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Best New Restaurants in Quebec City: Kraken Cru | Air Canada enRoute
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Dish at Kraken Cru restaurant

Kraken Cru

Quebec City, QC

Kraken Cru • Quebec City, QC

190 rue Saint-Vallier O. 581-741-9099 Facebook

We’re singing along to a Nino Ferrer tune about pickles and mustard and hard-boiled eggs. Who’s we? One chef, one bartender, 12 hungry locals, one Belgian and a San Franciscan who’s pretending to know the words. That’s a capacity crowd at this oyster and raw bar named after a mythical sea beast.

Debate their aphrodisiac powers, but a dozen fatty oysters from Nova Scotia and PEI with a laser-focused mignonette sure put us in the mood for fun. Kraken Cru is the third Saint-Sauveur den from the gang behind Patente et Machin and L’affaire est ketchup, where most of the cooking happens on an old four-burner electric stove. Here, the half-dozen dishes scrawled on a chalkboard wall are largely raw preparations. It’s a seriously good restaurant run by profoundly unserious Québécois (assuming the vintage life jacket hung inside the bathroom is a joke?).

Chef Olivier Thibault-Allard drapes shallot-vinaigrette-marinated morels over seared slices of ruby-fleshed goat loin. He whips shrimp bisque into mayonnaise in a metal mixing bowl, drops in sweet Sept-Îles shrimp and loads the whole shebang into a toasted split-top hot-dog bun, finished with a wilted sprig of New Zealand spinach: an elevated guédille. Mackerel is packed in salt for three hours, sliced thin and topped with a four-punch combo of radishes, arugula, grainy mustard and freshly grated horseradish that doubles as the most delicious smelling-salt concoction in boxing history.

The bearded barman in a newsboy cap pours an organic grenache gris from the Languedoc that smells so delightful, I nearly slip off my bar stool. We break from feasting on morsels of lobster with caviar and dill oil to fist-pump the chorus of a Billy Joel anthem. Friends of the chef wander in with a gift: a lacquered piranha from the Venezuelan Amazon picked up at a garage sale. Nino Ferrer should write a song about that. We already know the words.

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190 rue Saint-Vallier O. 581-741-9099 Facebook

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