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New poutine spot - Poutini

Just spotted this new spot on Queen West near the Drake. Looked though the door and they were hard at work... Their website says June 5th...

www.poutini.com

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  1. Please keep me updated.
    What a clever location for their concept.
    Wondering if there will be line ups....I'm sure!!

    1. Sounds like someone wanted to answer our prayers... with hipster poutine. Oh well, if it's good, I'll pay for it.

      1. Hopefully their gravy is more beefy then Smoke's

        26 Replies
        1. re: flying101

          Poutine gravy isn't supposed to be beefy. It's supposed to be chicken-based. Smoke's gravy is terrible, the curds haven't squeaked since I went during opening, and the fries are now pretty weak too. Amazing how somewhere went from having terrible gravy to just being terrible in general...

          If Poutini delivers, to me, it would be worth whatever price they were charging. I'm pretty skeptical though; we'll see when they open, I guess!

          1. re: tjr

            exactly!!

            the gravy (IMO) should be chicken based,and smoke's has NOT been squeaky since their opening! I thought I was the only one who noticed this.

            Can't wait to try this though... T.O. is seriously lacking in the poutine department :)

            1. re: duckdown

              I hope it's not chicken gravy. Quite frankly from what I've tasted so far, chicken gravy is weak. I'd much rather have a poutine like Caplansky's which has some balls with a strong gravy not to mention an awesome smokey flavour.

              I do hope that Poutini! (I keep thinking of the Star Wars Robot Chicken special with the Jawa in the cantina that says "Martini!!!") does go outside the box with their poutines other than a traditional serving to satisfy the die-hards.

              1. re: lister

                Have you ever had a poutine in Ottawa or Quebec?

                1. re: tjr

                  Nope not yet. We will be in Montreal in July so I plan to try it. I've been looking forward to the trip so I can finally so what you guys are crowing about "It's not this, it's not that..." However based on finally trying squeaky curds when Smoke's just opened, I don't see what the fuss is about other than they're fresh which is good.

                  I've never been much of a traditionalist with what I eat and drink. I'm primarily interested in what tastes good. If that means an improvement on a traditional recipe then I'm all for it. Caplansky's poutine, IMO, is an improvement based on what I've tried so far. I would be really surprised if my opinion changed in Montreal.

                  1. re: lister

                    I haven't had a poutine with decent gravy ever in the GTA, though Swiss Chalet's poutine gives a decent rendition. If you don't see the different between fresh, squeaky curds or between chicken and beef gravy on a poutine, I don't understand why you'd be excited to actually try poutine in Quebec. Might as well just eat Toronto poutines. Fresh curds not only have a different flavour, but the texture is completely different.

                    I never said I was against "improvements" to something traditional. The issue is that most things that pretend to be improvements really aren't. Places like La Banquise serve many different types of poutines, some good, some strange, and some which don't really work. But at least their fries are good, the curds are fresh, and the gravy doesn't come from some weird powdered beef mix.

                    I don't like Caplansky's poutine, because, other than the curds, I find the gravy doesn't work properly with the fries and curds (fries great, curds meh). It's more like a poutine michigan than a real poutine. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not what most people want when they think about poutine.

                    Honestly, if having a poutine in Ottawa or Montreal at somewhere like La Banquise wouldn't change your opinions on what a poutine is supposed to be, I kind of feel bad. Your expectations are already set on it being a failure, so it likely will be. Then again, you can keep your beef gravy, old curd poutines; I'll continue to prefer (and long for) a fresh, hot poutine with squeaky curds and nice chicken gravy like many of the others. To each his/her own.

                  2. re: tjr

                    The chip wagon MG? fries at Bank and Sunnyside is famous for the fries and poutine.
                    There is always a line up there- even in winter.
                    Their fries are very good and they peel the patatoes by hand.
                    A while ago I saw an older man siting outside and peeling the patatos by hand and putting them in a big bucket of water (I think or a big bin anyways...they were 50lbs bags of patatos).
                    I have to resist stopping there every time I pass by on the bus...

              2. re: tjr

                Smoke's does use a chicken/beef gravy do they not? and it is way over spiced.

                and call me non-traditional or sacrilegious, but I actually prefer beef gravy poutine over the traditional chicken gravy.

                1. re: flying101

                  They do use a chicken/beef combination, at least last time I checked.

                2. re: tjr

                  What exactly do you mean by curds "squeaking"?

                  1. re: cynalan

                    When you bite a cheese curd that's fresh and at the proper temperature, it'll make substantial squeaking noises inside your mouth that you can't miss. I have a friend who lives near St. Albert cheese factory who has brought me fresher-than-fresh cheese (made that morning) and every bite makes you feel like you're killing a den-full of field mice.

                    1. re: vorpal

                      Up North near Sudbury, Hwy #17 west of North Bay, Sturgeon Falls to be exact, you can get the best poutine (poo-tin') as they pronouce it up there. You can get the curd LAYERED with the gravy...top is squeaky until it melts in the gravy, mid and bottom melted...see for yourself...from Le P'tit Riv in Sturgeon last year....BTW, this one was the MEDIUM!!

                       
                      1. re: ebay3392

                        Damn you for posting that picture...

                        SEriously, that's the deal right there.

                        1. re: ebay3392

                          Oh man, that looks good! I was in Sudbury not too long ago - wish I'd known about this place! Now I'm hungry!

                          1. re: redearth

                            I have had poutine in Quebec in a few places, Sturgeon Falls is the best...more chip stands than restaurants I think.

                            1. re: duckdown

                              Yup, that's definitely looks like the real deal.

                              Looking forward to trying out Poutini.

                              It is way too often that we get excited about a place and it ends up being crap. I hope that trend changes with Poutini.

                              1. re: acd123

                                i hear ya man... nothing i miss more than a real poutine! i guess i shouldn't get my hopes up, though

                                i wonder if they have a website up

                            2. re: ebay3392

                              My post about Le P'tit Riv fell on deaf ears a ways back...but no longer! The pic definitely helped! Mmmmm poutine.

                              SWS

                              1. re: ebay3392

                                No, the beef gravy doesn't define it as a Sudbury poutine. But add some beer and a smoke and then you've got a Sudbury Poutine Combo! (Response to TJR below)

                                SWS

                                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                  Thanks! I don't know anything about Sudbury's poutine scene. Was curious to see if this was a Sudbury thing, or just another inept attempt to bring decent poutine to Toronto.

                              2. re: vorpal

                                Does squeaky or non-squeaky curds taste noticeably different?

                                1. re: szw

                                  Flavour profile is pretty much the same - the real difference is in the texture. Trust me, it's markedly different.

                                  1. re: redearth

                                    A squeaky curd is a fresh curd. The taste is, well, fresher.

