Sometimes the lure of $3 beers is enough to propel not one but both Blakes out of the house together for an evening out. On the Facebook page of the Kraken Gastropub a post was put up Monday night alerting everyone that Tuesday night would be just such a night. Beers on tap like Weihenstephan Hefe Weiss, Bell’s Amber Ale, Allagash White, Railhouse Honey Wheat, Anchor Christmas Ale, Highland Gaelic Ale and tons more called us there.

It had only been open since this past Friday and had a really surprising amount of people in for a Tuesday night. Being that they are so new, there is no signage, so trust your gut and go in this door. It’s on the ground floor (from the back) of the building where the 5th Avenue Deli, the Cigar Box, and the Tai Chi place are, also known as the former Cock n’ Bull pub location at 2910 Rosewood Drive, next to the BP gas station. Just park round back and go into the door that says Welcome.

The interior smelled faintly of cigars from the shop above, but not in an overwhelming way. Painted a vivid crimson, and furnished with warm wood chairs, the white Christmas lights strung in lines across the ceiling create an enveloping underground cave to retreat and enjoy the food and drink.

I went with a Railroad Honey Wheat because I like wheat beers and also honey. Sometimes I really am just that simple. Patrick had a Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady Ale, and since our friend Joe Turkaly is the chef, we couldn’t not order food. You may have had Joe’s fine cuisine at Goatfeathers, the Indie Grits closing party, or somewhere else. He’s all over the place, leaving pans of gourmet food in his wake. Patrick ordered the She Crab Soup and I went all in with the poutine. (sorry the lighting is terrible in these pics!)

How was the soup? Well, he scarfed it up and said it was “Excellent.” Dining with him is a writer’s dream, let me tell you. The poutine was described on the menu as having a brown beef gravy so I checked with the server before I ordered to see if the gravy was smooth or chunky. Since it was a smooth gravy, and the poutine featured REAL CHEESE CURDS I forged ahead and decided to go for it. Yes, sometimes in the name of freaking delicious food I set aside some of my vegetarian ways and indulge in foods that have beef or chicken stock in them (but never pork or seafood stock).

The poutine consisted of shoestring sized fries, smothered in a smooth, rich brown gravy that was worthy of licking off of one’s fingers. Roughly torn chunks of cheese curds peeked out from between the fries and the gravy. I’ve read that real, good cheese curds “squeak” between your teeth, something that seems not so appealing to me. I squarely bit into a chunk of curd, testing to see if I could feel this squeak. There was no discernible sound or feel to my untrained senses (maybe The Shop Tart can comment on the intricacies of cheese curd squeaks?), but it was al dente to the bite, firmer and springier than a ball of mozzarella, would be my best description. The flavor was mild and fresh, again, much like mozzarella, but again, not quite, but still in a pleasant way. Just try the poutine, despite my horrible Instagram photo of it.

Sometimes at a restaurant I look at the menu and only see one thing I want to order, but here I saw several things that I want to try on subsequent visits. There are a handful of vegetarian options that aren’t just a crappy afterthought, something I always appreciate in a restaurant. And of course, being named after a sea creature, there are plenty of seafoody options, including calamari, lobster mac and cheese, the She crab soup, and probably a few more too. I was really intensely focused on that poutine, okay?!

The moral of this story is, take yourself and maybe some others to this new neighborhood establishment, run by some very nice folks, who should do very well with what they’ve got going over there in the Rosewood area, especially based on the response they’ve been said to have already.

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