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Poutine, my cold weather craving

Is there any where in in DC or close by in MD (as in on the redline) that serves poutine? This weather is making me crave poutine.

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  1. Educate the rest of us...what exactly is poutine? (Besides sounding like a Russian President. :) )

    3 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      French Canadian comfort food-french fries topped with fresh cheese curds and hot brown gravy.

      1. re: Elyssa

        A quick Googling...
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine

        Fries w/ fresh cheese and gravy. Sounds tasty! And healthy too :)

        1. re: Hapa Dude

          Looks....interesting.

          Will gravy fries do? I'm pretty sure they have them at Brickskeller...cheese fries with gravy...mmmmmmm.

      2. Jimmy's Old Town Tavern in Herndon, while not in MD or DC, is certainly closer than Quebec. I have not had them, but they are on the menu.

        6 Replies
        1. re: lmnopeas

          Lmnopeas, what do you think of the food and the atmosphere at Jimmy's in general? I'm in DC but I'm considering driving out to Herndon just to have the poutine. I see they've got fish and chips on Friday nights so I might just turn it into one big grease-fest. Is there any thought put into the food or is it more of an afterthought? Thanks in advance.

          1. re: MaxDC

            Food is definitely not an afterthought at Jimmy's...easily my favorite non-chain place in NoVA for "bar food." The Friday fish fry would be a good time to visit. For a place with Buffalo roots I would hope for tastier wings though.

            1. re: MaxDC

              I've only been there a couple of times, but the food was much better than you would expect. I had some pretty good jambalaya and very nice pierogies. I believe it tends to get more crowded and smokier on weekend evenings, so if you hit it earlier in the day, you should be in good shape. It is a fun place.

              1. re: lmnopeas

                Great thanks! I think we're gonna try to get out there early Friday evening. I'll let you know how the poutine is.

            2. re: lmnopeas

              *tears of joy* Gosh, I hope it stays cool until the weekend!

              1. re: botnot

                Unfortunately it's supposed to be 95 and humid by Saturday, which is definitely NOT poutine weather...but still, I'm interested in going out to this joint just to check it out. Now if they only had some Maudite beer to go along! Bon santé!

            3. Just wanted to check back in and say we did make it out to Herndon the other week to try the poutine.

              Was it worth a drive from DC just for the poutine? No, but it was a cool place and we had some tasty food. I'm going to try to attach a couple pics I took with my cell phone, but the poutine is not made in the traditional Quebec way. The main difference is that they don't use cheese curds but rather just layer on American cheese and let it melt onto the fries. In this sense, it's basically a plate of cheese fries except that they have a bit of gravy on them. The gravy, by the way, was pretty tasty and very similar to what most places in Quebec will use on poutine. The fries were "Boardwalk fries," which if you've ever been to the beaches you'll be familiar with. They're pretty good but nothing to write home about.

              We were there on a Friday night which is their fish fry night. I ordered the fish, which came with yet more fries (though you can also get perogies instead). It was a very tasty white fish (haddock i believe) fried up perfectly. Add a couple Bass ales on top and it was a very fine evening of fried food, though I was popping the Tums on the way home.

               
               
              1 Reply
              1. re: MaxDC

                yeah, i'm from Canada and that really doesn't look like a poutine

              2. Thank you, botnot, for this post, thank you lmnopeas for the recommendation, and thanks to MaxDC for your follow up. I was looking out the window this morning, getting hungry for lunch, when I thought, "Today would be a great day for poutine. I wish I still lived in Montreal." So I did a quick search and found my way to this post. I had to register (you can see how inspired I was by the name I chose). Thanks for the info y'all (yes, originally a Southerner). I was about to drive out there for the poutine asap, but I may wait until winter.

                3 Replies
                1. re: poutine_girl

                  Ahh yes Montréal, how I miss thee. I spent a semester at McGill and minored in poutine. I think we need to convince a DC restaurant to offer the dish.

