Jeff and I trekked up to Lambertville this afternoon for the first weekend of wild game at Lambertville Station. This event is going on through March with different game selections each weekend. This weekend's quail and elk dishes were a good starting point for me, since I am pretty unfamiliar with game (the only game I've ever had was a bit of duck). I think we'll be visiting a few more times before it ends to keep expanding our palates!
Lambertville is one of my favorite places. It's a quaint little colonial town right on the Delaware River, across from New Hope, Pennsylvania. Lambertville has a great collection of antique stores (and great bargains at the Golden Nugget outdoor market on weekends) and New Hope has a thriving community of artists, so there are plenty of cute and curious shops to browse through. And both towns have some great restaurants (you may remember my previous post about The Blue Tortilla in New Hope). This adventurous lunch and a browse through the antique market was the perfect way to spend this 60-degree winter Saturday.
The advertisement about the wild game offerings says that it is available at both lunch and dinner, with appetizer and entree portions available, so we were sad to find only one game selection on the menu when we arrived. Our delightful waitress, however, consulted with the kitchens and managed to procure for us an appetizer portion of the quail, roasted and stuffed with apples. The presentation was beautiful, although I confess I was a bit squeamish about picking apart a tiny little bird. But the skin was nice and crispy (and I don't usually eat skin) and the meat delicious. It reminded us most of turkey in both flavor and appearance - even the breast portion was the dark color of a turkey drumstick, with similar rosy patches. The tart green apples contrasted well with the savory, meaty flavor of the quail. Definitely a winner in my book.
For my entree, I ordered one of the day's specials - a london broil sandwich with spinach, artichoke and Asiago cheese spread on a rosemary ciabatta roll. I have to admit I was disappointed in my selection. While the steak was cooked nicely, it is a tough cut of meat, very difficult to manage in a sandwich, and I think some of the slices were a bit thicker than they should have been. I had a hard time biting through it, so the meal turned into a bit of a struggle to eat my food in a polite and ladylike manner. The spread was good, as was the bread, but my battle to bite through the steak put damper on the whole experience for me. Note to self: don't order steak sandwiches.
Jeff ordered the game entree - spaghetti with red elk meatballs. We were a little disappointed that there wasn't a dish that showed off the elk's true flavor and texture - there are apparently elk medallions on the dinner menu which would have fit the bill nicely. However, since Jeff cleaned his plate, I think the meatballs went over well. I am not sure I got a sense of the flavor of elk from the meatball I tasted, what with its other herbs and spices, but I was very impressed with the texture. It was definitely leaner than a beef meatball - I never thought about the fattiness of beef meatballs until today, when it was missing. The elk also managed to be dense without being heavy. I think it is something that I would order for myself in the future. Jeff particularly appreciated getting nine small meatballs, rather than the two or three large ones he has come to expect from ordering them at restaurants.
Overall, Lambertville Station is always a great place to grab a bit of lunch (or brunch, on a Sunday!). While I chose my entree poorly, the rest of the food was delicious and worth returning for. We will probably be back for more wild game soon - next week is pheasant and wild boar!