The relatively new the Huntsman — it opened in late July — brings a unique experience to Tallahassee. Located on East Tennessee Street at the location previously held by Cypress, it’s a fresh take on an old building.
Upon arrival, you are greeted by the valets, something new to the location but essential due to the small lot the restaurant sits on.
After you enter, you are offered an experience. You’re greeted by the large bar filled with spirits, contrasted against the large artwork displayed on the walls.
The food at this restaurant takes an interesting perspective due to the Huntsman’s unique philosophy: “We look to provide an exceptional experience focusing on wild game, field and stream to table, vegan and vegetarian fare, daily 5-course hunter or gatherer tasting menus with beverage pairing option, happy hour and late-night offerings, private events, local beer, and well-crafted cocktails.”
During happy hour, which runs daily from 5 to 6 p.m., you are welcome to sit at the bar and enjoy a cocktail for $6 or a glass of wine at $8, paired with small plates that feature wild game and foraged foods like boar and assorted greeneries.
For your dinner plans, a much more expansive menu is offered. Multiple 5-course tastings are offered that range in preference from vegan to carnivorous options. The main menu and a la carte options display the Huntsman’s wild game offerings of duck, deer, antelope and elk.
It is made known that the chefs pride themselves in these offerings, as the menu requests that guests enjoy the meals as intended, without any substitutions.
I started with the classic margarita and the Octopus Kokkinsito, broiled octopus over a hearty Greek-style tomato sauce. The flavorful sauce nearly steals the show; the texture and smoky flavor of the octopus contrasted against the sauce shows the intentionality behind the dish. The array of starters and small plates are great openings to the heavier, very calculated meals.
For those not so brave or carnivorously inclined, the Winter Vegetable Mei Fun is a great choice. The dish consists of a rice noodle base topped with tofu, carrots, dukkah and other stir-fried vegetables. It reminds you of your familiar Vietnamese pho mixed with a fresh and local garden salad.
The staff is well trained on meal and drink pairings and willing to offer recommendations to contribute to your experience. In all, a full meal with a couple of drinks could cost around 80 bucks, with the potential to save a bit during happy hour. Although it may be a bit pricey, when going to the Huntsman you’re going for the experience.