                                  2. re: szw

                                    The texture is the big difference, but there is certainly a difference in taste, too, which I'm having trouble thinking of how to explain. The best way to simulate squeaky curds with older cheese is to take a bag of the freshest curds you can find (in Toronto, not likely to be too fresh, I wouldn't think) and, making sure the bag is sealed, soak it in warm-to-hot water for about 20 minutes. Open and eat. It won't be quite the same as fresh cheese, but the taste should be improved and the curds should squeak, and it'll give you an idea why people enjoy cheese curds so much. (Honestly, I didn't understand until I tried this, and that understanding grew exponentially when I was able to procure fresh curds. Now I'm hooked.)

                          2. I'm going to go just because of the name.

                              1. re: aser

                                Beef gravy. Therefore not the real Quebec deal that I've been missing. Bummer.

                                1. re: childofthestorm

                                  Cool! I'm looking forward to trying it.

                                2. re: aser

                                  Well, if the fries and curds are both of excellent quality, a vegetarian gravy wouldn't really bother me that much... though I'd prefer an authentic chicken gravy. But why beef gravy? Is that a Sudbury poutine?

                                  1. re: aser

                                    good find, but yeah, a bummer for me as well without the chicken gravy. not saying it wont be good though! the squeaky curd thing is a major issue, so i hope they come through with that

                                    1. re: duckdown

                                      Obviously squeaky curds would be great. But I'm keeping my expectations in check. Anything in Toronto that serves curds, period, is a plus. I can't stomach the sight of grated mozzarella on poutine, which is more often than not served with beef gravy. That's not innovation, that's sacrilege.

                                      1. re: grandgourmand

                                        Yeah, using Mozzarella or anything but curd is a walk away show stopper for me...but rarely get poutine as having the best up North is hard to compare...the street vendor along Queen near City Hall was not bad...used curd, was about a 7.5 where Sturgeon Falls with the photo I attached is a 9.9...

                                  2. Thanks for the link... this looks promising! Now I dont have to travel to Quebec City just for decent poutine!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: FLObulous

                                      I wouldn't go that far... it hasn't even opened yet ;)

                                    2. The Website had June 5th listed as the opening and has now changed to Coming Soon.

                                      Has anyone been by? Does it look close to opening?

                                      1. darn, came in here hoping someone had gone, since today was apparently their opening day

                                        60 Replies
                                        1. re: duckdown

                                          I received a very nice email from them today that their opening has been delayed. I meant to post earlier but never got a chance. I, was also intending on visiting today and appreciated the email that they are not opening today. He hopes they open next week and encouraged me to keep checking the website.
                                          I

                                          1. re: duckdown

                                            It's poutine, not rocket science (though the poutines in Toronto might make it seem like it is). Maybe they decided to ditch the beef gravy and go with a more authentic chicken gravy? If so, okay, delay acceptable.

                                            1. re: tjr

                                              I don't think it's the recipe that's delaying the opening. It's usually construction and trades that delay opening days...

                                              1. re: jeannieh20

                                                Agreed. I go by that stretch of Queen daily and it looks like they're still working on the joint.

                                                  1. re: mikefly

                                                    I am following poutinis on twitter and there is a post that they might be opening today at 5 p.m. Has anyone walked by to confirm this?

                                                    1. re: domesticgodess

                                                      yup, just walked by and they are open. haven't tried anything yet. the menu has poutine (incl. veggie version), fries with gravy, baked potato with toppings (can't remember what they were).

                                                      cash only. there are a few seats inside (stools), and a bench outside.

                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                            I was proud to be the second customer!!
                                                            So here is the lowdown.
                                                            They are open this weekend only as a "soft opening".
                                                            Next weekend..will be the real opening!!
                                                            Now lets talk about the poutine.
                                                            The french fries were great. Not to thick..not to thin....crispy...hot...perfect!!
                                                            The curds were indeed squeaky and large!! Would have liked to seen some at the bottom but maybe next time..lol
                                                            The gravy could have been a touch thicker. But they are still working on perfecting the recipe.
                                                            The atmosphere is perfect too...exposed brick, beautiful wood, tasteful wall paper etc.

                                                            As for the prices...$7 for poutine with gravy...recycleable cardboard container for the poutine and a recycle box for my EMPTY container!!!

                                                            I wish them all the very best. I have no doubt that the restaurant will be a success.

                                                              1. re: domesticgodess

                                                                Looks pretty good. Wonder if you can ask them to layer the curds throughout the poutine as is appropriate?

                                                                Or hey they're probably reading this...layer your curds!

                                                                1. re: childofthestorm

                                                                  Damn, I wish I could go tonight but (for medical reasons) I am on a liquid diet for a few days.

                                                                  Grrrrrr...

                                                                  Poutine isn't all that good for a gut obstruction is it?

                                                                  1. re: Non Doctor

                                                                    I hope your liquids include wine...

                                                              2. re: domesticgodess

                                                                $7.00?????? Holy crap...that portion doesn't look very big...

                                                                1. re: ebay3392

                                                                  I have no idea how large the portion is without any perspective in the picture, however it does look like an abnormally large amount of curds compared to what I usually see.

                                                                  1. re: szw

                                                                    Not if the curds aren't layered.

                                                                    I'll drop by and give it a try! It actually looks decent (though the gravy seems to be really watery). I'll reserve judgment for the taste test.

                                                                  2. re: ebay3392

                                                                    I poked my head in as I walked by tonight, and I can confirm that the portions are actually quite generous. Since domesticgodess's photo of the poutine is taken from directly above, you can't see that the container is fairly deep. You can sort of see in the second photo, where the server is holding one of the containers, that they're pretty large.

                                                                    1. re: gregclow

                                                                      Also, in case it's not clear from the menu mention above, they're not doing any fancy-pants poutines with pulled pork or chicken or mushrooms or anything like that. The menu choices are just fries, fries w/ gravy (either veg or non-veg), traditional poutine, and a few variations on baked potatoes.

                                                                      If they stick with this approach, I applaud them for their adherence to tradition - but I also hope for their sake that they serve some pretty damn mean poutine! It'll be hard to keep going without some gimmicky variations if the quality isn't there.

                                                                      1. re: gregclow

                                                                        after domesticgoddess' photo, i couldn't resist (i live 5 minutes away). my partner and i really liked the poutine - good fries, delicious curds, and we had no problems with the gravy. we thought the flavour was strong enough even though the texture was relatively light. we also like the fact that it's just basic poutine, nothing fancy. it was a generous portion for the two of us (although we had it as a starter to a dinner). i can't really say whether poutine should cost $7 - yes it's just fast food, could easily be street food, and so should be cheap oon principle. but on the other hand, it is queen street west, for better or worse, which means high rent and high prices. i'm okay with the price but i could understand why some would see it as too high for poutine.

