Ripple's wood pigeon is paired with a juniper ballotine, a sausage-like combination of pigeon and poached chicken.
It’s been a full week since Thanksgiving, and I’m still suffering from Turkey Leftovers Fatigue. Pro tip: Do not host a “Pre-Thanksgiving” for friends the week before “Real Thanksgiving” with family. It’s just Too. Much. Turkey.
My leftovers are banished to the freezer for now, but I haven’t shunned all birds. In fact, I recently tried pigeon.
I know what you’re thinking: You ate one of those birds that feed on the trash in Dupont Circle?! Um, no.
I tried wood pigeon (or squab, as some chefs call it), a different species than urban “feral” pigeons. Wood pigeons live in forests and eat natural foods such as berries and roots. Because of their upbringing, these birds taste nothing like typical domestic fowl.
I momentarily thought I was eating red meat as I bit into a medium-rare slice at Ripple (3417 Connecticut Ave. NW). The wild game is deep burgundy, with a juicy texture and a rich, savory flavor. Basted in butter, garlic and herbs, cooked in a pan and topped with cider-caraway jus, it’s the centerpiece of a dinner entree ($25) that pairs it with a juniper ballotine (a sausage-like combination of pigeon and poached chicken). Both elements of the meal were pretty delicious — unlike how I imagine a Dupont Circle pigeon might taste.
Because it’s such a small bird, there’s not a huge amount to eat when you make a meal of pigeon. On the bright side, no leftovers!