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New Poutine Chain above Burrito Boys

mlukan Oct 24, 2008 02:12 PM

Opening next in November. http://smokespoutinerie.com/ Looks interesting enough. Anyone have any info on this place? Could we be getting real poutines in Hog town??? The rapid expansion of the chain shakes my confidence in the quality. All in all it sounds like I may need a new belt. OMG butter chicken poutine, thats just evil. The cottage poutine makes me want to vomit. Will this be what we've been waiting for or the ultimate poutine sacrilege?

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  1. duckdown RE: mlukan Oct 24, 2008 02:37 PM

    Awesome news, let's just hope they actually have fresh squeaky curds like they have in Montreal!

    When this place opens make sure someone posts about it, I want to try it :)

    Thanks for the heads up :)

    1. t
      tjr RE: mlukan Oct 24, 2008 03:53 PM

      Considering it appears to be a new chain, with no shops in Quebec, and one set to open in Ottawa, I doubt their ability to bring real, good poutine to Toronto.

      I'm not sure what to think; firstly, they state their gravy is a combination beef/chicken gravy, which is certainly not a traditional poutine. If they have fresh curds though, the gravy is not quite as important. Of the many menu options, some of them are classic, others are a bit strange, but hey, even poutine in Montréal has numerous variations.

      Poutine + hot dogs = pretty common though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: tjr
        mlukan RE: tjr Oct 24, 2008 07:15 PM

        I had no idea Poutine + Hotdogs was common. I guess I should shut my yap and try it.

        1. re: mlukan
          jayt90 RE: mlukan Oct 25, 2008 06:45 AM

          Steamies, usually Lester's.

          The point about quick expansion as a new franchiser is well taken. The menu shows good attention to detail, but that may be hard to deliver consistently, with several places starting at the same time.

          1. re: jayt90
            gregclow RE: jayt90 Oct 27, 2008 06:56 AM

            They're only opening one location to start. All of the other locations listed on the website seem to have disclaimers saying "if we can find a good spot" or some such thing. Hopefully, they'll be smart enough to get it right in one place before expanding too quickly.

      2. Davwud RE: mlukan Oct 24, 2008 07:14 PM

        Does anyone have an idea of what kind of hours they'll operate??

        DT

        3 Replies
        1. re: Davwud
          duckdown RE: Davwud Oct 24, 2008 07:49 PM

          Hopefully late hours, I hate travelling around rush hour

          Also, the chicken/beef gravy combination sounds kind of... weird.

          1. re: duckdown
            p
            Pincus RE: duckdown Oct 25, 2008 07:24 AM

            Isn't poutine most popular when the bars are closing? ;)

            1. re: duckdown
              Davwud RE: duckdown Oct 25, 2008 07:29 AM

              It would have to be a lunch destination for me. I live in Aurora.

              DT

          2. Googs RE: mlukan Oct 25, 2008 07:35 AM

            Doomed to failure within a year I'd say.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Googs
              Wahooty RE: Googs Oct 25, 2008 07:52 AM

              Consider your words marked. :)

              1. re: Wahooty
                j
                jtamin RE: Wahooty Oct 25, 2008 08:28 AM

                I'll try it! Makes a good side to my burrito :)

            2. c
              chunkeymonkey RE: mlukan Oct 25, 2008 08:50 AM

              I think it might have potential.The only thing I find weird about this new restaurant concept,is that they do not have a locations open,yet they are already looking for franchisees to expand into new locations.I would be reluctant to invest into this new franchise without first looking at the logistics behind this new restaurant concept. If the claim to make authentic Quebec stile poutine,yet they run their chain like Hero Burger or Spring Rolls ,then they are doomed to failure.

              7 Replies
              1. re: chunkeymonkey
                pancake RE: chunkeymonkey Oct 25, 2008 12:18 PM

                Very exciting, looks like it has great potential!

                1. re: pancake
                  Poorboy RE: pancake Oct 25, 2008 12:25 PM

                  Well,,, I am very excited about this place opening.
                  I really really hope they do an authentic Quebec poutine.
                  If they are hoping to capitalize on the club thing, they will be in tough, the dynamics of the area are changing and you will see more higher end establishments as the TIFF Centre starts operating. Many boutique and 4 Star hotels will be in the area.
                  I guess I will have fun trying some of the combinations of ingredients, but please, just get the Classic Poutine right.

                  1. re: Poorboy
                    j
                    jayseeca RE: Poorboy Oct 25, 2008 02:50 PM

                    I definitely want to try this place as well, but also find that they seem to be moving quite quickly for being a brand new place. I think the poutine truck idea sounds delicious as quick bite option if its not really expensive.

                    1. re: jayseeca
                      t
                      tjr RE: jayseeca Oct 26, 2008 12:02 AM

                      If anything, it's already inauthentic due to the gravy. It seems more like a Toronto poutine with "curds," and whether they are fresh curds or not will be the indicator as to whether this place will likely be successful. No fresh curds will definitely mean bad news in Ottawa, where great poutines are to be had consistently at a variety of locations. In Toronto, awful poutine is everywhere, but I doubt a restaurant serving bad poutine exclusively will make it very far.

                      I hope they can get it right, but I think I'm right to be skeptical, especially given the gravy description alone.

                      1. re: tjr
                        l
                        lister RE: tjr Oct 26, 2008 06:21 AM

                        Much like szw below, I don't care if it's authentic or not as long as it tastes good. I'm not sure why people have such a hangup about that sort of thing. That's come up in the varioous Montreal Smoked Meat threads particularly Caplansky's. What's wrong with potentially having a better Toronto poutine?

                        Anyways, I guess no one has visited the web site yet as it talks about using squeeky cheese curds from some farmer in Eastern Ontario.

                        I'm looking forward to trying the pulled pork poutine.

                        1. re: lister
                          Googs RE: lister Oct 26, 2008 06:34 AM

                          Eastern Townships of Quebec, Lister, which is a buzz phrase. Not Eastern Ontario.

                          1. re: Googs
                            t
                            tjr RE: Googs Oct 26, 2008 09:05 AM

                            lister, I'm skeptical because I'm not fond of the beef gravy most places in Toronto serve on their poutines; it's too heavy, gloppy, and pretty much always disgusting. Even with good curds (which I haven't had in Toronto), this gravy would likely ruin it for me. If they made an excellent poutine, I would be all for it (I love Bymark's lobster poutine, and the JK poutines used to be excellent, though I haven't been in a while). I also like some of the stranger versions at La Banquise, and love mine topped with foie gras as well.

                            There is a reason for people wanting "authentic" or "traditional" versions of (insert food item here). For something as simple as poutine, I find that beef gravy and shredded mozzarella is pretty bad, and I think the comparison to smoked meat is unfair. A poutine is simple, and easy to get wrong. The "Toronto poutine" is pretty awful, which is why people want someone to bring authentic poutine here. There wasn't really "Toronto Smoked Meat" before, and Caplansky's is a different product altogether, and very good for what it is.

                            And yes, I did visit the website, noting the same thing as Googs, and what willmercer has noted regarding the gravy.

              2. s
                szw RE: mlukan Oct 26, 2008 12:18 AM

                I'm excited to try it out. I don't care if its "quebec authentic" or not, as long as it tastes good.

                4 Replies
                1. re: szw
                  b
                  Bigtigger RE: szw Oct 26, 2008 04:09 AM

                  Could the "chicken/beef" gravy descriptor on the menu perhaps refer not to the weird combination others have mentioned but to the availability of chicken OR beef gravy ? that would make a lot more sense, no ? just a thought/hope !

                  1. re: Bigtigger
                    mainja RE: Bigtigger Oct 26, 2008 06:42 AM

                    Yeah, I gotta say, I just assumed it was your choice of chicken or beef gravy when I read it. It didn't occur to me that it might be a combo gravy until I read the things on here. But yeah, combo gravy seems doubtful to me.

                  2. re: szw
                    mlukan RE: szw Oct 26, 2008 08:17 AM

                    I agree with you wholeheartedly szw. Who's to say their chicken/beef combo wont be better than an authentic Quebec poutine. Anything is possible. As long as the flavour is there Im there.

                    1. re: mlukan
                      t
                      tjr RE: mlukan Oct 26, 2008 09:06 AM

                      It's possible, but the "beef gravy" usually served on most Toronto poutines isn't exactly my idea of delicious.