                                                                          1. re: hippotatomus

                                                                            I just went and it was not open T.T.. I went to Little India instead.

                                                                            1. re: hippotatomus

                                                                              Same thing I want to know.. with my luck it will be closed as well

                                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                                I wandered out there this afternoon. I got there around 4pm and saw a sign that said the place would be open at 5pm. Figures. I'm always too early. So I killed an hour wandering around. An hour later with my knees hurting, the sign was down and I went in. Oops! Not ready yet. 30 more minutes. Why take the sign down then? Killed another 30 minutes. Of course upon return the place had a number of people in it with no place to sit or stand (for eating.) The person behind the counter recognized me from 30 minutes earlier, apologized again. Cool.

                                                                                I got the poutine with a drink and left to wander home. It is a good sized container. For most people, including myself who eats big, the portion will be enough to fill you up without feeling sickeningly stuffed. The curds were nice, big and yes squeaky. I would have preferred a few more in there but they weren't sparse. The fries were okay. Not crispy but not mushy. Seasoned well, you could taste the salt but it wasn't too salty. The gravy, which really is the flavour of the dish in my opinion and really what sells for me, was a light brown, not too thick but not too thin and not watery. I didn't notice any particular herb tastes. In fact, I didn't really notice any particular flavour at all. If there was it was subtle and I don't like subtle gravy. I like my gravy with some oomph which is why I like Caplansky's poutine so much. Now if we could just transplant the curds at Poutini to Caplansky's I'd have my perfect poutine. Or perhaps something extra on top ala Smoke's pulled pork or bacon for some flavour. Mmmm. Anyways, the place is too far for me so return trips will be unlikely unless I happen to be in West Queen West which is like never. Worth a try though for you squeakheads particularly if you haunt that part of town.

                                                                                Oh, no Jawa in sight. I think one with a bubble above it saying "Poutini!" is a good cheeky idea but who knows how litigious George might be. Maybe offer him free poutine whenever he's in town as he certainly doesn't need any more money.

                                                                                1. re: lister

                                                                                  Thanks for the review... I rarely am in that area either but I'm gonna make the trip out of my way to try it. And I'm gonna order it with extra curds.

                                                                                  I like the idea of baked potatoes also... I love a good baked potato... and I imagine with gravy and curds it would be great as well

                                                                                  1. re: duckdown

                                                                                    Drove by this afternoon at around 5:15pm, closed.
                                                                                    Guess they are closed on Sundays?

                                                                                    1. re: lilith

                                                                                      hopefully they don't have solid hours yet... because if they do... thats awful

                                                                                      1. re: duckdown

                                                                                        Poutine is more of a post-bar or post-post bar breakfast kind of affair. You have to pick your hours carefully. It would make no sense for them to be open at 5pm Sunday. 2, 3pm sure, but 5 is suicide.

                                                                                        1. re: Googs

                                                                                          i went tonite too as I wanted my foodie son to try it. It was 6 pm and closed. I was so disappointed. The owner came out and told me that they were only opened on Friday and Saturday this weeeknd.
                                                                                          I will be there next Sunday with him...thats for sure!! its so so good...

                                                                                          1. re: domesticgodess

                                                                                            like the previous post mentioned, this weekend was only a soft open - to test and feel the audience. Next weekend is the real opening and should have more suitable hours of operation... relax people.

                                                                                            1. re: jeannieh20

                                                                                              just walked by, and the note on the door said that this thursday will be their official opening, followed by regular hours on the following monday. i read that as saying that this weekend they will still be closed.

                                                                                              1. re: Kasia

                                                                                                Popped in with my girlfriend and as everyone has mentioned it was a soft opening. Shared a poutine and I can say with great confidence that the curds actually squeaked. So everyone clamouring for an audible poutine should be very happy. I liked the gravy and the portion was just fine. We split one and were both satisfied. I have no problem paying 7 dollars for what we received. Service was very friendly and they were soliciting feedback in an affort to perfect their recipe, which is always good to hear.

                                                                                                1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                  $7 bucks isn't a bad price. Curds aren't cheap. And if it's any good, then that price certainly isn't a problem. I think you pay $4-$5 at a fast food joint for pretty crappy poutine.

                                                                                                  1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                    it's $4.20 (ironic) for a BK Poutine (which overall is not the worst) so $7 is no problem for a decent authentic "dirty poot".

                                                                                                    going this Thursday.

                                                                                                    1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                      Curds are cheap, about the price level of mild, unaged Kraft cheddar. Price conscious lunch counters like Montreal Fries and Steame, chip trucks on 7, or Costco with its Laval connection, will give you the squeak in a poutine that is less than $5.

                                                                                                      1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                        Well, if you are willing to (over) pay it then they should have no trouble staying in business.

                                                                                                        1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                          In Toronto, if it's a legit poutine, and it's $7, then it's not overpaying.

                                                                                                          Conversely, if it's crap poutine, then $7 is a ripoff.

                                                                                                          The fact is, if the have no competition, they have pricing power.

                                                                                                    2. re: Kasia

                                                                                                      They posted the following to their Twitter today:

                                                                                                      "Heyyyyy poutine lovers! Poutini's will be open at 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday! Sunday we open at noon. See you then!"

                                                                                                      1. re: gregclow

                                                                                                        what's with these guys.... they open at 5pm and don't even mention what time they close at... what kind of hours are these? what if i want a poutine before bloody rush hour

                                                                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                          my guess is that they imagine themlseves as a post dinner, post drinking kind of a place rather than a lunch place. lunch isn't terribly busy in this area, and given their low priced adn limited menu, they probably need a crowd to make it worth their while. hence they're betting on the busy times on the strip, which are weekday evenings and weekends. makes sense to me.

                                                                                                          1. re: Kasia

                                                                                                            Yeah, that area is all bar crowd. What they're doing makes sense.

                                                                                                            1. re: childofthestorm

                                                                                                              Sure, only drunk or stoned people would pay $7.00 for it.

                                                                                                              1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                                I think $7 is a little expensive considering there are still problems with it, but I don't think it's too much to pay for a good poutine in Toronto. Then again, I think the lobster poutine at Bymark is reasonably priced.

                                                                                                                1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                                  I'm drunk and stoned, and I wouldn't pay $7.00 for it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: redearth

                                                                                                                    Thank you....I was beginning to think I was the idiot in this regard....next someone will say $20.00 for a burger is 'not bad'? Go to America and you can get a meal for $7.00 let alone fries gravy and a bit of cheese.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                                      So people want curds that make a noise, chicken gravy as per the Poutine Council of Montreal, a place open 24 hours, an availabiltiy of sizes specific to their appetite, free convenient parking directly outside and a price point less than the cost of a meal in America?

