Best of Columbus 2014: Game Meat Trend

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From the July 2014 edition

Exotic meat is officially a trend here, with wild boar, bison and even kangaroo showing up on menus. We found two great elk sandwiches and put them to an antlers-to-antlers test.

Cabela’s Smoked Elk Sandwich, $9

Toppings: Choose your own, deli-style. We ordered ours with lettuce, tomato and pepper jack cheese on marbled rye bread. We opted to have the sandwich toasted, too. That was a nice touch, especially as cold elk did not appeal.

Tastes like: Beef, but more interesting than beef. The meat was beautifully seasoned, tender and plentiful. It played well with the zing of the pepper jack.

Restaurant vibe: Country home-cooking. Diners are encouraged to “eat like a hunter.”

Another menu item to try: Wild boar deli sandwich

Bareburger Elk Burger, $18.65 (with fries)

Toppings: Sliced brisket, pepper jack cheese, raw red onions, panko-crusted butter pickle chips and smoked paprika mayo on a brioche bun

Tastes like: Gamey and assertive, a little funky. The toppings were perfect companions and foils to the meat.

Restaurant vibe: Tattooed and sustainably raised

Another menu item to try: Carrot Cake French Toast, served with fried banana fritters, maple syrup and smoked paprika butter