                  1. re: MaxDC

                    I'd settle for the Montreal smoked meats.

                  2. re: poutine_girl

                    Vive la Montreal. We went there earlier this summer and had the pleasure of dining at Pied du Cuchon. The poutine avec fois gras was unearthly. It would be hard to anyone around here to duplicate the same flavor and taste...but one can only hope!!

                  3. I found a few in MD:
                    - Boomers Family Restaurant at 525 S. Main St.Berlin, MD 21811 (410) 641-1210
                    - Matthew's Pizza 3131 Eastern Ave. Baltimore, MD (410) 276-8755, www.matthewspizza.com (this might not be the real deal but is very close to it)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ericm

                      I don't see it on the menu at Matthews, am I missing it? I see pizza fries.

                      As for Boomers, I wish they had a website with a menu. That's a long, long drive just to sample poutine.

                      1. re: MaxDC

                        It is the pizza fries; here's the article from the city paper:
                        http://www.citypaper.com/bob/story.as...

                        I haven't tried Boomers yet but I would if I happen to be anywhere near Ocean City.

                        1. re: ericm

                          Fair enough. Sounds like a tasty dish, but marinara sauce does not a poutine make.

                          1. re: MaxDC

                            In Kahnawake a Mohawk Reserve just a tad south of Montreal we make an Italian Poutine with cheese curd, and a michigan/italian sauce, now that is the bomb.

                    2. I thought I remembered somebody looking for poutine on this board. Victoria Gastropub, which just opened in Columbia, has what they claim to be poutine on the menu. I think the description was duck fat frites, gruyere cheese, and gravy - $8 IIRC

                      See my review of the place from a couple of days ago before you head out. Personally, I think their "bang for the buck" was far enough off the mark to rename the place a "Klepto-pub", but that's just one warthog's opinion.

                      In any case, I saw the item on the menu, recalled the thread, so I figured I'd post the poutine sighting and let you make up your own mind as to whether to try it or not.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Warthog

                        There is a burger place opening up on Penn. Ave on the Hill (next to the Cosi). The owners, I have heard, are from Montreal. If they don't have Poutine on the menu, I'm sure they know how to make it. I've only had at La Paryse (great burgers).

                        1. re: ChewFun

                          If you do find some places you like, please post them.

                          1. re: brendastarlet

                            In two years, I haven't seen it around here.

                            1. re: ChewFun

                              Poutine has been on the menu the last few times I've been to Churchkey. It's not bad, though can't compare to an authentic Montreal version. The fries are decent, but they use grated cheddar instead of cheese curds. Still, it's the only place I've seen in DC that makes one.

                              1. re: GoodFoodDC

                                I think I might bend time and space by putting this link here, but here goes...

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/564981

                                1. re: GoodFoodDC

                                  I had them once at Churchkey and was appalled by the appearance of cheddar instead of cheese curds - not poutine. Setting that issue aside, it was quite ordinary - not something I'd order again.

                              2. re: brendastarlet

                                There is a poutine truck that's in DC - has been for a few months now, it's called Eat Wonky. You can find them at eatwonky.com and if you follow them on Facebook they post their stops each day. Of course I leave my firm in DC right before the poutine truck starts making regular stops at Farragut... go figure!! I haven't tried it but I think a trek into the district for authentic poutine would be well worth the 2-3 hour lunch!!

                                1. re: chefkate

                                  I can recommend Eat Wonky's poutine. I have had real poutine in Dania, FL (big Quebecois tourist destination), and Eat Wonky is perfectly acceptable.

                                  They also make a nice grilled cheese sandwich with the same "squeaky cheese" (it really does squeak). I made the mistake of getting both the poutine and the sandwich at the same lunch. Delicious but that is too much cheese for one go-round!

                                  1. re: chefkate

                                    Yeah - I was excited when the Eat Wonky truck came on the scene last summer - and they do make good poutine. The essential ingredient that they get right is the cheese curds - they are fresh and squeaky. I was told they order them from a farm in upstate New York. The fries are thin and perfectly fine, and the gravy is decent as well.