                                                                                                                      Is that everything?

                                                                                                                      1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                        Since Poutini has managed to get squeaky curds (and Smoke's had them when they first opened), it's not much of a stretch to ask for them. It's what makes poutine good, and shows that the product is fresh. So what, you think it's too much to ask to have a fresh product?

                                                                                                                        The chicken gravy thing is a preference, but, to be honest, how much more difficult is it to have chicken gravy than beef gravy (or just make three gravies; they're already contemplating making a gluten-free one).

                                                                                                                        The other things, well... I don't know about them.

                                                                                                                        1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                          crap, is there no parking either!?!?!

                                                                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                            It's on Queen Street so it's subject to whatever the hours are for street parking. I don't drive so I don't really know. There is a Price Chopper very close by with a fair sized parking lot. Parking in there for a bit shouldn't be a problem.

                                                                                                                          2. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                            i was just about to post this exact thought. thankyouverymuch. everyone gripes about not having a high quality poutine, but also expects it to be cheap as well...well if u don't want to pay $7, go to Bk or KFC. esp if you're comparing the price point to a meal at an American fast food restaurant, this is the same quality you expect from your food.

                                                                                                                          3. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                                            Your interpretation is pretty narrow.

                                                                                                                            $7 is a high price, I'll give you that, but there aren't any good poutine options in Toronto. IF it's good, then $7 is not bad. IF it's crap, different story.

                                                                                                                            Go to America and you can get all kinds of all-you-can-eat for $7, but really, is it any good? It's a bad comparison, frankly.

                                                                                                                            Apparently, I can go to Oshawa to get some good stuff for $5 or whatever. But do the math on what it costs in gasoline to get there. And these $7 meals in America sound great, but that's irrelevant since it's not here. Heck, I can get wonderful seafood in Vietnam for dirt cheap, but that's in Vietnam.

                                                                                                                            Would I like to see chip stands that sell top notch poutine in Toronto for $5? Of course. But we don't have that.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                                              A meal for $7 in NYC, Boston, Chicago? Cities that are comparable to Toronto? You can certainly get a cheap meal like that in Hicksville USA. And what sort of quality food will you be getting for $7? I thought it was generally agreed upon that we need to get rid of all the crap that goes into food that makes it so cheap to buy. Do some of you understand what all the costs go into the price?

                                                                                                                              Someone mentioned a chip truck further down. That's an unfair comparison too. A storefront should be more expensive cost-wise than a truck. Hell, a storefront out in the surrounding GTA will be more expensive than Toronto, especially downtown Toronto.

                                                                                                                              Good quality ingredients and a good location costs money. I have my doubts they're making a tonne of money on a per unit basis. Besides, even if they were (all the power to them), if the cost is too much for you don't go. Free market capitalism. Go eat the frozen fries, flavourless watery gravy and shredded cheese poutine for $4 someplace else or make it yourself. I understand bitching about the cost of electricity, water, natural gas and taxes where you really have no option but to pay. Bitching about the cost of food? Come on! You have lots of alternatives at your disposal.

                                                                                                                              1. re: lister

                                                                                                                                All excellent points Lister. Also, 7 dollars isn't really a lot of money, is it? For a meal? And relatively speaking they are competetively priced...a quick survey of the cost of just fries....

                                                                                                                                Mitzis Sister - 5.25
                                                                                                                                The Drake -- 6.00
                                                                                                                                Lou Dawgs - 5.00
                                                                                                                                Cadillac Lounge - 4.00
                                                                                                                                School Bakery - 6.00
                                                                                                                                Gladstone - 5.00

                                                                                                                                Add just gravy to those and you're coming in around 7 bucks.

                                                                                                                                1. re: lister

                                                                                                                                  Agreed completely, and I just wanted to chime in and say that I don't think that $7 is really all that expensive for a well-prepared poutine.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                    Guess I am outnumbered on this one...admit defeat but don't admit I am wrong...enjoy it people....i will make it myself and will probably be better than this spot...maybe growing up eating this in rural communities in Northern Ontario has jaded me from thinking of them pricing it out for yuppies...who knows...looks like they got great backing from you lot so that's it for me on this post...oh, and $7.00 for a meal...in America? www.crackerbarrel.com with locations rural and in major cities across the U.S. of A. Signing off.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                                                      I think $7 is a bit expensive but you honestly can't compare the price in downtown Toronto to the price in rural Northern Ontario communities.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: lister

                                                                                                                                    You are very wrong. I can go to Ray's Famous on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, and get a complete meal (chicken parm with ziti or salad) for $7.50, or Philly Cheese steak, fries and drink for the same. And please note that's a MEAL, not a single side dish. So, yes, I think $7 for a few potatoes, some fries and gravy is pushing it unless it's very good quality, which, from the posts here, Poutini is not.

                                                                                                                          4. re: Kasia

                                                                                                                            I don't know about that - I know a few people who work at CAMH, and they complain there are very few lunch spots they can get to without driving, and they don't want to do that for the extra expense of parking and the time factor. Sometimes they head to Starbucks for an over-priced sandwich, or to Cafe Bretane for an - overpriced sandwich. All they need to do is add some hot dogs to their menu, and they'd be swamped.

                                                                                                                            And do they offer a half portion of the poutine? I'm really trying to watch my weight and I'll be in the area on Thursday. I'd like to check them out , but from the size of the portion posted, I don't think I could finish it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                              i didn't see a half portion on the menu, and i share your concern about the impact of this on my waistline:)

                                                                                                                              well, yes there are few places for lunch that are fast. but there are several places in both directions that are open at lunch time (beaver, cinnamon girls, 2 pho places on ossington, the veggie place on ossington at argyle, the portuguese bakery that makes sandwiches and other things on ossington and argyle etc). i've taken out from all of these at one point or another, so a well timed take out order is also an option for people who have a short lunch break. i have not yet felt the need to resort to starbucks for lunch. but you might be right, the poutine place may do well at lunch.

                                                                                                        2. re: lister

                                                                                                          Never say never. :-p Looks like when the better half is back in town we'll be making a trek out there. Hopefully the gravy gets tweaked for some flavour. I'll probably ask for more curds too (if they do that.)

                                                                          2. So, I just had a Poutini's Poutine and I'll hold off on saying anything definitive, but here are some initial thoughts:

                                                                            - Nice people running it, they are trying hard, they are keeping it simple to start - they only serve poutine, baked potatoes and poutine baked potatoes (a brilliant idea)
                                                                            - They are more Queen West than Quebecois, what with biodegradable forks and veggie poutine
                                                                            - While I was there they burned the beef gravy and so I had a veggie poutine and was given this for free. Very nice of them.

                                                                            Now, on to the poutine.

