FLA V O R S
At Metrovino, Gregory Denton offers
chicken-fried quail on a bed of curried
lentils with herbed yogurt, a watermelon/
tomato salad with feta and a fried quail egg.
Flavorful game bird preparations win over diners
and add value to the menu.
By Rob Benes
TODAY’S consumers are increasingly
conscious of the need to eat more
healthfully. Game birds are ideally suited to
respond to the desire for healthier foods.
Compared with other meats, such birds as
guinea fowl and pheasant are high in protein
and low in fat, and quail is high in iron.
game birds provide so much more flavor
“Menuing game birds is a value-added
item, because the majority of the dining
public does not cook game birds at home,”
says Tory McPhail, executive chef at
Commander’s Palace, New Orleans. “Plus,
Gregory Denton, executive chef at
Metrovino, Portland, Ore., says cooking game
birds is not challenging. “The challenge
exists in getting guests to order the item.
When we serve quail, we cook the bird to
only medium, so there’s a bit of pink in the
middle. When preparing squab, we cook it to
medium to medium-rare. People are used to
cooking chicken until there’s no pink, so they
think the quail or squab is not fully cooked.
The problem with cooking game birds to a
well-done state is that the bird will be dry
because of the lack of fat, and have a livery
taste. This will turn people off from ever
again ordering any kind of game bird.”
States require restaurants to serve only game
that has been slaughtered and dressed under
inspection through a licensed purveyor/
distributor. Wild game species that can be
legally hunted under federal or state regulatory
authority cannot be sold to restaurants, but can
be harvested for personal consumption.