                                    I've also tried their "Wonky Dog," which is an all-beef hotdog with poutine on top, and it's tasty but it's too much for me. It weighed me down the rest of the afternoon the day I had it for lunch. The grilled cheese is also good, but again combined with poutine it's just too much cheese.

                                    I do think their poutine is priced a tad high ($5.50) for what you get, and I think they should put it in a paper or styrofoam cup rather than the paper tray that they use now, for ease of transport.

                                    They are also offering whoopie pies from a local supplier, and I've tried a couple flavors (red velvet and nutella). They're OK, but being from Maine I know what a real whoopie pie is like and these aren't it. In Maine, whoopie pies are made of big fluffy chocolate cakes and filled with a very sweet creme that is something like vanilla cake frosting (but not exactly).

                                    I think the Wonky truck guys are still experimenting with their offerings, so hopefully they'll make a few minor improvements and be successful. The food truck arena is getting crowded and I've noticed Wonky's line for lunch is usually much shorter than other trucks. Part of that I think is the nature of what they're offering - it does not even present a veneer of being remotely healthy and subsequently I think most people can't justify eating fries, cheese and gravy with any frequency.

                                    I've always thought that a poutine shop would make sense in Adams Morgan - just a little take out window like the Pommes Frites shop on 2nd Ave in NYC, for all the drinkers spilling out of nearby bars.

                              3. re: Warthog

                                Since somebody has revived this thread, I'll say I love the poutine at Victoria Gastro Pub. Their version also has duck confit on top.

                                I have no idea if it's Montreal-authentic but it's really good. After having Victoria's version I also tried poutine on a trip to Austin and it was nowhere near as tasty.

                                Edit: Here's a picture of the poutine at Victoria:

                                http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tcD8N36OwG0...

                                -----
                                Victoria Gastro Pub
                                8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045

                              4. Churchkey on 14th has Poutine.

                                1. Victoria Gastropub in Columbia has unbelievable poutine. french fries cooked in duck fat served with duck gravy, melted guyere cheese and duck confit. toooooooo gooooood!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: dining with doc

                                    Thanks, Doc.

                                    I was surprised to find it at the downtown Vancouver Costco during the Olympics, but alas no chance of it at the Greenbelt version here.

                                    1. re: repete

                                      Although the "poutine" at Victoria Gastropub is yummy, it is in no way poutine, just good duck and gravy fries. The key to poutine is squeaky cheese curds( not melted until they hit the fries ) and simple gravy. I have not found anything close outside of Quebec but I will not stop looking!

                                      1. re: klhopp

                                        After I mentioned to one of my friends from Montreal how much I was missing poutine, she sent me a package with a packet of dried poutine gravy mix, a little bag of cheese curds, and a potato! It was pretty good, just not as good as it tastes in Montreal after a long night of barhopping in the middle of winter :)

                                        1. re: spoon99

                                          You can buy that gravy mix on eBay too.

                                  2. Eat Bar in Arlington had poutine in the fall and winter in a dish called Steak and Frites or Steak Poutine or something like that. But it was true to Montreal poutine of fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Also, the steak I had with it was pretty tasty for a $10 meal or whatever it is. But it is not on the menu currently.

                                    1. I don't know if anyone else noticed but when I look at the menu now for Jimmy's Old Time Tavern the Poutine says "A Canadian specialty featuring Jimmy's fresh cut fries smothered with brown gravy and fresh cheese curds"

                                      Given that this thread was getting close to three years old perhaps they changed from the American cheese reported in this thread to the fresh cheese curds. Never been there myself but being from the Buffalo area I need to make the trip out there soon. I will most likely be trying the Poutine now as well.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: billab914

                                        Jimmy is very proud of his Buffalo heritage. He's often there, too - so ask for him when you go. (oh, and if you ever want to cheer on the Bills or Sabres, show up early).

