourced from small, sustainable farms. Here’s where you can let your taste buds walk on the wild side:

Restaurant Serenade offers an ostrich loin sourced from humanely raised birds at organic Fossil Farms in nearby Andover. “It’s very important for me to support smaller farmers who treat their animals humanely and don’t use hormones or antibiotics. That’s better for the environment and also healthier for our customers,” says Chef James Laird. He also prepares a Canadian bison duo, sourcing the meat from D’Artagnan, a gourmet small-farm meat purveyor.

Abe & Arthur’s in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District serves a grilled Axis venison chop with Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and wild lingonberries (pictured). The eatery’s free-ranging Axis deer are humanely harvested from Broken Arrow Ranch in the Texas Hill Country.

Bostonians admire the nose-to-tail philosophy employed at Craigie On Main, where James Beard award-winning Chef Tony Maws serves up a tasty goat rillete marinated with wine, spices, herbs, shallots, garlic and cured pork belly. Perhaps most unusual of all: Wild boar ribs and crocodile corn chowder are on the fall menu at the Sunburnt Calf and sister Aussie restaurants, Bondi Road and the Sunburnt Cow in New York City. Small local purveyors in Australia provide the meats.

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