                                                                            - It was good but...was I expecting too much?
                                                                            - This version of poutine is more about the fries than anything else. This was a plate of fries with some gravy and cheese curds, rather than an unholy mix of gravy, cheese and potato in perfect balance. Why so little gravy? It was like having a dish of spaghetti bolognese with a little bolognese sauce on top of a lot of pasta noodles. This leaves you wanting more - certainly a philosophical cry from the gluttony that is good poutine. Speaking of which, there is only one size. I was still very hungry after eating it...but maybe it was the veggie gravy that threw me off.

                                                                            - There has been a lot of talk on this site about the squeakiness of good cheese curds. Poutini curds really do squeak. And, they are really tasty. I've gotta say, though, that to me the squeakiness of curds has never been a significant aspect of poutine. Or, in any case, I enjoy poutine that has enough hot gravy poured over it that after a short while the curds have melted into the gravy to the point of looking more like melted cheese than distinct curds. It's all about the synergy. And yet, the fries should still have enough crispness to be able to hold their own (and Poutini fries do).
                                                                            - Poutini's is using beef gravy rather than chicken gravy. Interesting. Isn't most Quebec poutine gravy made from chicken?

                                                                            In summary, they need to add more gravy, and add a larger size to the menu.

                                                                            I can't wait to try the beef gravy instead of the veggie gravy to get the proper experience, but so far I think that this is good poutine, though not as good as the poutine that you can get just about anywhere in Montreal. Much better than Smoke's (which in my opinion really screwed things up), good enough that I will be back this week, but not devastating in its goodness. Why is it so hard to make good poutine in Toronto?

                                                                            1. Tried it today. Nice space. awesome curds, nice squeak, excellent creamy gravy. crispy fries and friendly service. I Sort of dove into it like what I could see on the top... is what was going to be on the bottom. I was incorrect. I think layering is the issue here. The container to hold the poutine is a little deep for the technique they are using to put it together. Toward the end of the experience there are no curds or gravy left which is always sad. Had I gone in with this knowledge, I would have mixed it a bit off the start to evenly distribute all ingredients. I don't know if this is an issue that they necessarily need to fix or if I need to adjust the way I eat it as to me it was delish! Very tasty and satisfying. A decent portion for the price. And I will go back and try the poutine baked potato. I just wish it was further away from me than it is.

                                                                              1. anyone catch what time they close on these next few days theyre open?

                                                                                1. Beef gravy? I guess we can give up hoping for the Quebecois stuff. Didn't poutine begin in the rotisserie chicken shacks that rock la belle province?

                                                                                  1. Pros:
                                                                                    - Squeaky curds,
                                                                                    - Fries were good.

                                                                                    Cons:
                                                                                    - Gravy sucks (watery and bland beef gravy; didn't try the vegetarian one),
                                                                                    - Poutine not layered properly, and not enough curds and gravy.

                                                                                    I assume the owners are probably reading this thread, since they seem internet savvy: Will I go back? Yes. Will I ask them to layer it properly with an appropriate amount of curds and gravy? Yes. I'll give them the time they need to get it right.

                                                                                    All in all, it was a decent poutine (2 out of 3 isn't bad), but they really should improve the flaws if the only things they're selling are poutines and baked potatoes. Please, please, please learn how to make a proper poutine in terms of layering the ingredients, and make sure there are enough curds and sauce to go around. Then, even with bad gravy you'd have a pretty decent product. If your gravy was the proper consistency and tasted good, you'd have an even better product. If your gravy was a chicken-based gravy with the proper consistency and it tasted good, you'd have the best poutine in Toronto (though maybe not Oshawa, apparently).

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: tjr

                                                                                      I stopped in last night-decent fries, gravy is better than Smoke's I find but could be more rich in flavor and pile some more of it on please-enough gravy is need to allow everything to properly meld together as omar mentioned. Hopefully this is all a work in progress-friendly service.

                                                                                    2. stopped in tonight - nice decor (they had a nice spot to work with) and the service was fast and friendly.
                                                                                      the poutine was pretty average with the curds really being the only standout. the fries were good but average double fried potatoes, the gravy was good but i thought mine needed a little more salt and wasn't meaty enough, but there was more than enough to cover all the fries. the curds were very very very tasty. i could've used a little more of those...

                                                                                      1. Stopped in tonight as well. There was a sign in the window that said it would be open until "late" into the night because of NXNE. I just checked their twitter account and apparently it WILL be open for lunches sometime in the future! Anyway, onto the poutine:

                                                                                        The Good: Great, squeaky curds. Portion was good - the container was quite wide and deep. After reading about the lack of layering, I mixed everything up before digging in, thus averting the dry fry problem.

                                                                                        The So-So: Gravy. The consistency was ok, but I agree with the other posts here: it definitely needs more meaty flavour/salt/etc.

                                                                                        Will be back once they've hopefully worked out the kinks in the gravy.

                                                                                        1. got a chance to try the veg version from poutini's last night and was disappointed. the fries were okay (though one too many bits of too crispy/dried out fries), but the gravy was very bland and lacking in flavour. it was a good consistency though so they just need to keep working on making the gravy much more flavourful. the cheese curds were decent - squeaky, but almost too firm (it was almost like eating uncooked halloumi) and did not melt pretty much at all. i like when the cheese still holds some of its shape but is somewhat melted and soft. they skimped too much on the gravy and importantly, did not layer.

                                                                                          seems like some of these issues are easy to fix: layer the curds and gravy throughout the poutine, don't skimp on the gravy, and make sure the gravy is plentiful and hot enough to actually start melting the curds a bit. if they are indeed looking to improve the gravy, investigate how to make it more flavourful cuz it's really bland right now. oh, and one last thing: i found something a bit too salty in there.. not sure if it was the gravy or seasoning (if any) on the fries..

                                                                                          and yes, very friendly service. i also liked they they used biodegradable cutlery and containers.

                                                                                          1. tried it tonight... place was hopping at about 2AM

                                                                                            fries - pretty much a perfect double-fried french fry.. no complaints

                                                                                            curds - good... not perfect... they had the slightest bit of squeak, not enough though... not layered at all, they literally have a pre-portioned scoop they just put on top of the fries. not enough curds by far... not as squeaky as when smokes opened either, IMO (which has changed since)

                                                                                            gravy - boooooooooring... bland.. no taste. underseasoned... big negative there. did not try the vegetarian version... will try the baked potato style next, but i didnt see a single person eating one

                                                                                            better than smokes? maybe... i don't rag on the gravy as bad as many at smokes... but their curds also became too sparse and not squeaky.. both are far from perfect

                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: duckdown

                                                                                              Dude, so was it worth seven bucks? Was the portion larger than the picture seeming it was Dixie cup size? Was it big like the one I shown online which cost me $3.95? Do tell, I trust you over these others on here oh pulled pork brethern.

