L’Affaire est Ketchup. The sentence is Québecois slang for “cool.” It is also the name of a a very popular restaurant in Québec City. Despite being so well-known, l’Affaire est Ketchup was a last minute additional to my Québec dining itinerary. I had read about it, but it seemed a little passé, over rated, past its prime, the like. I changed my mind on a whim on the day I left, after I saw it on Anthony Bourdain’s show while waiting for my flight. I decided then that I should at least try to make a reservation. I mean if its good enough for Anthony, its good enough for me. Very lucky for me, it was off-season and the restaurant had one 6:00 reservation for two people, but we had to be out by 7:45. Done.
We showed up promptly at 5:00 and, much like iX pour Bistro (my original favorite restaurant in Québec, read about it here), we were greeted, seated and told about the restaurant and the menu. Like iX, l’Affaire est Ketchup is a very small restaurant with only a few employees. The menu changes daily depending on the season and availability. Unlike iX, Ketchup specializes in traditional Québecois foods. For example, more than one of our orders was a take on the chef’s family’s recipe. Also unlike iX, this restaurant had a rather small wine list, but of high quality.
The menu was vaguely described on a chalkboard in French. Don’t worry, the waiter explains every dish in detail.
As is often the case, Dan and I found the starters much more appealing than the main courses. So we ordered three. Whoops! First up, Flanc de Sanglier, which basically translates to a flank of boar. This dish tasted like a thick piece of pork belly (makes sense) and it was really delicious! By far my favorite of our three appetizers. It was served over a few green beans and the portion was perfect for splitting with one other person.
Next appetizer, Os à la moelle de Beouf – bone marrow! One of my favorites! This portion was huge. Big bone. Lots of marrow. It was served with carrots, onions and peas, of which I was not a huge fan, but I was able to scrape most of them off (phew!). The marrow was particular good with the restaurant’s bread.
For the final appetizer, Dan ordered beef hearts. One of his favorites. I am not a huge fan, so I let him have this one to himself. He seemed to really enjoy them. I did take one small bite and, as usual, it tasted like beef.
For main courses, we ordered each ordered a traditional pork dish. Surprise, surprise! Mine – blanquette. Blanquette is a Québecois take on a classic French veal stew, served with pork instead of veal and quail eggs, onions and mushrooms. It is more of a meat dish than a stew. The dish was very good and very filling! I could not finish it all! I did, however, manage to eat all of the pork! Our waiter also explained that blanquette is a very traditional dish in Québec and that it has been made for generations.
Dan ordered the porc de la ferme Turlo, or pork from the local Turlo Farm, which is apparently quite the popular farm. We saw their products on our stop at Fromagerie des Grondines on our food tour (which you can read about here) and heard about the Turlo Farm again at another restaurant! This particular dish consisted of two cuts of pork served atop mashed potatoes and gravy. Like the blanquette, this dish was very well prepared and very filling.
For dessert, I ordered the carrot cake, which uses a recipe from the chef’s great-grandmother! This cake fabulous and incorporated clover, which was a very nice touch! Now I won’t be able to eat carrot cake without it! The icing, as you can see from the picture, was to die for. I would return just for the carrot cake.
Dan ordered the chocolate based dessert, which was basically a warm brownie with ice cream! This dish was decadent. And delicious.
Ah, Dan and I really enjoyed our dinner at l’Affaire est Ketchup and it ties with our dinner at ix pour Bistro for our favorite meal in Québec! If I had to compare the two, I would say that l’Affaire est Ketchup seems to specialize more in traditional food, whereas iX pour Bistro is a bit more progressive in their menu. In terms of location, l’Affaire est Ketchup wins, as its right in St. Roch, near plenty of bars for pre- or post-dinner drinks! But, ix pour Bistro wins the best wine list. I guess it is a toss up, and I do not think that you can go wrong with either – just make sure to make a reservation! Happy dining!
STEAL OUR DINNER
L’Affaire est Ketchup – 46 Rue Saint-Joseph E, Ville de Québec, QC G1K 3A6, Canada. T:+1 418-529-9020. No website. Open Tuesday – Sunday 6 – 10. Two seatings nightly at 6:00 and 8:00. You must call to make a reservation, and I recommend calling at least a week in advance (if not more) as seating is extremely limited.
If you cannot get it, L’Affaire est Ketchup has a sister restaurant down the street, Patente et Machin, that is apparently very good. We did not go there, so I cannot comment on the restaurant.