                  3. w
                    willmercer RE: mlukan Oct 26, 2008 07:41 AM

                    From their website:
                    Smoke has created a true Ontario Poutine Gravy, not unlike the traditional Quebec gravy, but with his being a little more bold and rich. The gravy is a dark, rich, aromatic sauce with beef and chicken stock as the main ingredients as well as numerous other elements in his secret recipe uncluding a little red wine.

                    I am waiting on the Nacho Grande Poutine...who cares about traditional...that just sounds dirty and after-the-bar-delicious. Regarding the butter chicken poutine, I agree...it sounds interesting, but i think they are just stealing the name. "Slow roasted chicken breast and Spicy curry sauce"? Doesn't sound like any butter chicken I know. Maybe they should do a joint venture with Ghandi...and then wrap the whole thing in a roti skin...

                    1. jayt90 RE: mlukan Oct 26, 2008 12:50 PM

                      Reading through the website, I have to wonder, "Who is Smoke? Is someone playing with inventing a mystique, or is the site just spin and hype?"
                      I'll look forward to trying the gravy, because there seems to be attention to detail there, and elsewhere: the curds, the potatoes, the double blanching. Poutine in Quebec, the Ottawa Valley, and elsewhere (I hesitate to to call this dish a 'Montreal' poutine as it was invented in the townships) has traditionally used chicken based gravy, sometimes based on a packet from Swiss Chalet or St Hubert. Nothing special.
                      Fries with gravy in Toronto from low end diners and chip trucks frequently use Nestle Trio powder, a spicy beef concoction. If you have poutine at Costco, you'll know the flavor. There is no stock used at all.
                      If Smoke can surpass either of these low end but popular poutine gravies with some real stock, and a "little red wine", and keep the curds squeaky, over fresh flavored spuds, then he deserves our business.

                      1. c
                        childofthestorm RE: mlukan Oct 27, 2008 09:10 AM

                        My two cents as a former Montrealer, I'm willing to give this place the benefit of the doubt. One of my fave spots in MTL used to be Patati Patata, and they used red wine in their chicken gravy (they've since changed the formula, and not for the better). And when it comes to the subject of many different kinds of poutine, that is precisely what one can get at Montreal institution La Banquise.

                        But if Smoke's can't get the basics right, all is lost. They seem to recognize the need for squeaky curds on their website, but I wonder if shipping them in from the Eastern Townships is going to hurt the chances of that. Old curds don't squeak. And if the gravy is too beefy, it'll be a New York Fries poutine...serviceable in a pinch, but not the real deal.

                        Still, I have fingers crossed on this one.

                        1. a
                          abigllama RE: mlukan Oct 28, 2008 09:11 PM

                          Wow excited about this. Fresh cut fries, eastern townships curds, mysterious gravy blend...yummy! This looks fast food poutine designed for drunken 20somethings that aren't in the mood for a burrito. As a fan of drunken 3am stumbles down St. Catherines to Dunn's or whatever else shows up I'm very happy about this. Also that Cottage poutine is good stuff, some places in MTL have it and they usually call it Swiss Poutine!

                          This reminds me of when Moe's Southwest Grill opened here and chowhounders were speculating that it could be the "authentic breakthrough" for Toronto. This looks going to be fast food counter service poutine, Might be tasty but probably won't be that amazing poutine you were served at a country farmhouse by someone's grandma in Quebec.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: abigllama
                            y
                            Yongeman RE: abigllama Oct 29, 2008 04:21 AM

                            It's not as if poutine has a long history to it in Quebec. In a Gazette article last year (http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette..., it's put at being contrived in the 1950's. The possibility of someone's grandmere serving it is reasonably slim unless she sent grandpere out to pick it up at La Banquise or La Belle Province.

                            1. re: Yongeman
                              a
                              abigllama RE: Yongeman Oct 29, 2008 12:20 PM

                              holy moly..forget it, carry on!

                              1. re: abigllama
                                y
                                Yongeman RE: abigllama Oct 29, 2008 04:42 PM

                                lol!!

                          2. duckdown RE: mlukan Oct 29, 2008 04:44 PM

                            Is there an opening date yet?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: duckdown
                              HarryLloyd RE: duckdown Oct 31, 2008 11:12 AM

                              nov22/08

                              ex benchwarming golden chicken QB, mr smolkin, was on BT this morn and that was the date he stated.

                              Chow!
                              HL.

                              1. re: HarryLloyd
                                Dr Butcher RE: HarryLloyd Oct 31, 2008 12:57 PM

                                Got this from the BT site:

                                Ryan Smolkin, Smoke's Poutinerie
                                For the Poutine Lover in You!
                                Smoke's Poutinerie's Grand Opening takes place Thursday November 20th at 218 Adelaide Street West
                                For more information call 416 599-2873 (CURD) or www.smokespoutinerie.com

                                1. re: Dr Butcher
                                  HarryLloyd RE: Dr Butcher Oct 31, 2008 01:09 PM

                                  my bad. i may have misheard. all i saw was poutine.


                                  Chow!
                                  HL.

                            2. duckdown RE: mlukan Oct 31, 2008 01:15 PM

                              November 20th seems so far away still

                              I want a poutine!

                              Any word on what the hours will be like?

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: duckdown
                                HarryLloyd RE: duckdown Oct 31, 2008 01:22 PM

                                he said al long as people want it.

                                Chow!
                                HL.

                                1. re: HarryLloyd
                                  duckdown RE: HarryLloyd Nov 1, 2008 11:21 AM

                                  Cool, hopefully that means somewhat late...

                                  Travelling in that area any time even close to rush hour is a nightmare

                                  Thanks for the info :)

                                  1. re: duckdown
                                    pancake RE: duckdown Nov 17, 2008 06:02 AM

                                    Any word on the Grand opening date?
                                    Is it still November 20?
                                    I went to the site and cold not find an exact date.....

                                    1. re: pancake
                                      v
                                      visualhornet RE: pancake Nov 17, 2008 03:05 PM

                                      I don't think they will be open for Thursday. I was inside talking to the owner, The Kitchen is complete but Front of House is not even close to being finished. Most likely the following week. If they do open this Thursday, thats impressive.

                                      1. re: visualhornet
                                        j
                                        jtamin RE: visualhornet Nov 18, 2008 05:04 AM

                                        Darn, I was hoping to try out this place this Thursday.

                              2. duckdown RE: mlukan Nov 20, 2008 06:13 AM

                                So today is supposedly their opening day -- anyone gonna be the guinea pig? :)

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: duckdown
                                  s
                                  slants RE: duckdown Nov 20, 2008 06:50 AM

                                  i work pretty much across the street ... we're heading over at 1130!

                                  1. re: slants
                                    domesticgodess RE: slants Nov 20, 2008 07:04 AM

                                    cant wait to read a report...hurry!!!

                                    1. re: slants
                                      l
                                      LovesToEat RE: slants Nov 20, 2008 07:14 AM

                                      Can't wait for your report back!

                                      1. re: LovesToEat
                                        s
                                        slants RE: LovesToEat Nov 20, 2008 08:31 AM

                                        line up was out the door and down the street ... got a pulled pork w bacon .... so good so far ... free pop shoppe soda w purchase today ... one of teh better putines ive had ... prolly second only apdc's foie poutine in mtl

                                        1. re: slants
                                          a
                                          acd123 RE: slants Nov 20, 2008 08:44 AM

                                          Yup, I don't think any poutine, ANYWHERE, could be APDC's poutine.

                                          1. re: acd123
                                            s
                                            Suresh RE: acd123 Nov 25, 2008 04:55 AM

                                            agreed

                                          2. re: slants
                                            grandgourmand RE: slants Nov 20, 2008 08:46 AM

                                            Comparing to Au PDC's poutine is not fair. Different category. What we should be hoping for is high quality "chip stand" poutine.

                                            As a side note, I had the poutine at La Banquise in Montreal the other night. Known in some circles to be "the best". I found it disapointing. A big skimpy on the curds. Just lacked wow factor. I prefer my Ottawa region poutine places.

                                            1. re: grandgourmand
                                              t
                                              tjr RE: grandgourmand Nov 20, 2008 09:37 AM

                                              La Banquise skimping on the curds? Strange! That's never happened to be before.

                                              I'll be going to this place on the weekend though to see how it is!