                                                                                              1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                To me....Not worth seven bucks

                                                                                                Not with the incorrect layering, not enough curds, and so on

                                                                                                I'm really curious to try it again in a month or two and see if the curds even remain squeaky or not

                                                                                                1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                  Based on the reviews so far, doesn't sound like it's winner...yet. Who knows, they may change.

                                                                                                  So, not worth $7. Maybe not worth $2. The point is, and ebay seems to be missing that, is that if it's a good poutine, paying $7 IN TORONTO, is not outrageous. And along the way, he/she is being pretty dismissive of other hounds. You can't compare prices betwen Sturgeon Falls and Toronto.

                                                                                                  Thanks for the review, though, DD. Although I'm all for a squeaky curd, my expectations in Toronto are pretty low. So if it's a half decent poutine, with a good chicken-based sauce, good fries and layering, I can overlook the lack of squeak.

                                                                                                  I imagine the main problem in getting squeaky curds is finding a dedicated supplier. Every day past production, you lose some of the freshness that contributes to the squeak. If the suppliers are unreliable, you might be getting stuff that's a few days old. Still plenty good to eat, but not prime.

                                                                                                  1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                    So far, the low cost options with a good supply of curds are Swiss Chalet, Costco, and Montreal Steame Fries. The latter includes 2 steamies for $7. All have strong Quebec connections.

                                                                                                    1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                      Good lord.

                                                                                                      Costco/SC?? come on. (don't know the third place)

                                                                                                      Costco has a super large, cheap sub-par poutine. SC I wouldn't even order - their sauce is terrible.

                                                                                                      1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                        I have only had the Montreal Steame&Fries version of these three, but the other two got decent reviews from other hounds. Someone found out that Costco's daily supply of curds comes from Bergeron, and they dropped Nestle gravy because it was not authentic.

                                                                                                        I don't know whether Swiss Chalet uses chicken gravy or their dipping sauce, Hopefully a true gravy, with all the chicken carcasses on hand

                                                                                                        Here is the Oshawa adrress for Montreal Fries-Steame, hand cut potatoes, layered with chicken gravy.

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Steame's
                                                                                                        36 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON L1G4S1, CA

                                                                                                        1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                          SC's poutine uses gravy and not the "chalet sauce."

                                                                                                          I am going to retry the Costco poutine next time I'm at Costco, and am trying to see if I know anyone in Oshawa that I want to visit so I can have an excuse for going to Montreal Steamies and Fries.

                                                                                                          1. re: tjr

                                                                                                            that's what i had to do when i went to buster rhino's.... i had to find some kind of excuse to go all the way there lol

                                                                                                            oshawa is brutal

                                                                                                            1. re: tjr

                                                                                                              interesting.. can you get this gravy to go with your chicken instead of the crap they usually serve?

                                                                                                              1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                I'm sure you could probably ask.

                                                                                                                1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                  Mikefly, you most definitely can get the gravy instead of the Chalet sauce. That's what my mother does, as she hates the sauce. However, I'm not positive that the gravy is made from scratch. It's pretty gloopy, which could mean a cheater's addition of some kind of food starch to thicken up an otherwise authentic gravy, OR, it's packaged, powdered gravy. In light of the fact that you can purchase both the Chalet sauce and gravy from Swiss Chalet in powdered packets in some major grocery stores, I'd guess that what they serve in the restaurants is the very same thing.

                                                                                                                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                    eeeenteresting. Next time I eat there, I will ask for gravy with my chicken.. I still don't think I'd be willing to risk a pout there, but who knows.. anything is possible.

                                                                                                                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                      Interestingly, I tried the poutine sauce with my chicken... it was not a success.

                                                                                                          2. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                            I look forward to you trying and reviewing Poutini grandgourmand. I suspect you're the type of guy who isn't afraid to stir when confronted with inadequate layering.

                                                                                                    2. Sounds kind of strange but I found that adding a touch of malt vinegar to the poutine gave it the 'zip' that's missing from the gravy.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: sarahEG

                                                                                                        I tried Poutini today, and that's exactly what I did as well. Agree, the gravy on its own is kinda bland, but the malt vinegar was a good help.

                                                                                                        Fries were OK - not great, but certainly not awful. Reminded me of NY Fries. I asked for just a little salt after seeing how much they added to a regular batch, and they were quite accomodating. I also asked the counter person to layer the curds with the fries, and he was happy to do so. This meant the inner curds were more melted and I thought they tasted better than the ones on top.

                                                                                                        Big portion - I just finished it. I'd had a hot dog for lunch around 2 pm, had the poutine about 5 pm, and it's now midnight, and I'm still not hungry. If I were going out for lunch or dinner, this would be a good place to stop for an appetizer if you had someone to split the poutine with.

                                                                                                        Summary:

                                                                                                        Food - OK, not "knock your socks off" good, but certainly not anything to criticize
                                                                                                        Service - The place was almost empty, so my server was friendly and willing to accomodate special requests. Don't know if I would get the same treatment at lunch time (see below)
                                                                                                        Value - Very big portion, but also $7.00. A bit expensive (I do give them credit for figuring out the tax on $6.19, and making that the base price, so you're not digging into your pocket for change).
                                                                                                        Decor - Clean, simple. According to the server, they are packed each day from 11:30 to 1:30, and then empty until 8 pm, when business picks up and then rocks to closing.

                                                                                                        Would I return? If in the neighbourhood, and with someone to split it with, sure. I do recommend Sarah's technique of spritzing a little malt vinegar on the poutine. Or, if I'm alone, I might try the poutine baked potato, which is about half the price, and one assumes, slightly smaller.

                                                                                                      2. Stopped in here last night in between seeing some bands at NXNE. At around 2:30 am the places was jammed so the late night hours are obviously paying off. It took about 10 minutes to get through the line up and get a poutine to split.

                                                                                                        Mind you that we were super hungry, mildly buzzed from coctails but we really enjoyed this. Fries were very crispy, curds sqeeked. Gravy was on the blandish side but reminds me of the same kind Dunn's in Montreal serves.

                                                                                                        Layering is an issue especially with the container designs. The fries hold up on their own so wasn't too upset about it. I don't mind handing them my $7 at all, not sure if I'd go out of my way but will gladly return if in the area.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                          Got down to Poutini's tonight around 7:30-ish. A sign posted in the window says they are now open for lunch at 12:00pm!

                                                                                                          We ordered two regular poutines...wait time was about 10 minutes but worth it. I agree with the previous reviews that said the poutine could use a bit more gravy. I was impressed with the chunky, squeaky curds. Love that the fries were well done and crispy...and I was thrilled with the good amount of crispy small bits!

