March 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm , by Serina Patrick
At the close of the Winter Olympics in Canada, what could be more appropriate than dining at Saskatoon, a new restaurant specializing in wild game from the Northwest.
I sorta expected the staff to say “ay?” at the end of every question…”having wild boar tonight, ay?” LG and I arrived hungry for some meat! I was ready to try wild game that is not as common here in the States, like elk and venison (yes honey, that’s Bambi).
Mountain lodge decor complete with antler chandeliers creates a rustic and warm ambiance. We ordered a bottle of full and spicy 2005 Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja to start. Most of their wines come in around $30….very reasonable. Hot bread with three flavored butters eventually arrived.
The original Saskatoon has been open in Greenville, SC for 13 years, and although the founder is Edmund Woo, the owner of this spin-off is Yash Patel. A few Asian influences remain on the meat-centric menu like the buffalo lettuce wraps that LG and I sampled. A selection of julienned veggies like red pepper, cucumber, onion, scallions, and tomato accomany the strips of buffalo, cooked medium, served with two Asian dipping sauces. Not bad.
But I preferred the other starter…..wild boar sausage flatbread. Basically a mini pizza, the flatbread was topped with portabellas and parmesan. I couldn’t tell the sausage was made with boar, but I did like the flavor.
Our server, Dan, was very helpful and brought out a taste of the ostrich. I think it was good, but too much BBQ-ish sauce masked the flavor of the meat. Executive chef Kevin Backus came out to chat and offered to create a mixed grill entree for me so I could taste a variety of game….I wanted something wild! I chose the trio of quail, elk, and kangaroo while LG stuck with the plate as it was offered….duck, quail, and lamb. Venison, rather than quail, was on my plate atop a mound of skin-on mashed potatoes. Then a separate plate with the little bird arrived. I wish the skin had been crispier.
LG and I said a prayer for the animals that died for our extravagant meal as we savored each bite. My favorite was the kangaroo (probably because of the marinade), although it was almost well-done it was very tender. Requested medium-rare, my venison was quite rare which made it chewy. Seems as though the sauces and marinades conceal rather than enhance the meats’ flavor. The menu says the steaks and meats are grilled over a live hickory fire. Really? I just didn’t get that grilled frontier flavor that I craved.
Saskatoon also offers ribeyes, filet mignon, pork tenderloin, and a variety of fish for diners with tamer tastebuds.
The couple at the table next to us were raving about their dessert. It was the creme brulee napoleon. Creme brulee layered with phyllo dough, caramel sauce, and pecans. What made it amazing was the slightly burnt flavor of the phyllo squares, crisped in the oven just before assembly. Staff wine specialist Stephen Pouleris suggested a Hungarian dessert wine called Royal Tokaji with dessert, like a glass of liquid raisins.
360 Pharr Road 404-891-1911
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