                                              1. re: tjr
                                                grandgourmand RE: tjr Nov 20, 2008 01:04 PM

                                                Typo, I meant "bit" skimpy. It wasn't bad, but I wasn't all that impressed considering the hype. I'm from Ottawa, and I've had better at small frite shacks. And when I say skimpy, I'm comparing to the places where you get curds at the bottom and the top so you're not missing any curds when you get to those fries near the bottom.

                                              2. re: grandgourmand
                                                pinstripeprincess RE: grandgourmand Nov 20, 2008 10:06 AM

                                                banquise seems to be considered a standard.. if that's the case i'm not a fan of montreal style poutine.

                                                though skimping on curds was not a complaint i had.

                                      2. r
                                        restyzz RE: mlukan Nov 20, 2008 08:55 AM

                                        AMAZING!!! I definitely recommend the pulled pork...you must try it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: restyzz
                                          domesticgodess RE: restyzz Nov 20, 2008 10:22 AM

                                          keep the reports coming....!!!

                                        2. Recyclor RE: mlukan Nov 20, 2008 10:59 AM

                                          Hey ya'll...just got back from lunch at Smokes Poutinerie, had the traditional ($5.95) & I gotta say it is all that I'd hoped, nice curds layered throughout, taste chicken gravy (like St.Hubert) and the fries are a good size, not so big it tastes all of potatoes...portions filled me up and sunk my co-worker...free Pop-Shoppe promo on til Sunday I think too...The wait was about 45 min, but most people were getting orders to go so we were able to sit comfortably with no problem, the line dwindled to normal by about 2:30 as we ate, the staff is very nice too, a well oiled machine all with smiles, they really have it together...can't wait til their truck is rolling around town...

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: Recyclor
                                            Herb RE: Recyclor Nov 20, 2008 12:26 PM

                                            When are they open? I didn't see anything on the site.

                                            1. re: Herb
                                              t
                                              tjr RE: Herb Nov 20, 2008 01:36 PM

                                              Looks like curdsade has given it a tentative thumbs up; squeeky curds, good fries, strange gravy...

                                              http://curdsade.wordpress.com/2008/11...

                                              1. re: Herb
                                                Davwud RE: Herb Nov 20, 2008 01:43 PM

                                                Yes, what are the hours??

                                                DT

                                                1. re: Davwud
                                                  c
                                                  cutehinano RE: Davwud Nov 20, 2008 03:28 PM

                                                  Did anyone try the butter chicken poutine?

                                                2. re: Herb
                                                  Recyclor RE: Herb Nov 21, 2008 05:27 AM

                                                  It was open at 11:30am and I saw a flyer that said til' 4am on weekends...but you might want to call and confirm that...

                                                3. re: Recyclor
                                                  l
                                                  lister RE: Recyclor Nov 20, 2008 04:16 PM

                                                  The girlfriend and I went during the evening rush. The line moved decently. I got the pulled pork and she the Montreal Smoked meat. We decided to eat elsewhere as the place was fairly full and hot inside. No free pop.

                                                  The curds were squeaky, a first for us. More of a novelty I guess in our opinion. I just want reasonably fresh, large size curds rather than shredded cheese. The pulled pork was nice, not terribly smokey and the sauce, which the pork was fully covered in (the way I like it), was okay too. The smoked meat was machine sliced. Okay as well.

                                                  We both had issues with the gravy. We both thought it was weak. We much prefer how hearty the beef gravy is at Caplansky's, not to mention the smokiness. I thought the gravy had a bit of a weird taste to it and a touch sweet. I love sweet but not sweet gravy. The chef girlfriend also thought it tasted weird and had a strange texture like they used corn starch in it for thickening.

                                                  That all being said, it is the second best poutine we've had in Toronto. (We haven't had JK's yet.) We both love Caplansky's poutine and rate it above Smoke's. We will return though since the place is, by foot, five minutes away and Caplansky's is 25 minutes away (a little chilly with winter setting in.) She is likely to try the chicken curry next and me the Italian or the smokey bacon.

                                                  1. re: lister
                                                    v
                                                    visualhornet RE: lister Nov 20, 2008 05:34 PM

                                                    If only you can mix Caplansky's fries & smoked meat with Smokes Gravy'n'Cheese you would have one kick ass smoked meat poutine. Gonna try the Butter Chicken tomorrow seems interesting.

                                                4. cynalan RE: mlukan Nov 20, 2008 07:55 PM

                                                  Happened to be in T.O. tonight for the symphony so thought why not give this place a try. Quite frankly, I do not get the fuss. I had the poutine and it was good, but nothing to rave about. For about $8.00 including tax, the poutine was served in a small box, quantity about the size of a New York Fries small order. The gravy had a bold rich flavour and the curds were quite good, but the firies... nothing special... limp and soggy. I'll probably get flamed for this comment, but give me NYF any day of the week. So... the poutine was good, not great but at the price they charge simply not worth it IMHO.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cynalan
                                                    BokChoi RE: cynalan Dec 7, 2008 12:52 PM

                                                    cynalan,
                                                    I would have to agree with you. I picked up the pulled pork version and was disappointed. I guess I had higher expectations. The gravy was just 'okay' for me, and didn't pack a lot of punch. At least it was not too salty I guess. The fries were as you described - limp and soggy. The topping was generous, but way too sweet for my tastes. Maybe if the gravy were more hearty and intense in flavour, it would hold up well against the pulled pork, but it was lost in this case IMO. I guess I was also a bit confused by the three different animals sitting atop my poutine. If they had a Greek version that I've read about with Feta, I'd have 4 or 5 animals on my poutine and be able to start a farm.

                                                    I would be able to overlook the muddled flavours created by this menu item if the poutine base itself were solid. The curds were nice, (not exceptionally squeeky, but good nonetheless and much better than average) and generous. However, the gravy was forgettable. The fries - disappointing and soggy. Overall, I don't think I would go back based on this one experience. Maybe if I were in the area, but definitely not out of my way. I'm sure it's just a preference for gravy flavours, but I've realized this poutine is just not for me.

                                                    Photo of Pulled Pork Poutine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
                                                    Photo2 with a bit of curds: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                                                    Also, the place was not too busy when I went with no one in line when I picked up my meal around 7PM.

                                                    Cheers and Happy Eating!

                                                  2. duckdown RE: mlukan Nov 20, 2008 08:24 PM

                                                    people on another website say the gravy is odd

                                                    did anyone happen to catch the closing time? that area is a zoo during most of the day for us non-downtowners

                                                    edit: someone else posted the hours:

                                                    "I heard them say that mon-thurs they are open to 11, fri/sat open til 4am."

                                                    guess that means i will stop by tomorrow

                                                    1. duckdown RE: mlukan Nov 21, 2008 09:15 AM

                                                      Anyone familiar with the area -- is there any parking nearby?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: duckdown
                                                        Recyclor RE: duckdown Nov 21, 2008 11:19 AM

                                                        There is a multi-tiered Green P lot right across the street...plus street parking out front at certain times...enjoy!

                                                        1. re: Recyclor
                                                          duckdown RE: Recyclor Nov 21, 2008 11:45 AM

                                                          Thanks bud!

                                                      2. t
                                                        tjr RE: mlukan Nov 21, 2008 01:30 PM

                                                        Went this afternoon with some friends; the poutine is actually pretty decent. The fries are definitely poutine style (not as good as I've had at Caplansky's, but still very good), the curds were squeaky (excellent), but the gravy, as others have noted, is kind of odd tasting. It's definitely not a classic poutine gravy, but it wasn't awful (though it was the weakest link). Not too watery, not too thick, and not the disgusting slop you get at some other places. It wasn't the best poutine I've ever had, but it was great for Toronto.

                                                        I'm a lightish eater; the traditional ($5.95) was enough to be an entire meal and then some for me; I was pretty full after having it, and probably should have taken a nap.

                                                        Friendsot some of the options (curry chicken, hog town, pulled pork); of these, the pulled pork was the clear stand out. The other two weren't very good at all. The pulled pork one kind of masked the gravy taste as well, which was good.

                                                        Good fries and squeaky curds, even with the gravy, is still better than most anywhere else though!

                                                        1. duckdown RE: mlukan Nov 21, 2008 11:40 PM

                                                          Sweet, I went by there tonight.

                                                          In a nutshell, I thought it was quite good.

                                                          I want to throw a crazy idea out there -- it's better when it cools down. I mean ALOT better, IMO.

