Through good staff, and sometimes not so much, our restaurant critics talk about their experience, introduce the team in the dining room and kitchen, explaining what motivated the choice of restaurant. This week: a mysterious cocktail and oyster bar jjacques in Quebec.
Published at 11:00
Why talk about it?
The capital is not so “old”. This is evidenced by the beautiful restaurants, snacks, Isaacs and cocktail bars that have appeared in recent years. One of the most interesting establishments of the lot is undoubtedly the jjacques, an oyster cocktail bar, opened in 2019 in the Saint-Roche area, on the lively rue Saint-Joseph. Its feature? You must seek your entrance, out of sight, from the angels. As soon as the door opens, you enter another universe. We also crossed it to live and share experiences.
Who are they ?
The same gang of friends at the Asian restaurant Chez Tao! and the Mexican takeria Julio opened the jjacques. These night owls wanted to create a unique place in the city: an elegant and unusual oyster cocktail bar to greet customers who, like them, love nightlife, delicious liquids and delicious food. The place stands out for several reasons. Its location and design, first – a room without windows. Even if the entrance was hidden, the desire was not so much to create a “spikes”, – explains Noemi Ducharm, one of the co-owners. “The goal is for people to travel. In jjacques you are completely disconnected, you can be in New York, Montreal or New Delhi! »
If you arrive in front of Jacques on rue Saint-Joseph, you will be greeted by this civilized sentence, placed behind closed doors: “To find light, follow the saint to the city that opens the door to the kingdom of angels. Because yes, right behind the building, on an incredible alley-like street – Notre Dame de Ang – where you have to go to go through the rue de La Cité. Between the container and some graffiti are metal doors, like others; You have to ring the bell to visit Jacques.
Even inside the bar is hidden from view, hidden behind heavy velvet curtains. When the curtain is raised, you are happy to enter the narrow space, where on one side there is a bar with stools, and on the other – plum benches, like many small cocoons, where you can find shelter, separated from each other. cream-colored steam curtains. Behind us we find another nice little room with a few high tables and a second bar.
Seafood is the king here. The main attraction is the magnificent towers with seafood. They can have one, two or three floors, and then, depending on the height, decorated with oysters, processed mussels and shellfish, shellfish and salmon tartare, whole lobster, snow crab or combs.
But the intolerance of mollusks did not allow to taste all these delicacies from the sea, but a great alternative were shrimp from Argentina, which can not cope with a very tasty and well-seasoned cocktail sauce, and snow crab legs with lemon mayonnaise.
The rest of the menu is divided into plates. Vegetables (Brussels sprouts, fried celandine, etc.), fish (salmon gravlax, grilled mackerel), citrus burrata, lobster ravioli or T-bone for avid carnivores.
Most of the dishes on display during the evening fascinated us. Endive salad stole the show: the bitterness of the leaves goes well with the salty intensity of white anchovies, the fleshy side of pickled artichokes, a la ranch cheese, slightly spicy, and dill for a little freshness. A good composition, very successful, is presented in the form of sips, which everyone on our table recognized as “perfect”.
No less valuable was the grilled broccoli, a dish warmly recommended by our dynamic waitress. Presented on a creamy forehead, it was seasoned with candied lemon and seasoned with ducca, a Middle Eastern blend of spices, seeds and nuts.
The highlight of the evening was fried whole fish. The sea bass with the peeling white flesh was beautifully dressed with a very crispy skin, but was not overly greasy. A salad of fresh cucumbers and mangoes with cilantro and chili was the perfect addition to balance it all.
For dessert, the inspiration around the banana split was less convincing. The mixture – burnt bananas, peanuts and white chocolate, cabbage stuffed with homemade sorbet, whipped cream – was more prone to confusion than to the harmony of tastes. Profiteroles, too cold, were brittle to the bite. A rare fake note on a very good evening.
In our glass
One of the reasons to visit jjacques is its rare, flawless program. The cocktail menu, signed by Vincent Tuo and chef Frederic Puglio, is well worth a visit. Drinks are rejected according to the qualification: Audacity, Melancholy, Serenity or Ecstasy. We are impressed by the proposed techniques and amalgams, such as brandy, infused with butter and peach to vary old fashions. We liked the White Panther, inspired by the Gibson Martini martini, which includes Belle-Isle (fried with cumin and dill). Chic and very hearty cocktail with pickled pearl onions.
The wine list must also match. It is dominated by thirsty wines that go well with gourmet seafood, with a penchant for nature and biodynamics, as well as a great selection of bubbles and champagne. We tasted organic Cami de Flors coffee, very dry brut with a nice floral hue at the finish, and always great macerated wine Vater & Son from the German estate 2Naturkinder.
Good to know
The restaurant is open late, but it is not a place to drink. In its manifesto, the bar presents its guidelines: politeness, moderation, inclusion, etiquette. We advise you to “show yourself in the best light to bring yourself to the perfect state of mind” to appreciate the sophistication of the experience.
Depending on your mood, you can just come for a drink and a plate of oysters ($ 3 each, $ 30 for $ 12, $ 55 for $ 24) or do whatever it takes to get the full experience. The invoice will meet your wishes. The tower’s seafood ranges from $ 65 (one tier) to $ 195 (three tiers). Shared plates cost about $ 15 for snacks and $ 25-35 for larger meals.
jjacques is closed on Tuesdays. The rest of the week the doors are open from 17:30 to 3:00. The kitchen is open until 1 o’clock at night. Reservations are strongly recommended.
341 Notre-Dame-des-Anges Street, Quebec