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Game Dinner at Restaurant Daniel

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Game dinner at Restaurant Daniel.

© Thomas Schaeur
Jambon de Sanglier "en Croute"


 

Last Wednesday night, I sacrificed watching my home baseball team win the World Series (yay Phillies!) to be a guest at the six-course game dinner at New York City's Restaurant Daniel, the restaurant's fourth annual. With the seemingly never-ending economic doomsday news, I wondered if the dinner was my last nod to decadence before hunkering down for a winter of bean dishes. The Wall Streeters and other financial types at the dinner—many of them regulars at restaurants like Daniel and Jean-Georges—talked in low voices about the troubled times, and all agreed that for now, they would not let financial woes get in the way of a great meal. While I’d love to hate them for their extraordinary dining budgets, I realized that we need their dollars to support these topnotch restaurants. That way, when times get better, the rest of us will still have places to splurge on special occasions. Some highlights and photographs from the dinner after the jump:

-    Learning that most game meat served at restaurants is farm-raised because animals hunted in the U.S. cannot be sold commercially. In the U.K., however, hunting is so well regulated that it's easy to trace game birds to their source, and therefore hunted game can be sold in the U.S. The wild birds that night came from Andrew Hamilton of Scottish Wild Harvest who supplies a number a top New York restaurants.
-    Discovering that sometimes, wild isn’t always better. The wild Scottish wood pigeon was quite a bit tougher than the tender farm-raised squab found on most menus—but the birds are apparently the same species.
-    Tasting the incredible spread of charcuterie at the beginning of the meal. I loved the warm partridge pate made succulent with figs and foie gras and the wild boar ham served in a pig-shaped bowl made of pastry (above).
-    Trying the leg of venison (farm-raised) baked in clay, which came out on a platter of burning twigs that smelled like a campfire.

Game dinner at Restaurant Daniel.

Venison at Restaurant Daniel game dinner

Wild duck pate at Restaurant Daniel. 

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.