                                                          I went in, and ordered a Pulled Pork poutine.. The girl there informed me they were sold out, and the owner guy "Smoke" or "Smolkin" came up to me and introduced himself... I told him I had heard alot of good stuff about the Pulled pork online, and he told me today the demand was unbelivable for it -- so much, that they wont even have any tomorrow, because his source needs time to smoke the pork. He says by Monday things should be ready to go again.

                                                          Anyways, so I just went for the 'traditional' instead.. They also threw in 2 free Pop Shoppe soda's for free,which was very cool. (I chose root beer & cream soda)

                                                          so I got back to the vehicle and put my sodas in the cup holder, and dug in right away. The fries were done in an interesting oil (peanut?) and the curds were excellent; plenty of squeak left, and I thought generously portioned... Like 3x what New York Fries would give

                                                          The gravy... Yes, I thought it was maybe a little strange.. I couldn't put my finger on it-- is it sage? marjoram? I guess i'm bad at picking out the exact flavor, but i'm pretty positive its a common herb that is the dominating taste.

                                                          But the thng is, I ate about 1/3rd of it, piping hot after ordering, and then got distracted on a phone call and also made a stop or two downtown to pick some things up -- and as a result, the poutine had gotten "cold" or "cooler"..

                                                          But at this point, I found it to be much better. The gravy thickened up not too much, but better than it was before. The fries soaked up alot of the excess, and the curds never melted away into nothing -- they stayed awesome the whole time. I thought after sitting for the few minutes it was much better, and genuinely enjoyed it

                                                          Will definitely be back

                                                          Oh, and pop shoppe soda: Nothing special IMO - Flat & boring -- would take Dad's or Stewart's instead for sure, but all I tried was root beer and cream soda...maybe the cherry/orange float/etc are better

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: duckdown
                                                            gregclow RE: duckdown Nov 22, 2008 09:39 AM

                                                            Haven't been to Smoke's yet, so I can't comment on the poutine, but I just wanted to agree with you about Pop Shoppe soda not being very good.

                                                            People like it for the nostalgia value, I suppose, but they forget that back in the day, it was super cheap stuff that people bought by the case for pennies a bottle.

                                                            Since the brand was revived a few years ago, the new owners have marketed them as "premium" sodas, but they pale in comparison to Stewart's, or Boylan's, or Hank's, or even Jones.

                                                          2. k
                                                            klf RE: mlukan Nov 22, 2008 07:04 AM

                                                            Went last night at around 5:30pm - there was a line, but it moved quite quickly. Fries and portion size were excellent, but as others have mentioned here, the traditional gravy had a very distinct taste (everyone at my table thought it had a lot of rosemary).

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: klf
                                                              f
                                                              futronic RE: klf Nov 22, 2008 04:14 PM

                                                              I was underwhelmed with the traditional I had today, particularly due to the seasoning (or lack thereof) of the fries. I mentioned it to the owner, Ryan, however, during a chat about how things were going. They needed salt when coming out of the fryer, and were otherwise bland. Didn't have as much of an issue with the gravy as everyone else, as I let it set up a little. I'll give it another try for the pulled pork poutine and see how it goes.

                                                              1. re: futronic
                                                                b
                                                                blee RE: futronic Nov 22, 2008 06:55 PM

                                                                what time did it open? went there today just after noon and it was closed.

                                                                1. re: blee
                                                                  s
                                                                  szw RE: blee Nov 22, 2008 07:46 PM

                                                                  How do you guys compare it to Costco's poutine? Its the only poutine I've ever had, just looking for a comparison.

                                                                  1. re: szw
                                                                    jayt90 RE: szw Nov 22, 2008 08:39 PM

                                                                    Costco's is cheaper, larger, but uses frozen coated fries, (I like them), powdered chicken gravy, and fresh curds, for about $4. The poutine is good, and portions are large enough to share, but might be better if they made gravy from their 'rotisserie' chicken drippings.

                                                                  2. re: blee
                                                                    f
                                                                    futronic RE: blee Nov 23, 2008 04:23 AM

                                                                    They opened at noon yesterday. Note they are closed Sundays.

                                                                    1. re: futronic
                                                                      m
                                                                      muito RE: futronic Nov 23, 2008 06:12 AM

                                                                      They were definitely NOT opened at noon yesterday. I was there with a few other die hards and we waited in the cold for some yummy poutine - ended up getting burrito boyz instead. Apparently there was a guy inside but didn't let us in, as we were waiting for our orders at BB, a few people kept running upstairs to check if they were opened. Grrrr...

                                                                      1. re: muito
                                                                        f
                                                                        futronic RE: muito Nov 23, 2008 07:13 AM

                                                                        Sorry, my mistake. That's what I get for not having coffee before posting.

                                                                        They opened at 5pm yesterday, and had a large sign outside the door stating that (which means when I arrived at 4:30, I needed to find something else to do for a half hour).

                                                                        1. re: muito
                                                                          mikeb RE: muito Nov 23, 2008 05:17 PM

                                                                          We were there a little later and ended up at Burrito Boyz too. It was the busiest I've seen that Burrito Boyz on a Saturday lunchtime

                                                                2. j
                                                                  jtamin RE: mlukan Nov 22, 2008 08:38 PM

                                                                  I tried the Traditional and the Prime Gr Beef. I'll go back for the Traditional whenever I have a poutine craving. I've never had cheese curds like this before, and I definitely like it. I went on Friday night around 7:30 pm and there was no line up at all. Poutine was served fast too.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jtamin
                                                                    pancake RE: jtamin Nov 24, 2008 10:10 PM

                                                                    Had the smoked bacon poutine tonight.
                                                                    I agree with an above post that the fries could have used salt. That being said, with the addition of salty smokey bacon I get why they withheld any extra seasoning. The portion was huge, and there was alot of bacon!! (too much maybe if thats possible, but I am not complaining)
                                                                    Next time I'd go for traditional and throw on my own salt.
                                                                    There will be a next time for sure. I found the gravy delicious, didn't overwhelm the fries and had a nice flavour to it. Reminded me of the gravy i'd serve with roasted chicken. It seemed more poultry based rather then beef based - which is maybe the problem some are having here?
                                                                    Overall it was a delicious filling meal.

                                                                    Has anyone tried the more adventurous flavours? I'm curious about the butter chicken? The veggie?

                                                                    1. re: pancake
                                                                      Davwud RE: pancake Nov 25, 2008 06:01 PM

                                                                      It is not possible.

                                                                      DT

                                                                  2. s
                                                                    sbug206 RE: mlukan Nov 25, 2008 04:56 AM

                                                                    http://www.torontolife.com/features/t...

                                                                    Anyone tried the lobster poutine?

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: sbug206
                                                                      y
                                                                      yoyodyne RE: sbug206 Nov 25, 2008 05:43 AM

                                                                      I had the curry chicken and the sauce was tasty (a nice combo of spicy and sweet) but a little overwhelming and it might've been difficult to finish an entire serving were i not in the company of a few friends. and the chicken wasn't cooked in the sauce and arrived dry and rubbery. might be worthwhile getting them to hold the chicken.

                                                                      we shared a variety of poutine. the bacon was the stand out. the montreal and the prime rib were okay as well. they were outta the pulled pork which according to this board is not to be missed. i'll definitely go back to give it a shot.

                                                                      1. re: sbug206
                                                                        s
                                                                        slants RE: sbug206 Nov 25, 2008 08:02 AM

                                                                        yes ... and its better than anything that you'll ever have @ smokes .. but its not really a poutine ... its like mc donald's fries that are bordering on crunchy covered in butter and lobster SO GOOD!

                                                                        1. re: sbug206
                                                                          t
                                                                          tjr RE: sbug206 Nov 25, 2008 05:18 PM

                                                                          Bymark's lobster poutine is really great. It's not poutine, but it's definitely my favourite variant in the city.

                                                                        2. a
                                                                          Asuran RE: Suresh Nov 25, 2008 09:35 AM

                                                                          Went with the wife today during lunch to give it a try. Lineup wasn't as bad as last week (atleast the line was inside the store) We ordered the traditional. I enjoyed it but my wife didn't like the taste of the gravy. I think its thyme(?) thats in the gravy that she didn't like. Will go back and try the other ones espically the pulled pork once since everyones been giving it positive reviews!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Asuran
                                                                            justpete RE: Asuran Nov 26, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                                            The gravy is gelatinous ooze.. I think it's gross!

                                                                            And the base of a good poutine is the gravy!

