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July 2, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Pop-up restaurant Kraken Congee vies for reality TV dollars

Pop-up restaurant Kraken Congee has drawn plenty of Seattle fans over the past year with its sophisticated takes on traditional rice porridge.

On Tuesday, viewers can see the three chefs behind the “insanely popular” eatery cooking for a tougher audience. Kraken Congee stars on the first episode of CNBC’s “Restaurant Startup,” where contestants try to convince judges Joe Bastianich and Tim Love that their concept is worth a six-figure investment. In the case of Kraken’s Garrett Doherty, Irbille Donia and Shane Tyler, the goal is to put the money toward a brick-and-mortar version of the roaming monthly pop-up where they serve dishes from caramelized turnip salad to kimchi congee with baby octopus and candied squid threads.

A viewing party with the chefs and their friends and fans will begin at 8 p.m. at the Belltown Pub. The show will air at 10 p.m. By Kraken’s Facebook account, the Hollywood sojourn involved “highs and lows; fires and ice; fights and laughs; and, yes, also tears.” Tears and tension are the main themes of the show’s short preview clips, with lines like these from our heroes:

“I need a squid now!”

“You’re making me look like an idiot out there.”

“I feel I let them down. I let my family down.”

And, most heartening, the reply to that: “No, man. We a team.”

The notoriously harsh judges pronounce Kraken’s curried crab congee and pork belly adobo congee “awesome,” but comment that “On the one hand we have the food… On the other hand, you have these three guys.”

Whether they win or lose on the big screen, their pop-ups already have the taste of success. City diners can find the schedule and current menus online here.

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