Sometimes, there are just those gut reactions that you must not ignore. When I heard the co-owners of Hammerheads were working on a new restaurant project that specialized in exotic-game burgers, my gut's words to me were, "If you don't feed me there immediately, you will truly come to know irritable bowel syndrome." Tonight a friend and I followed our guts to Louisville's newest kitchen, Game. Opened by Adam Burress and Chase Mucerino, owners of the brilliant establishment known as Hammerheads (check out a cool review here), Game is yet another reason why Louisville legitimately has one of the top restaurant scenes in the country. Here's why:
So, you walk in. With a glass exterior, low-lit red lighting, and the aroma of protein in the air, I was transported to a mountainous lodge where I felt like I should be hanging up my crossbow and heading to the restroom to wash the dirt and blood from my face. Instead, I reached a freshly Purelled hand into my hoodie for my iPhone and started taking pics. Regardless, the vibe is very manly. My pal and I sat at the bar and were served by Chris, whom I recognized from Hammerheads. Dude was great.
Wild Boar, Antelope, Lamb, Ostrich meatballs at Game
The basic idea behind Game is to offer exotic meats--ostrich, kangaroo, antelope, wild boar, duck, etc.--in the form of burgers and/or meatballs. So brilliant. Like Hammerheads, there are a few additional options in terms of appetizers and samplers, but this joint is about the art of burger. You have the audacious option to build your own burger with an assortment of bread (brioche, pretzel, focaccia, pumpernickel, etc.), cheese (herbed goat, brie, gorgonzola, swiss, and the like.), and sauce (roasted habanero ranch, tomato jam, bone marrow mayo, smoked truffle mayo, and such) or you can be smart, flip the menu, and go with the chef's recommended combos.
Duck Burger at Game
We each ordered a Delirium Tremens on draft and started agreeing on our game plan. We started out with meatballs and grilled fennel. Ostrich, lamb, antelope, wagyu, and wild boar meatballs to be exact. One meatball is big enough for two to share. The ostrich and lamb were the standouts. We then ordered our burgers. Mine, the duck burger on focaccia with an egg; my fellow hunter-gatherer, kangaroo on pretzel with tomato jam. Served on a wooden plank, we portioned our catch sagittally and then swapped. So frickin good! Every bite. I declared the kangaroo the victor of this boxing round.
Kangaroo Burger at Game
So, yeah, this place is for real. Though I'm not sure it'll surpass Hammerheads' more varietal menu and eclectic vibe, Game has taken the burger to the next level, period. There is no better place to have your foodie horizons expanded than to bite into an ostrich, kangaroo, and antelope in one setting. Definitely a great place for dudes to hang out who are serious about meat. Ladies, next to Holy Grale, Feast BBQ, and Meat, this is a place to earn some major girlfriend points for your man. Treat him like the man that he is by feeding him things lions eat in the wild. Still, it'll take a bit to see how this place does. I'm eager to see how this place fairs in the summer when the burger is more in season. Either way, plan to visit this place and get your predator on soon.