                                                                          2. r
                                                                            retsnome85 RE: mlukan Nov 27, 2008 08:56 PM

                                                                            hmmmmmmmmm ok so i tried it today and the girl at the counter recommended hogtown so i tried it...............................i didn;t like it =S

                                                                            why was it sweet the gravy was sweet i found it was odd very odd

                                                                            1. duckdown RE: mlukan Nov 28, 2008 12:27 AM

                                                                              9PM closing time is failing it for me

                                                                              Why not at least 11PM? 9PM is still close to rush hour, these days..anyone agree ;)

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: duckdown
                                                                                jayt90 RE: duckdown Nov 28, 2008 02:01 AM

                                                                                They have had a successful opening, and would be wise to expand their hours, staff, and locations slowly.

                                                                                There should be easy street parking there after rush hour ends at 6:30 or 7 PM.

                                                                                1. re: jayt90
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  msprnt RE: jayt90 Nov 28, 2008 08:58 AM

                                                                                  yeah, 9pm is a bit early .. i went after the raptors game on wednesday to check it out .. but it was closed ... so my friends and i went to burrito boyz instead ... in fact, while we were there, at least 5 others who wanted to go to smokes settled for burritos instead ....

                                                                                  however, when we got there at 9:30, the streets were pretty empty .. so i understand where they're coming from ...

                                                                                  1. re: msprnt
                                                                                    domesticgodess RE: msprnt Nov 28, 2008 03:55 PM

                                                                                    finally got there tonite...and to my goodfortune ..no lineups (friday at 6:30 p.m.).
                                                                                    I ordered the pulled pork.
                                                                                    All I can say..is thank heavens I dont live downtown coz I would be tempted to go back their again and again and again.
                                                                                    I loved it.
                                                                                    I loved the fries, the cheese, the pulled pork.
                                                                                    Yes..it was a bit sweet.
                                                                                    Yes..it could do with some salt? or pepper?...
                                                                                    But I gobbled it down and was smiling between forkfuls.

                                                                                    Ive been to la banquaise in montreal...and this could definetely compare.

                                                                              2. h
                                                                                helenhelen RE: mlukan Nov 29, 2008 08:10 PM

                                                                                the veg gravy is very disappointing. i posted a review here:

                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/576103

                                                                                1. mlukan RE: mlukan Dec 5, 2008 06:05 PM

                                                                                  Well I finally made it. First off let me say I have never been to Montreal and I'm originally from the west so you tell me how much I know about poutine.
                                                                                  Anyway Smoke's is excellent!!! I had the traditional- needed a little salt which they provided, great gravy and amazing curds. The fries were nice a crispy which was one of my worries as I don't like soggy anything. I believe the flavor in the gravy that some are not sure about is thyme which I personally love and use all the time(no pun intended) when cooking at home.
                                                                                  Also tried out the Hogtown which was full of flavor starting with the well seasoned sausage and onions, wow, sooooo good. The bacon was a little bland IMHO but I'm used to double smoked bacon from schefflers which is just in it's own class. The mushrooms were a nice touch.
                                                                                  Last but not least I tested out the pulled pork poutine which once again I was pleasantly surprised by. Nice bit of sweet BBQ sauce on the pp, maybe could have used a little extra curds, but none the less a fabulous dish which I thoroughly enjoyed.
                                                                                  Huge portions and great flavor, I'm looking forward to going back and trying different kinds, but it will be hard not to get one of these three. If only they were healthy..........sigh.

                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: mlukan
                                                                                    1sweetpea RE: mlukan Dec 5, 2008 07:11 PM

                                                                                    Is it me or am I missing something? I haven't been yet, mostly since I don't live in Toronto at the moment, but partly because poutine for me is food that goes hand in hand with serious late night partying. I eat healthily most of the time. If I'm eating poutine, I've probably had a few drinks (or worse) and it's late, late, late! Why isn't this place taking advantage of late night traffic? I say this as someone who's often in bed before 11 p.m. It sounds to me as if this place could open from 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., then again from 8:30 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. or later! Forget about the dinner hour(s). I don't know what the legalites of such a proposition are, but let me tell you, I'd brave the elements for a sloppy poutine fix at the height of a buzz-induced munchie attack. 'Nuff said.

                                                                                    1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                                      mlukan RE: 1sweetpea Dec 5, 2008 07:49 PM

                                                                                      They are actually open until 4am now on Friday's and Saturdays.

                                                                                      1. re: mlukan
                                                                                        duckdown RE: mlukan Dec 5, 2008 07:51 PM

                                                                                        Hmm, are you sure? They told me in an email a week ago that they close at 9PM

                                                                                        I agree , they definitely need better hours. Hell, 9PM is practically rush hour still these days

                                                                                        1. re: duckdown
                                                                                          mlukan RE: duckdown Dec 5, 2008 08:01 PM

                                                                                          I seen it on the sign last night and they were telling everyone as they took their order, trying to spread the word I guess.

                                                                                          1. re: mlukan
                                                                                            duckdown RE: mlukan Dec 5, 2008 09:12 PM

                                                                                            Nice, thanks mlukan

                                                                                            That is *much* better

                                                                                            1. re: mlukan
                                                                                              pancake RE: mlukan Dec 5, 2008 09:12 PM

                                                                                              Apparently last weekend there were alot of drunk patrons disappointed at their closed doors. Burrito boyz benefited huge from it.

                                                                                              Hopefully they will realize that business is at its prime when the clubs close down and the streets are packed. I'd skip out on street meat, burritos and pizza for some poutine!!!!

                                                                                              1. re: pancake
                                                                                                OnDaGo RE: pancake Dec 5, 2008 10:27 PM

                                                                                                They are no longer above burrito boyz ... as boritto boyz on John is no longer burrito boyz ... as the partners split and it is now not what it was but is still the same.. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: OnDaGo
                                                                                                  dannyboy RE: OnDaGo Dec 6, 2008 05:33 AM

                                                                                                  yeah they are actually, they're on adelaide not john and the adelaide locale still IS a burrito boyz

                                                                                                  1. re: dannyboy
                                                                                                    OnDaGo RE: dannyboy Dec 6, 2008 02:51 PM

                                                                                                    Sorry, I thought they opened on Peter.. my mistake..

                                                                                                  2. re: OnDaGo
                                                                                                    duckdown RE: OnDaGo Dec 6, 2008 06:59 AM

                                                                                                    smoke's is on adelaide not john, and its still a burrito boys :)

                                                                                              2. re: Googs
                                                                                                y
                                                                                                Yongeman RE: Googs Dec 6, 2008 06:00 PM

                                                                                                lol

                                                                                        2. s
                                                                                          sweatersister RE: mlukan Dec 7, 2008 06:26 AM

                                                                                          I can't help but think we are all devoting a lot of attention to the intricacies of fries, cheese and gravy.
                                                                                          I understand it is the holy trinity of Canadian fast food, but we are forgetting that the real poutine came from Warwick, PQ and it didn't have any gravy on it.

                                                                                          So, beef vs. chicken vs poutine sauce is an interesting debate on personal preferences, however, it isn't integral to the original.

                                                                                          I have my own preference - it needs to taste good.

                                                                                          Yeah, and I do agree, if you're opening a poutine stand, cheese curds are necessary... unless there's another dope and delicious cheese to use.

                                                                                          I could care less for "fancy" poutines, they just guild the lily. They are too pretentious and I would feel embarrassed to order it. Fancy restaurants hide behind high end ingredients instead of delivering good honest food.

                                                                                          Lobster poutine, give me a break. I laughed when I read that on the menu. Seriously, you want to do some Canadiana inspired food, why not start with not reinventing the wheel and make traditional foods awesome. By the threads in this forum, it's clear, no one's mastered poutine in the city so....

                                                                                          Let's just start with mastering the basics shall we?

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: sweatersister
                                                                                            t
                                                                                            tjr RE: sweatersister Dec 7, 2008 07:57 AM

                                                                                            So you say that it just needs to taste good, yet you rag on "fancy" poutines? The lobster "poutine" at Bymark is not actually a poutine. It's tongue-in-cheek (and evidently worked, because you laughed when you saw it), and delicious. Do I care that they call it a poutine in quotation marks? No. Do I get upset because they are using "high end ingredients?" No, because high end ingredients tend to be delicious. Is a grilled cheese sandwich using great bread and great cheese an abomination as well?

