Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Grizzly House, Part II

So how was the "exotic meat" at The Grizzly House in Banff? (See my last entry for the backstory.)

I have one word to describe python: chewy. The venison was dark, pleasantly gamey, a little livery perhaps. Jessica really liked it. The buffalo tasted like beef (and in the context of this meal that was a good thing). The shark reminded me of tuna. The wild boar lacked a pronounced flavor. The alligator was bland and, you knew this phrase had to be in here somewhere, tasted like chicken. My favorite was the frog’s leg even though, raw, it looks amazingly like a miniature human leg. The meat was tender and charred, and it fell off the bone.

Not only does the Grizzly House boast an ultra-unique menu, it features a gimmick that – with the right crowd and copious amounts of alcohol – could be hilarious. Each table has a telephone and a list of phone numbers for each of the restaurant’s other tables (and the restrooms). Jessica tried calling several numbers but no one picked up…bummer.

Finally, the nice older couple next to us answered, and Jessica and the husband chatted for a few minutes. Turns out they were visiting from Chicago. They didn’t go as exotic as us in the meat department.

As we finished our meal our waiter Billy gave us the Grizzly House backstory. Barbara and Peter Steiner opened it as a nightclub in 1967, but that turned out to be too much of a hassle, so they transformed it into a restaurant. The Steiners are a colorful couple… naturists (nudists) and there was some intimation of swinging as well…. The Grizzly House website does say it’s for “Lovers and Hedonists”. Or at least hedonistic lovers of exotic meat. Sadly, I can’t count myself among that group. With apologies to Anthony Bourdain I think one bite of python is enough in this life. I'll stick with the frog legs -- that's exotic enough for me.

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