4130 Park Boulevard, University Heights
(No longer in business.)
Carnivores don't exactly have a tough time finding good places to eat in this town. Still, you name a place Sausage & Meat, and you'd better be prepared to nourish those craving the flesh of many beasts.
S&M Sausage and Meat certainly stands ready to deliver. The new University Heights restaurant by Scott Slater — who established his name making burger patties half bacon with Slater's 50/50 — offers an incredible assortment of sausage and game meats, and even finds a way to make Bacon a menu subheading. As in mustard bacon, honey sriracha bacon, and white chocolate cashew bacon. Whatever else you might order from the fairly extensive, meaty menu, 3 bucks lets you add one of eight different bacon varieties to your meal. As to whether bacon needs the added adornment of candy or spice is best left to the more erudite philosophers of our age, but my sesame soy tasted a lot like bacon and not much like sesame. Still, bacon is delicious.
The game offerings on the menu warrant a mention as well, beginning with a venison lasagna and including a pulled rabbit poutine that looks every bit as decadent as you might think, served over "#hashtag fries," which differ from waffle fries in concept only.
Actually, there are a number of concepts at work with the setup of this place. Upon entering, the hostess explained that I needed to order an appetizer or at least start a tab at the front register, then proceed to the seat of my choice to receive table service. So I let her run my credit card to charge me for nothing, then proceeded to eat dinner, only to have to cancel that charge and give a different server my card to actually pay. I'm not sure how this was supposed to work, but I figure the idea behind it will be scrapped within a week.
Another quirky concept is a flipping table card — when you sit down the raised card reads "Welcome." When you're ready to order you flip to a card requesting "Service." If you've got everything you need and wish to eat/speak uninterrupted flip to "Scram," and when you're ready to go, "Check." I left it on "Scram" for pretty much the entirety of my meal, and no fewer than five servers and a manager stopped by to see whether there was anything I needed. This idea might make it to the end of the month.
I do give them points for trying, though I'm not sure pioneering new serving methods is a necessary start for a restaurant that serves about 17 great-sounding takes on sausage — the real reason I was here. It took about 15 minutes for me to decide between the likes of smoked cheddar bratwurst, pineapple Portuguese, kangaroo Cajun, bison chipotle and lamb merguez.
I ultimately went with a corned beef sausage and the alligator antelope andouille, served as a meat board with mustard and pickled vegetables.
The corned beef lived up to its name, with a spot-on representation of the deli meat in well-textured sausage form — peppery and delicious. The mixed-animal andouille had less distinguishing character and, though not bad, it may have been a tad ambitious for something meant to be crafted from offal. I think sticking to just antelope might have been edgy enough.
The newness of this place is still apparent, but the beer, wine and cocktail lists are solid, the space creatively designed and the patio dog friendly, so I have hopes it'll shine like a carnivorous beacon on Park Ave. I can say for sure there's a lot more I would like to try on this menu, beginning with that poutine. There will apparently also be beaver tacos at some point… though the idea of ordering an S&M Beaver Taco to go with my sausage might be a little too risqué for my blood.