                                                                                            We have places serving good fries (Caplansky's, Smoke's), one place using squeaky curds (Smoke's), but no one has a traditional gravy that is any good. Maybe it will come about eventually, and that's fine. Why, though, should restaurants not in the business of serving a basic poutine or home style food be forced to "master the basics"? There'd be as many complaints about serving poutine in a restaurant with decor, ambience and pricing not conducive to poutine as there are about restaurants bastardizing poutine.

                                                                                            1. re: sweatersister
                                                                                              grandgourmand RE: sweatersister Dec 10, 2008 10:02 AM

                                                                                              I agree with your point on mastering the basics. However, gravy is integral to poutine. You can't dismiss it. Yes, the alleged original (there are other areas that make the claim to have made the first) did not include gravy. But the addition of gravy made it into the dish as it is meant to be. And gravy on poutine is a staple anyhwhere good poutine is available (sadly, not in TO, though I haven't tried Smokes yet).

                                                                                              I have an issue with all the non-core items on poutine be it smoked meat, pulled pork or won tons, for that matter. That's a personal view, but if it tastes good, what the hell?

                                                                                              1. re: sweatersister
                                                                                                e
                                                                                                escoffier RE: sweatersister Dec 13, 2008 12:39 PM

                                                                                                I disagree. The beauty of the dish is that one can take a base of french fries and then have some fun with them in terms of saucing, cheeses and toppings.

                                                                                                And why shouldn't they? Is there some kind of AOC for poutine? Lobster poutine for instance is taking a rather blue collar plate and having a bit of fun with it. Half the fun of cooking is experimenting and taking chances. You never know what you'll wind up with, and sometimes it's very, very tasty. The smoked meat poutine at Caplansky's is sublime, and it's unique to the place, just as the lobster poutine is unique to the Bymark. The idea that you can go in and take a leap and try different kinds of poutine outside the realm of 'standard' poutine sounds like fun. I know they do it at The Cloak & Dagger and it certainly works well.

                                                                                              2. l
                                                                                                lissar RE: mlukan Dec 12, 2008 04:46 PM

                                                                                                I went yesterday with some friends. I got bacon, a couple of guys got the pulled pork, one with smoked meat, and one chicken curry. Mine was good, but could have used more bacon. I quite like the gravy, but it is heavy on the thyme. The pulled pork (we were trading bites) was excellent, and makes me glad that there isn't a Smoke's near my place. I would go broke and weigh 500lbs. My favourite, though, was the chicken curry. The sauce was slightly sweet, nicely spicy, and delicious with the fries, cheese, and chicken.

                                                                                                Mmmmm.

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: lissar
                                                                                                  Wahooty RE: lissar Dec 12, 2008 05:33 PM

                                                                                                  I went earlier this week - put me in the love the gravy column. It tastes more like a gravy I would make at home after roasting something than the canned brown goo you get at the chip trucks. I had the traditional, and my only problem with it was that my curds were really not squeaky. After the comments on here, I had been looking forward to the squeak, but it was almost nonexistent. Tasty cheese, but disappointing all the same.

                                                                                                  1. re: Wahooty
                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                    CoffeeAddict416 RE: Wahooty Dec 12, 2008 10:18 PM

                                                                                                    not really a solution to the squeky cheese but i had to bring some leftovers home and i reheated it in the toaster oven on the toast setting. I had nice crispy fries again and slightly browned cheese curds that squeeked like nobody's business.

                                                                                                    Traditional? No. Tasty? YES!

                                                                                                    1. re: CoffeeAddict416
                                                                                                      Davwud RE: CoffeeAddict416 Dec 16, 2008 04:16 AM

                                                                                                      Isn't the second one really all that matters??

                                                                                                      DT

                                                                                                      1. re: Davwud
                                                                                                        a
                                                                                                        abigllama RE: Davwud Dec 16, 2008 03:10 PM

                                                                                                        NO! Poutine served from a fast food counter in Toronto at 4AM must be traditional or it's worthless!!! :)

                                                                                                        CoffeeAddict that crispy fries and browned cheese curds thing has me salivating! I havn't been yet but left overs are in order now!

                                                                                                        1. re: abigllama
                                                                                                          Davwud RE: abigllama Dec 16, 2008 04:16 PM

                                                                                                          Nah, as long as it's greasy enough. No matter what it is, it's perfect.

                                                                                                          DT

                                                                                                2. d
                                                                                                  dgilks RE: mlukan Dec 17, 2008 05:09 AM

                                                                                                  Had lunch here yesterday. The place was packed. Based on recs here I had the Pulled Pork Poutine; It was good but not out of this world. I liked the fries, nice taste, not too greasy. Cheese curds were good with nice squeakiness. I thought the pulled pork was great too.

                                                                                                  Now the gravy, I'm not convinced about it. I thought it tasted good, but it is what I would serve over roast beef or something of that ilk. The thyme (as much as I like the herb) was the predominant flavour and it didn't seem to fit.

                                                                                                  On the whole, a good feed, I like what they are trying to do and I'm definately up for trying some of their other takes on this Canadian classic.

                                                                                                  1. b
                                                                                                    bcg97 RE: mlukan Dec 17, 2008 12:21 PM

                                                                                                    Just saw this article in today's Toronto Star, but thought it might be worth some discussion. It's an article on "where to get Toronto's best poutine".

                                                                                                    http://www.thestar.com/article/554905

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: bcg97
                                                                                                      domesticgodess RE: bcg97 Mar 13, 2009 03:52 PM

                                                                                                      went there last nite and tried their "special"...shaved roast beef, with black peppercorn gravy. It was heaven. I would have prefered the roast beef to be a bit hotter, but needless to say, the poutine was devoured regardless of the temperature difference between the fries and the beef. The gravy had whole peppercorns, and it had just the right amount of spice. I AM SO GLAD I DONT LIVE DOWNTOWN...lol

                                                                                                    2. cynalan RE: mlukan Mar 14, 2009 04:08 PM

                                                                                                      Having tried Smoke's and not being impressed shortly after it opened, my SO and I decided to give it another shot. I'm afraid my opinion has not changed. I really don't get the fuss over this restaurant. The fries were average at best... the closest comparison would be very similar to Swiss Chalet. Although flavour was not bad, they were somewhat soggy. Curds were good but the gravy tastes like a rosemary-infused St. Hubert's sauce.

                                                                                                      Heard a few good things about the poutine at Caplanskys, so maybe will give that a shot but for now, Smoke's is off the to do list.

                                                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: cynalan
                                                                                                        jayt90 RE: cynalan Mar 14, 2009 04:24 PM

                                                                                                        Crispy fries can be made with Kennebec, an oval potato which is ideal as it has a thin skin, and good flavor..
                                                                                                        There may not be a good long term supply of them, so Yukon Gold and Russets are generally used, but they are not as crisp. Smoke's website says Yukon Gold is used.

                                                                                                        1. re: cynalan
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                                                                                                          abigllama RE: cynalan May 24, 2009 09:34 PM

                                                                                                          I finally made it out with my SO and we decided to split a regular poutine. Best thing going for this was the cheese curds, they had the squeek. The fries were ok, but the gravy was horrible. It was luke warm, gloppy and gelatenous at the same time. Taste was very odd. We ate about half of this, picked out the cheese, the gravy was not even warm enough to melt any of the curds, and tossed the rest. I don't think I've ever walked away from a poutine before, this was really that bad.

                                                                                                          I've enjoyed great poutines in Quebec, and honestly don't mind when a place pours hot canned beef gravy over shredded cheese. Put it in front of me and I'll eat it! But this was really bad, I'd rather have the poutine at Burger King than go near Smokie's again.

                                                                                                          1. re: abigllama
                                                                                                            y
                                                                                                            Yongeman RE: abigllama May 25, 2009 12:00 AM

                                                                                                            Wow, has that place ever gone downhill. The main complaints were usually with the gravy, but at least it was hot. Too bad.

                                                                                                            1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                              magic RE: Yongeman May 25, 2009 06:30 AM

                                                                                                              I’m no poutine expert by any stretch. In fact I’ve never really been a fan of poutine at all. I much prefer nicely done french fries with ketchup, or just on their own. With this in mind I’ll report that I tried Smokes the other day and I can honestly say it’s the only poutine that I’ve ever loved. I thought it was really delicious. Again, I’m not really into poutine, but this was the only time I’ve wanted a second taste. Not sure what people don’t like about it. I think if it can turn someone wholly indifferent to poutine around a little bit they must be doing something right! I had a few mouthfuls of my friend’s traditional poutine, with extra curds. The place was packed btw, mid-Saturday afternoon. Liked the vibe too.

