Who’s Got Game?

Whether it runs or flies, game dishes can be rather intimidating to try, much less prepare for yourself. Luckily, Savannah boasts a top-notch selection of fine restaurants and bistros whose owners and chefs are quite passionate about bringing the wild onto our plates and into our otherwise domestic palates.

Cafe 37

The Lapin de Printemps ($30) Rabbit has long been known as nature’s harbinger of spring and Blake Elsinghorst’s Lapin de Printemps (or rabbit of the spring) is a fresh and light dish that lives up to its reputation. At Cafe 37, the rabbit is braised for two hours in an aromatic vegetable stock with bay leaves and thyme, ready only when the meat is tender enough to almost fall off the bone. The braised leg of rabbit is then dusted in flour, pan-fried in butter and settled on a puree of celery root. Garnished with cardamom infused baby carrots, the leg of rabbit is covered in a reduction made of Riesling wine, whole grain mustard and heavy cream. Completing the dish are rabbit and veal sausages that are first poached in milk simmering in juniper berries then browned in butter. For color, the dish is drizzled with parsley oil that has been blanched, shocked and blended to a bright green that reminds you, if the rabbit does not, that spring is finally here. Pairing: What’s the perfect wine for the spring dish? The Domaine Des Huards Cour-Cheverny Romorantin. This white wine is produced from one of the rarest grapes in the world. Legend has it that it was first planted in the Loire region by King Francis I (1494-1547) and Elsinghorst explains that it’s “an extremely clean white with a stripe of minerality running down the center.” And although the rabbit is seasonal, the wine is always on the list. 205 East 37th Street 912.236.8533 | cafe37.com

Circa 1875

Wild Boar Chop ($26) Chef David Landrigan’s Roasted Wild Boar Chop is a tasty twist on the common chop. Like many “wild” dishes, diners might assume it has a heavier game flavor compared with its fattier domestic counterpart. However, explains Landrigan, the taste is actually a bit milder. To create his signature flavor, Landrigan uses a chili dust that he rubs on the chop and then sears the meat, sautéing it in bacon fat. He finishes the chop in an anise-flavored demi-glace of caramelized bacon. This sweet smokiness brings out the flavor in the meat, which is nestled on a bed of sweet potato ducats browned in the oven. Swiss chard, a lighter alternative to collard greens, is sautéed in garlic and seasoned with salt, pepper and a little Tabasco for heat. Pairing: Landrigan recommends his favorite wine for the dish, Chateau Routas Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon (the name is merely coincidence). If you prefer a white wine, he suggests pairing the chop with a buttery sauvignon blanc or a Riesling. 48 Whitaker Street 912.443.1875 | circa1875.com