Sunday, January 15, 2012
It was a great start for the new year. I went, with a large group, to a restaurant/bar that does not take reservations. This sounds like the start of a very bad situation but it worked out much better than I would have guessed. Frontier is located in Noble Square just south of the Polish Triangle. While it's close to hipster central, it looks like a mountain lodge. It has hardwood floors and furniture with wild game trophies on the walls and a very large stuffed grizzly behind the bar. There are also also several large flat screen TVs on the walls so the game can be watched from anywhere. There is also a large communal dining table in the kitchen. For people interested in food, the kitchen table is a big bonus because you can watch the goings on in the kitchen. I was very happy to see that we were seated at the kitchen tableThe menu at the Frontier is divided into Snacks (appetizers), Harvested (vegetable dishes), Fished (seafood), and Hunted (game). While the stuff in the Harvested and Fished sections did look good, most people who live in the city do not get to eat game often so that is what I went for. While they have a beef hamburger on the menu, and some chicken but there is also venison, elk, boar, rabbit, goat, and other thinks. There was also an appetizer that I was interested but because they were missing a key ingredient, they were not serving it. For the appetizer, I was interested in the Cheese Fritter. On the surface, that sounds pretty mundane but who doesn't like fried cheese? It was what was in it though that had me interested in it. It was made with Gruyere Cheese, Lamb Brains, Chives, and Lemon and Veal Reduction. I have never had brains which so this is what I wanted to try. Unfortunately, they had no lamb brains so I had to go with something else. I went with the waitress' recommendation. I had a Peppadew Pepper that was stuffed with Manchego Cheese and Dates and wrapped with House-Made Bacon. I didn't know what a Peppadew Pepper was but it was wrapped in bacon and bacon makes everything better. The waitress was right, it was very good. The bacon had a nice crispness to it but also had a good chew. The pepper was about the size and shape of a grape tomato. It initially had a kind of a bell pepper taste but developed a slow burn. The dates and cheese added a nice tangy sweetness to it. It was a good start.
As I was at a restaurant that featured game, I looked to get as much bang for my buck so I ordered a dish with four different animals in it. I ordered the Hunter's Cassoulet. A cassoulet is a slow cooked bean stew originating in the south of France and which normally contains pork sausage, pork, goose, duck, and sometimes mutton. This cassoulet had mutton but the pork sausage was boar, the duck was ostrich, and the pork was antelope. It was served in a large metal bowl on a cutting board. It looked rustic and tasted amazingly good. It was kind of funny though, the meat that I liked least was the one that would probably be most accessible to most people, the boar sausage. While it was all good, the sausage was what I liked least.
I really liked Frontier and I will definitely have to go back. There are so many things on the menu that I wouldn't be able to get anywhere else, I will have to visit several times to try it all.