                                                                                                              1. re: magic
                                                                                                                t
                                                                                                                tjr RE: magic May 25, 2009 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                The last four or five times I've been, the curds didn't squeak and the gravy was disgusting. The fries are fine. Maybe I need to go during the afternoon?

                                                                                                                1. re: tjr
                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                  magic RE: tjr May 25, 2009 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                  Yeah, I’m not sure if the curds squeaked or not… again, not an aficionado. They probably didn’t, but they had a nice enough texture for me and looked real pretty. All I know is, what was in my mouth tasted great, and for me all the poutines I’ve had previous have been….meh. Just not a fan I guess. Much rather have good fries on their own. The gravy was definitely not disgusting. Hey, at least that’s what I thought. Not sure when the optimal time to go would be, wish I could help you there. But when I went they were busy and I loved what I tried!

                                                                                                                  1. re: magic
                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                    childofthestorm RE: magic May 25, 2009 07:20 PM

                                                                                                                    The gravy was disgusting the last four or five times you went? Kind of begs the question why you keep going back.

                                                                                                                    1. re: childofthestorm
                                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                                      tjr RE: childofthestorm May 25, 2009 08:06 PM

                                                                                                                      My friends never listen to me?

                                                                                                                      1. re: tjr
                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                        childofthestorm RE: tjr May 25, 2009 08:07 PM

                                                                                                                        I have friends like that too.

                                                                                                            2. re: abigllama
                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                              basileater RE: abigllama May 25, 2009 07:47 AM

                                                                                                              I had a nearly identical experience to abigllama, only with soggy fries to go with the cold gravy. I also picked out a few bits of cheese and trashed the rest.

                                                                                                              Had I not already made the 3 minute walk back to my office I would have sent it back. It was that bad.

                                                                                                              1. re: basileater
                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                Michael N RE: basileater May 25, 2009 08:16 AM

                                                                                                                The poutine I had there a few days ago was so hot that by the middle the cheese curds had essentially liquefied completely. So... definitely hot enough, if not TOO hot (I'd rather that the cheese curds get melty, but retain some structural integrity).

                                                                                                                I was also happy to note that they have a smaller size now, as the regular size is fairly enormous.

                                                                                                                1. re: basileater
                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                  sway RE: basileater May 25, 2009 01:16 PM

                                                                                                                  Was very unimpressed with my soggy fries today. I had the double pork (pulled pork and bacon). Cheese curds were fine, though scant. Gravy was definitely not good, a bit bland and goopy. The pulled pork and bacon wasn't bad, but I think you kind of have to get the fries, cheese and gravy part perfect if that's all you're going to serve...

                                                                                                                  1. re: sway
                                                                                                                    flying101 RE: sway May 25, 2009 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                    Bland gravy?

                                                                                                                    in the two times I have been there, I wish that my gravy was MORE bland, it was always over spiced and filled with to much herbs that over power salty bacon (the one time I had it) and creamy cheese curds.

                                                                                                                    Goopy - yes, bland - i wish.

                                                                                                                    1. re: flying101
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                                                                                                                      sway RE: flying101 May 27, 2009 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                      Gravy was most definitely bland, but mine came with peppercorn gravy. My companion said his traditional came with a different kind of gravy. It almost tasted like KFC gravy with peppercorns. Definitely lacking in essential gravy flavour.

                                                                                                                  2. re: basileater
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                                                                                                                    abigllama RE: basileater May 26, 2009 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                    We talked about sending it back too but having to catch a movie at Scotia in 10 minutes prevented this. It wasn't only that the gravy tasted weird, but the fact that it was barely warm was lazy on their part. There was no one else in there and we'd waited about 10 minutes for them to pull together a cold poutine. I'm really not picky about stuff like this, but was super disappointed.

                                                                                                                    Poutine for me is sort of like pizza. I really enjoy great pizza like I've had in NYC, but if you toss some Pizza Pizza in front of me, it's not my first choice but I'll eat it. More than half of this poutine ended up in the garbage because it was nasty. A place the specializes in poutine shouldn't be this far off.

                                                                                                                    1. re: abigllama
                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                      Bigtigger RE: abigllama May 26, 2009 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                      Had my first experience there today lunchtime - a friend carried out to my waiting car and we ate around the corner. Overall, adequate - didn't blow me away but was far from disgusting. Gummy gravy and hot fries had melted the cheese which I didn't mind. Chicken was ok - thought there could have been more, though the fries' quantity was more than sufficient. Didn't taste the overly-herbed flavour of gravy to which many posters have alluded - it seemed fine taste-wise. Given that unless one works in the core or is clubbing it is incoveniently located with little available parking nearby nothing would bring me back in a hurry, but I was happy to have sampled its offerings on this one occasion.

                                                                                                              2. m
                                                                                                                mikefly RE: mlukan May 26, 2009 07:52 PM

                                                                                                                I would just like to reiterate that the poutine in this place had one thing going for it -- it was a big serving.

                                                                                                                However, I prefer food that tastes good.

                                                                                                                Stampede had a great poutine.
                                                                                                                Craft burger had ok-ish poutine. (on the meh side though)

                                                                                                                Street vendors have better freakin poutine than smoke's -- and it's a poutine restaurant!?

                                                                                                                Apparently a place called poutini is opening up June 5 on Queen West. It seems to be my new mission to find delicious poutine in Toronto. (I will try Caplansky's eventually)

                                                                                                                Once again, (while I do feel kinda bad for the owner) don't eat this crappy poutine.

                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: mikefly
                                                                                                                  duckdown RE: mikefly May 27, 2009 02:14 AM

                                                                                                                  well when smoke's first opened, it had squeaky curds, and a generous portion of them. after going back a few times, you'd have to start ordering 'extra curds' for $2 more and it still didn't seem on-point with how a quebec poutine is... all that being said, i haven't found anything much better so far in TO... sad isnt it

                                                                                                                  1. re: duckdown
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                                                                                                                    magic RE: duckdown May 27, 2009 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                    Again, as I said before I'm no poutine expert. But what's all this squeaky curds business??

                                                                                                                    To me, it seems like a very odd X-factor in gauging quality. I would think the attractant would be the deep, rich, savoury comfort associations poutine doles out to those eating it. Not something that goes squeak in your mouth.

                                                                                                                    I don’t know, is it just me? Seems somewhat unusual.

                                                                                                                    Educate me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: magic
                                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                                      tjr RE: magic May 27, 2009 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                      It's part of the textural elements that makes poutine so appealing; if the whole thing is one big gloppy, soggy mess, it's boring. Fresh curds also exhibit squeaking, and there's a slight difference in flavour.

                                                                                                                      It's PART of the poutine experience, but so are the fries and gravy. If the fries and gravy are great, but they use melted cheddar cheese, it's not really a poutine the way I imagine eating a poutine; same goes for curds that don't squeak, imo.

                                                                                                                      1. re: tjr
                                                                                                                        Davwud RE: tjr May 27, 2009 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                        I prefer mine curds melted. I had it that way almost by mistake and loved it even more.

                                                                                                                        DT

                                                                                                                      2. re: magic
                                                                                                                        GoodGravy RE: magic May 27, 2009 11:50 AM

                                                                                                                        I don't understand the squeaky curd business either. I tried Smoke's poutine and while it wasn't a gloppy mess, the fries could've been crispier and I guess the curds could've been fresher (they didn't squeak). All-in-all, it tasted fine, so I'll probably eat there again if I'm in the area and craving poutine. For reference, my fave poutine so far is Caplanskys because it has smoked meat in the gravy.

                                                                                                                        1. re: GoodGravy
                                                                                                                          Googs RE: GoodGravy May 29, 2009 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                          Squeaky curds = fresh curds. That's the dif.

                                                                                                                      3. re: duckdown
                                                                                                                        jayt90 RE: duckdown Jun 5, 2009 09:11 AM

                                                                                                                        I'd like your opinion on Montreal Steame's, in Oshawa,
                                                                                                                        Duck.

                                                                                                                        Eat in, as the take out packaging will cause sogginess.

                                                                                                                        1. re: jayt90
                                                                                                                          duckdown RE: jayt90 Jun 5, 2009 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                          This is a place I've been meaning to re-visit for a long time... apparently I've been there once, a long time ago, I have a friend from Oshawa who reminded me that we went there once... but I don't recall alot about it

                                                                                                                          It's definitely near the top of my list for places I want to to try again

                                                                                                                          It was good, you say?