                                        1. re: Dennis S

                                          I really do need to get out there soon. The drive and the traffic are the only things that have prevented me so far. I live in Fairlington and work in MD so it isn't that easy to get to anytime after work. A Friday fish fry sounds great though, I'm always disappointed ordering Fish & Chips at places and hoping I get something close to a WNY fish fry. I tend to watch sports more at home so there is no driving involved or else I probably would have been there already.

                                          One of the next few weekends I'll make the trip though.

                                      2. It is so weird that you can't get any decent poutine in the DC metro area. I'm from Toronto and you can get it anywhere, Burger King, NY Fries. Maybe you need to buy fries from Five Guys, make your own gravy and buy fresh squeaky Wisconsin cheese curds.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: eggplantree

                                          I LOVE this idea -- Five Guys has amazing fries... doesn't St. Hubert or one of the Canadian chains sell their gravy as a mix too? Yum!! Also, I just saw the menu online for Jimmy's Tavern in Herndon and poutine is on there, and the description is spot on. They do take-out so I'm thinking I might give that a try for my poutine fix. I'll post how it is once I manage to peel myself away from the office and go get some!

                                          1. re: chefkate

                                            I believe Swiss Chalet does and I totally love their gravy. I found that St. Hubert's gravy is a little bit watery.

                                            1. re: chefkate

                                              If you scroll back up in this thread you'll see my review of Jimmy's from 3 or 4 years ago, and at that time their "poutine" was definitely not poutine as we know it. It was fries with melted cheese on top. Their menu now says they use cheese curds so perhaps they're serving a more traditional poutine now. I'd be interested to know, so let us know if you do go out there.

                                              1. re: MaxDC

                                                I didn't say anything direct to Jimmy but I think I mentioned he was getting attention on the board. He's very open to suggestion and critique, and I believe would change up things to better satisfy. I'm not a poutine eater, either, so I can't comment if anything has changed. But if you're in Herndon and wanting some, I strongly recommend dropping by. And if it's off in any way ask if Jimmy is there and talk with him. He's there often and again very open and easy to talk with.

                                            2. re: eggplantree

                                              I love that idea.

                                              I haven't tried it yet, but Churchkey had poutine on the menu, but now call it disco fries. I've heard of a few other places that do as well, at least there own iterations of poutine. I think Black Squirrel has it with bacon and Cava I think has a Greek version. I think there were a couple other places, but they are escaping me now.

                                              The Eat Wonky food truck serves poutine, and even throws it on a hot dog.

                                              -----
                                              The Black Squirrel
                                              2427 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                              1. re: eggplantree

                                                We used to have an A&W outpost near us out in Chantilly, and when I saw a sign in the window advertising Wisconsin cheese curds, I knew what had to be done -- I went in, ordered the curds (which came with a very light coating of batter, really thin), fries, and a side of gravy. Voila, homemade poutine.

                                                I'm pretty sure Harris-Teeter sells cheese curds, so anyone can do this at home.

                                              2. Also do any of you fellow poutine-lovers know if there's anywhere in DC/VA that serves or sells creton?? I'm shocked that nothing came up for creton when I just did a search through all of chowhound. Maybe it's too much of a local delicacy to come down across the border this far?

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: chefkate

                                                  And, if only we could get some Spruce beer too.

                                                  1. re: ChewFun

                                                    Yards out of Philly does a Spruce beer that's pretty easily attainable in the area.

                                                    It's part of their Ale's of the Revolution series and based on a recipe by Ben Franklin. It's called Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale. Most craft beer stores should be able to get it but I know Total Wine has it regularly in Alexandria.

                                                2. It's a hike from DC, but Mokomandy in Sterling sells poutine. Although, I have no idea why a Korean place that also does Cajun food would sell it. Reviews seem pretty positive.

                                                  http://www.mokomandy.com/menu/

                                                  1. I hear of a place in Baltimore that had great poutine and the place was owned by a Canadian. But i just can't remember the name of the place