                                                                                                          Overall, a much better poutine than Smoke's and we'll definitely be back.

                                                                                                          1. re: LovesToEat

                                                                                                            Sounds great. Any idea about how late it's open? I've driven by a couple of times in the vicinity of midnight, but no luck.

                                                                                                            1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                              it's only been open once out of all the times i've driven by

                                                                                                              they close way too early

                                                                                                              1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                                The sign out front says open Sun, Tue & Wed noon to 9 pm. Thu to Sat noon to 3:30 am. Closed Mon.

                                                                                                                1. re: Dimbulb

                                                                                                                  Oh, excellent. Thanks for the info, dimbulb. They still don't have the website up and running.

                                                                                                          2. I went there yesterday afternoon and loved it. Ok, it didn't remind me of my favourite QC poutines but it was good in a "trying to be a fancy poutine spot" kind of way.

                                                                                                            Fries were great. Not too crispy, not too soggy and hot out of the deep fryer!

                                                                                                            I was traumatized by the gravy at Smoke's and found Poutini's gravy to be miles ahead.

                                                                                                            As for the curds, I don't speak in terms of squeakiness but I found them good and well distributed throughout my poutine.

                                                                                                            Would I go back? Sure if I'm in the neighbourhood but if I'm not the blue chip truck near City Hall can also fulfill my poutine cravings.

                                                                                                            More details about my trip here: http://whatsonmyplate.wordpress.com/2...

                                                                                                            P.S. To the folks at Poutini's please update your website. Hours of operation and a phone number would be fantastic. You caused some mild panic for me on Friday night when I was trying to figure out if you were open for Saturday lunch. Thanks.

                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: wontonfm

                                                                                                              In response to your review, by squeakiness, we mean exactly that: the curds squeak in your mouth. The first time I had fresh fresh curds and bit into them, I felt like I was butchering a family of field mice in my mouth. It's incredibly amusing (at least to me) and in my experience, squeaky curds = fresh curds = much tastier and better textured curds.

                                                                                                              1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                My first trip to Poutini's was Friday night. Very good experience. Great fries, good-tasting, but not really squeaky curds and plenty of tasty gravy (the server ladled 2 full ladles on the poutine). I enjoyed the whole package, but my two companions insisted that we try the poutine from the Blue Chip (Mr. Tasty Fries) truck at City Hall. So we went there last night.

                                                                                                                I preferred Poutini's, but my companions favoured Mr. Tasty Fries' poutine. The chip truck had less well-done fries, but good, nevertheless. Curds were actually squeakier at the truck. Gravy was darker (thicker?) and more flavourful, but I still preferred the taste of Poutini's gravy. Looks like we won't be going together for poutine--or we'll be making 2 stops when we do...at least the two sources are both on Queen W.

                                                                                                                1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                                  Oh no, Poutini's curds have already lost their squeak? I hope this isn't true... It would be just like Smoke's.

                                                                                                                  1. re: tjr

                                                                                                                    mine weren't very squeaky on my visit either

                                                                                                                    1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                      stopped by late on tuesday night for the traditional.... solid poutine... for toronto.....

                                                                                                                      the cheese wasn't very squeaky either, but the gravy was decent and the fries were well done.

                                                                                                                      met the owners and they seemed like they were still testing out a few things. and so far, it's a cash only joint...

                                                                                                                    2. re: tjr

                                                                                                                      I read this entire thread last wednesday and decided to stop by that night. Never knew about the importance of the squeak before. But as I bit into my first curd I listened intently...and indeed there was a squeak. This was a great novelty to me. Other than that I was unimpressed. The gravy was bland and could be thicker in my opinion. The fries were okay, but not great. Its got to be better than this if I'm going to pay $7 and harden my arteries to boot.

                                                                                                                      1. re: tjr

                                                                                                                        Poutini's gets their curds in every two days. So if you hit them on one of the off-days, the curds might not be as squeaky.

                                                                                                                        1. re: gregclow

                                                                                                                          Been there thrice now and each time I was served noisy curds. Is there a particular volume of squeak that is optimal? I don't know if they were as loud as Quebec poutine but they were audible. I mean, it wasn't like I had Motorhead in my mouth but it was probably at least Cheap Trick.

                                                                                                                    3. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                      Thanks for the definition on squeakiness. Knowig that, I don't think the curds at Poutini's were particularly squeaky.

                                                                                                                      WON

                                                                                                                  2. Poutini's: Round 2. Was back at Poutini's last week for another try. This was after a disappointing first visit during their first week (at which time they had burned the beef gravy - I had the veggie instead). So, the beef gravy, to my taste, is way way better than the veggie. Much more flavour. As well, they now seem to be putting more gravy on an order. The experience this time was much better. They still go a little light on the gravy, but overall their was more of a mashing of ingredients - the cheese curds, fries and gravy are doing a much better tango. On a side note, the curds were not squeaky this time round, but personally, I don't really care about that. Up the gravy serving by another 20%, dial up the flavour quotient by 10% and they will be there.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: omar kasi

                                                                                                                        As much as i like a squeak, it is a secondary factor to good fries, good gravy, and good cheese. good review.

                                                                                                                      2. Finally went last Friday, around midnight. Hipster contingent in full effect, that is to be expected. The staff was extremely friendly, you'd think they would be miserable dealing w/ all these drunken hipsters but they really are nice people.

                                                                                                                        The layout was very exposed brick and wood, I liked it a lot. I also appreciated the bare bones menu, so far so good....

                                                                                                                        On to the star of the show, the fries itself are definitely good. Care has been taken to ensure crispness, even after soaking in gravy. Now the gravy is the weak point, as discussed by others, it lacks any oomph. I had to throw some salt and pepper into the mix to rescue more flavour. Perhaps the bones needs to be roasted longer, less dilution, less reliance on roux thickener and more on simple reduction. Even more s&p would bring a drastic improvement, as the gravy needs to taste too salty on its own.

                                                                                                                        Finally the cheese curds tasted good, but lacked the requisite squeak. From reviews on other sites (blogto/now) it appears they source them from Maple Dale. Perhaps they order too much at once and thus use curds that are more than a day old, very likely. Also, they do offer a "double" curds option for those complaining of the lack of curds.

                                                                                                                        The price point should be a dollar lower realistically, but given the high rent of the area, I understand it. I won't go out of my way to have it, but if in the area and requiring something to settle the booze, I'll go back. I appreciate their genuine effort...

                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: aser

                                                                                                                          So it's not worth the drive then?

                                                                                                                          Goodddd! I am giving up on going.. I went two times and twice it was closed....

                                                                                                                          Can you recommend something else better that is closer in Toronto/downtown core?

