Critic's Notebook

Game On at FlintCreek Cattle Co.

"Americans are so stuck on the cow."

By Kathryn Robinson January 26, 2017

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Venison pate, at FlintCreek.

“I wanted to do a meat restaurant even before I did RockCreek Seafood,” chef Eric Donnelly told me by phone when I called him after having anonymously reviewed his new FlintCreek Cattle Co.

Mission accomplished.

The menu from my visits to the included no fewer than eight varieties of meat—including beef (in four cuts), lamb (in three preparations), and three varieties of game meats in five different preparations. “There are so many cool meats out there that we don’t see in restaurants very often,” he explains, referring to the venison, bison, and wild boar on his menu. “Americans are so stuck on the cow.”

The advantages of eating game are well documented. Flavors are richer than many meats, and, for their novelty, more exotic. “It’s leaning toward beef, but without that sweet corn finish,” Donnelly said about bison. “Leaner, more iron-y, and richer. I prefer it.” We tried a wild boar shoulder dish and found its deep flavor more than able to hold its own against a strong and peppery fennel sugo. A venison pate was ethereal, its robust flavor begging for fuller flavored intrigues like shallots and bright pickle relish. The strong flavors cranked the interest.

Novelty flavors aren’t the only advantage of game meats, however. Wild or responsibly raised, they’re organic and “unenhanced.” And they’re lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories than most meats, with all the protein and iron and vitamins.

If it all sounds like wintry fare—it has been since Donnelly opened FlintCreek in October, but won’t always be. He promises carpaccios, braises, and other light treatments with spring vegetable compliments. But get in before that, because this one’s terrific. Which I say in more words in this month’s review.

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