I used to think Crave was for real estate agents and aging divorced people - and maybe it still is - but goddamn if it hasn’t become one of the best restaurants in Regina. Crazy, right? In the few times I was here years ago, the food was overpriced and underwhelming, but a flavour-forward, innovative menu courtesy of new chef John Thauberger has this downtown spot filling a void left by other shark-jumping downtown eateries.
To start, they’ve put some charcuterie on the menu! I don’t know why there isn’t a lot more of it in the city - probably because of the lack of French chefs - but it’s my absolute favourite way to start a meal of decadent small bites and wine. I don’t know how much of the meat is cured in-house, but for now I don’t care. The plate above features a beautifully creamy and rich chicken liver parfait, cured Coppa and Manchego cheese. A very cozy berry chutney and spicy mustard accompany, along with fresh bread, crackers, pickled onions and apricots.
Upon seeing the new menu, I was ecstatic to see some Duck Confit atop the list, which features a range of progressive French/Italian creations. The perfectly crispy, salty leg is served over panzanella, which is an Italian bread salad. The crunch of the croutons was nice texturally, and was offset by cherry tomatoes and marinated olives. Deeeelicious.
The mussels are served in a perfect chorizo cream broth, with lots of chunks of the spicy sausage and a piece of fry bread for dipping. The crispy, chewy pastry was truly a revelation, and I could have eaten a whole basket of it along with a pint of broth. The mussels obviously aren’t the freshest given our land-locked limitations, but are dressed as tastily as anyone could ever ask for.
To finish this particular meal we enjoyed the creme brulee, which is of course executed perfectly and an absolute treat. I fucking LOVE custard and would drink a glass of it every morning if that weren’t sure to kill me in a matter of months.
One last thing: I also went to Crave for lunch the other day and had their Bison burger, and holy shit is that thing good. Fried pancetta and a rich aioli, and served on the tastiest cheese bun around. And you can order mac n cheese on the side!