                                                                                                                          1. re: duckdown
                                                                                                                            jayt90 RE: duckdown Jun 5, 2009 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                            Yep, good stuff. I was surprised how fast I devoured the two small Lester hot dogs with cabbage and mustard.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jayt90
                                                                                                                              duckdown RE: jayt90 Jun 5, 2009 05:43 PM

                                                                                                                              thats always the way...same thing happens when i have steamies in montreal :)

                                                                                                                              will check it out hopefully soon

                                                                                                                              cheers

                                                                                                                              1. re: duckdown
                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                mikefly RE: duckdown Jun 6, 2009 03:29 PM

                                                                                                                                I again recommend Stampede's poutine - even though their gravy was vegan.

                                                                                                                                Squishy curds have been explained below.. (fresh vs. not fresh)

                                                                                                                                and.. go anywhere in rural quebec, to any poutine stand, and get exceptional poutine.

                                                                                                                                and.. (to a post below) if the food was good, it would be unfair to judge the owner on his ad background... but it's NOT good.. so totally fair to judge him for having no freakin' experience making food.

                                                                                                                                FYI - poutini is now open ---- has anyone been?!

                                                                                                                                1. re: mikefly
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                                                                                                                                  abigllama RE: mikefly Jun 6, 2009 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                  Poutini's opening has been delayed a week.

                                                                                                                    2. t
                                                                                                                      terrycar RE: mlukan Jun 5, 2009 08:49 AM

                                                                                                                      Went there for lunch yesterday-absolute crap-soggy fries that tasted like the cooking oil hadn't been changed in a week-and this place is still in demand?

                                                                                                                      1. jayt90 RE: mlukan Jun 5, 2009 09:03 AM

                                                                                                                        The heat of fresh fries will melt the curds, and the squeak will disappear. Then the gravy will sink through the curds and potato, and there will be a gloopy mess, at the best of times. Some of our posters are asking for pristine, lasting excellence when that is not really what poutine is about.

                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: jayt90
                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                          jamesm RE: jayt90 Jun 5, 2009 09:13 AM

                                                                                                                          I think you're on to something.

                                                                                                                          Opening soon, Pristine Poutine. "If the curds don't squeak. The poutine is weak."

                                                                                                                          Personally I like squeaky curds, I also like my hamburger buns to sound squishy, my smoked meat to emit a low hum and my veal sandwiches to have a cockney accent.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jayt90
                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                            magic RE: jayt90 Jun 5, 2009 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                            Although I am no poutine expert, what you say makes perfect sense to me. Very agreed.

                                                                                                                            Also, who says soft fries are bad. Why is the litmus to a good fry, crispness. To me this seems odd. Some of the best fries I've ever had have been in Montreal and those were soft soft soft, mon.

                                                                                                                            I like a good crispy fry too, don't get me wrong. Yum. But soft style fries can be great too. They say absolutely nothing about quality. Some people prefer it that way.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jayt90
                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                              tjr RE: jayt90 Jun 5, 2009 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                              Having lived briefly in both Ottawa and Montreal, I've had many poutines that you would call "pristine." When the ingredients are properly balanced, layered and consumed within the proper amount of time, it's not a difficult thing to make. I make it at home whenever a relative brings me fresh curds from St. Albert's.

                                                                                                                              If even the shiftiest of dives and chip trucks in Montreal and Ottawa can get it right, I don't think it's much to ask for. Everywhere in Toronto just seems to be completely incompetent at making a decent poutine.

                                                                                                                              I don't think there's anything difficult involved in making a "pristine" poutine. If I had the time, I'd volunteer to take you on a poutine tour, jayt90!

                                                                                                                              1. re: tjr
                                                                                                                                grandgourmand RE: tjr Jun 5, 2009 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                That's right tjr, good poutine places achieve balance. Curds at the bottom, fries, more curds, gravy. It's not a big douse of gravy (although at the bottom it's pretty gloupy), so many curds stay relatively intact and maintain their squeak. If you pick it up and drive half an hour and eat it at home, obviously that changes the equation.

                                                                                                                                the squeakiness of the curd isn't a frivolous thing. It's an indication of a fresh curd. Like any other food, a not-so-fresh curd will taste insipid compared to a fresh one A fresh one stands up to the heat of the gravy much better, has a fresher taste and nicer texture (i.e. firm and kinda chewy). The squeak goes hand in hand. If you buy curds (St. Albert get my vote as the best) at an IGA in Ottawa, they will be in small bags in an unrefrigerated display case. At room temperature, they taste the best.

                                                                                                                                There's nothing complicated about making poutine. It's just another one of those things that Toronto does in a sub-par fashion.

                                                                                                                                1. re: tjr
                                                                                                                                  jayt90 RE: tjr Jun 5, 2009 03:49 PM

                                                                                                                                  My only exposure to poutine in the area was during a year in Pembroke. There was a chip truck run buy a father and son (the lad should have been in school) and many of us lined up in mid winter to get our fix, in a brown paper bag. I didn't know enough at the time to call it soggy or pristine. Just a good inexpensive lunch or snack.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjr
                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                    jtamin RE: tjr Jun 6, 2009 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                    I think some people from this forum should open up a shop and make some "proper" poutine for the rest of us :)

                                                                                                                                2. g
                                                                                                                                  Greekfood Koukla RE: mlukan Jun 5, 2009 11:28 AM

                                                                                                                                  What a hot, awful mess Smoke's Poutine was. Had it a little while ago. The fries faintly tasted like rancid oil and believe me, have had real Montreal/Quebec poutine and not even the freshest of curds could have this poutine! Flavour and look was disgusting. Voiced my complaint with owner. Got to talking about backgrounds, etc. He used to own an ad agency. Need I say more? I'd like to know when people will realize that you can't operate a successful business, any business, but especially a food business without having passion for the food! I saw no passion here......

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Greekfood Koukla
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                                                                                                                                    Bigtigger RE: Greekfood Koukla Jun 6, 2009 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                    A bit unfair to judge Smoke's on the basis of the owner's background, imho.

                                                                                                                                    BEST poutine in TO: Rosedale Diner, the poutine with short rib meat and home made gravy. About $12, as I remember- and beats anything else I've sampled here or elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bigtigger
                                                                                                                                      g
                                                                                                                                      Greekfood Koukla RE: Bigtigger Jun 6, 2009 02:16 PM

                                                                                                                                      You could be right. But usually when someone has a passion for their product/service, it shows in the end result. This end result is a hot mess, remember?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Greekfood Koukla
                                                                                                                                        jayt90 RE: Greekfood Koukla Jun 6, 2009 03:16 PM

                                                                                                                                        Time and temperature make poutine a difficult order, passion or no passion.
                                                                                                                                        If you layer curds, fries, curds,and gravy, they will meld together in a matter of seconds.
                                                                                                                                        Then the Chow critics descend.
                                                                                                                                        If you want it crisp, squeaky and rich with gravy, try doing it at home.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Greekfood Koukla
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                                                                                                                                      abigllama RE: Greekfood Koukla Jun 6, 2009 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                      Hey at least yours was a hot mess. I got a luke warm mess with some cheese curds.

                                                                                                                                    3. m
                                                                                                                                      mikefly RE: mlukan Jun 7, 2009 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                                      eating fresh saguenay cheese curds right now.

                                                                                                                                      mmmmm delicious and squeaky!

                                                                                                                                      Also, I thought of a comparison.. Fresh bread is delicious.. day old bread is okay. Frozen and defrosted fresh bread is okay.. but nothing compares to fresh.. right?

                                                                                                                                      1. a
                                                                                                                                        abigllama RE: mlukan Sep 14, 2009 07:27 PM

                                                                                                                                        Fool me twice..I feel like an idiot. It was a cold night, had a junk food craving and was in the area. I had issues with the poutine gravy, didn't mind the fries so much so figured I would be fairly safe by ordering some chili fries to go. That place was fairly busy so they obviously have some sort of following on a Monday night.

                                                                                                                                        I get the chili fries home and find that I don't really have chili fries..but the poutine with the sketchy gelatenous gravy, curds, with chili on top of that. I took two bites, it was horrible. The gravy had invaded everything while the chili wasn't all that bad from what I could tell. Two bites then in the trash. Sketchy gravy has no place being combined with chili, it's nasty and wrong.

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