Friday, August 24, 2007

Wild Game Restaurant in Kennett Square, PA

Elk, yak, llama, venison, kangaroo, and antelope are some of the wild delights you might find on the menu a little over an hour's drive northeast from Baltimore at the Half Moon Restaurant and Saloon, 101 State Street, in Kennett Square, PA. Interestingly, I learned about Half Moon in the July Delaware Today "Best of Delaware" feature, where it captured the critics' pick for "best wild game over the line."

Just a few minutes from Wilmington, Kennett Square is a tasteful old-school kind of town with more than its share of upscale restaurants. It bills itself the "mushroom capital of the world." The Kennett Square Mushroom Festival happens this year on September 8 and 9.

I visited Half Moon for a late lunch just a couple days ago. The environment is contemporary even with an elegant and long antique mahogany bar, black and white mosaic pattern floors, and relatively modern fans hanging from a dark painted tin ceiling. Past the bar is the main dining room. Above is an indoor-outdoor all-season rooftop bar and restaurant with the added attraction of being a great perch for sunsets. At 3 p.m. last Wednesday, the pace was slow, and being alone, I opted for a seat at the bar, which is renowned for its vast draft beer selection. Belgians are biggies here. One of them, Golden Carlous, is 21 proof. As my own designated driver, I deferred to iced tea.

My lunch was a cup of alligator gumbo with crawfish and sausage followed by a wild boar burger. The gumbo was one of the greatest gumbos of any kind I've ever tasted anywhere, including New Orleans. Distinguishing it was a particularly dark and heavy brown roux, perfectly cooked cubes of alligator, and sausage bits somehow rendered crisp. The wild boar burger arrived accompanied with lettuce tomato on side, along with bacon, and exotic mushrooms as extra requested toppings. The juicy meat was cooked both truly medium-rare, yet to light brown. Its flavor suggested both veal and beef, seemingly more delicate than either. Between two rolls, this was a great burger sandwich, despite my deliberate focus on the sublime essence of its principal ingredient.

Half Moon's wild game offerings vary from menu to menu, and are dictated less by season than some might expect. All meats are naturally raised and less fatty than beef. Management suggests that no game dish be cooked beyond medium rare. Also offered are Uraguayan beef, salads of tempting description, seafood dishes, and enough else to please just about anyone. Half Moon is definitely worth a trip.