                                                                                                                          (not smoke's please)

                                                                                                                          1. re: aser

                                                                                                                            I guess I am a 'hipster' cause I frequent the Drake and the Social on mondays and fridays/sat...

                                                                                                                            I agree with most that, layered curds and more gravy (and a little more seasoning in the gravy, but just a touch) would make it perfect, to mach the tasty fries. My friends all enjoyed it. Very good portion size. I grew up in Ottawa, and this was a tasty reminder of skiing in quebec and enjoying a good poutine. I grew up buying curds from corner stores, tasty and 'squeaky' and I can't complain about the ones on the poutine.

                                                                                                                            Pics:
                                                                                                                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/lricharz...
                                                                                                                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/lricharz...

                                                                                                                            1. re: flying101

                                                                                                                              isn't the first rule of being a hipster is an ardent denial of being labeled as a "hipster"? I think Drake and Social have been overrun w/ 905's for a while. The hipsters have all moved further west to Wrongbar, Stones Place, etc....

                                                                                                                              anyway, to answer hippo, the classic poutine isn't a strong point in Toronto. Most people defer to the far east chip truck at City Hall on Queen, some people have mentioned already in one of the replies above.

                                                                                                                              1. re: aser

                                                                                                                                aser - 100% correct. A self-identifying hipster ejects himself headfirst from hipster society. This also applies to the hipster's ancestors - the scenester.

                                                                                                                                More importantly, you actually have to believe you're not a hipster.

                                                                                                                                I've had the pout at the chip truck, but perhaps the wrong one.. I've never been impressed.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                  The truck that comes up in discussions regarding poutine isn't very good anyways.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjr

                                                                                                                                    when it comes to chip trucks i prefer don juan's at the metro convention centre. They do wicked fries but gravy is from a can and the cheese curds are just okay but i can forgive them both flaws for the insane price tag which is $5 for a massive portion

                                                                                                                          2. Woe is me.

                                                                                                                            Fries were okay
                                                                                                                            Curds were good
                                                                                                                            Gravy was kind of flavourless (requested beef gravy)
                                                                                                                            I asked them to layer the curds, and they did.

                                                                                                                            Fries seemed to have been salted before being mixed. (I could be wrong about this)
                                                                                                                            Staff was very nice
                                                                                                                            Space was nice
                                                                                                                            Value is not excellent at all - but their rent must be totally ridiculous (In fact, this could have been easily remedied by overstuffing the container - instead of barely filling it)

                                                                                                                            Sigh.

                                                                                                                            As previously stated, Stampede (even with their absurd vegan gravy) is still the best I've found in Toronto.

                                                                                                                            I was also stunned to see them WEIGHING the cheese curds. This is taking things a little too far, and may be the crux of the entire problem -- it is a poutine devoid of love.

                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                              It's unfortunate that most times love cannot pay the bills. Perhaps they've had problems with over-zealous/incompetent employees which has caused them to lose money? If you lose money for each poutine or if each one comes out different you sell then you might as well be running a soup kitchen.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Blueicus

                                                                                                                                I remember seeing an employee training sign at a Pizza Hut years ago which said something like "If you put too much cheese on today and just the regular amount tomorrow, the customer will feel shortchanged. If you don't put enough cheese on today, the customer will feel shortchanged. If you put the regular amount today, and not enough tomorrow, the customer will feel shortchanged. Far better to put the right amount on every time, so the customer expectations are fulfilled". (I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist.)

                                                                                                                                So, I'm with you, Blue. Until the employees have worked long enough and hard enough during busy periods that they instinctively know what the right amount is, I don't have any problem with them measuring the curds.

                                                                                                                                1. re: FrankDrakman

                                                                                                                                  Perhaps they're measuring to ensure that people don't recieve too little rather than measuring to make sure they don't get too much. There's a chance they're not trying to screw people over but of course the first reaction is skeptical cynicism. I really don't see the problem with knowing that they are trying to guarantee consistency and control. But I guess they don't measure in Montreal so....

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                                    Um, wasn't that what I was saying?

                                                                                                                              2. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                Poutini's offering may lack seasoning (I had to add plenty of salt & pepper in order to amplify the flavour of the gravy), but I wouldn't agree that it is 'devoid of love'. On my visit there, to try poutine for the very first time, the staff were very much into what they were serving. They were positively enthused about the whole venture, from the design of the space to the compostable containers & cutlery. Upon being asked for feedback, I mentioned that I found the gravy undersalted, and they explained that they had received requests from people asking them to cut the salt - so they were in the process of tinkering with the salt levels. That to me shows they are definitely putting a lot of 'love' into their business.

                                                                                                                                My curds were layered without me having to ask, btw. And I found the portion more than ample (I was actually stuffed).

                                                                                                                                As someone who had never had poutine before, I enjoyed the experience (although it's strictly a once a year food! Seriously, I needed a nap after eating it). I have nothing to compare it to of course - so who knows, maybe if I ever have the hallowed Quebec poutine, I'll realise how sadly mistaken I was.

                                                                                                                                1. re: dxs

                                                                                                                                  Even if it's a little strange to measure the curds, I see your point about consistency. (I don't actually agree, but I see the point.) However, there's a big step between measuring in a cup, and measuring in a cup and then weighing the curds.. An extra 10g is not going to break the bank.

                                                                                                                                  With regards to layering, I was told that they layer them when you order extra curds, but seeing as it wasn't busy, they would oblige me.

                                                                                                                                  I am glad to hear that they're tinkering with recipes and whatnot -- buy a pouch of powdered st hubert sauce. Cook it.. make something similar.

                                                                                                                                  Anyhow, this place is out of the way for me, so I'm in no way their market. And I liked the design and the service.. just not the poutine.

                                                                                                                                  The subject of love I'll leave of on - love means something different to all of us.

                                                                                                                                  Side note -- Miles ahead of Smokes on top of BB.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                    p.s. I did get the feeling it would make a good baked poutine (gratinée)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                      Just ate a swiss chalet poutine -- came with a tiny little container of sauce and a tiny little container of gravy -- added them, then asked for another set. - still not quite enough sauce or cheese :(

                                                                                                                                      A little too salty, curds not squeaky - but.. pretty good. $5

                                                                                                                                      Not sure if I preferred this to poutini because my expectations were high at poutini, and ridiculously low at SC.

                                                                                                                                      On another note -- next time I order SC, I'm asking for poutine sauce, not Chalet sauce --- waaaay better.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                        I saw poutine sauce and Swiss Chalet sauce prominently on display in a Metro . About a dollar a can. They had fresh curds (Ontario), yellow and white. They were in a package, so I couldn't test for squeak.
                                                                                                                                        But I do believe I have the makings for poutine at home, now that I've learned the EZ Robuchon method of fries.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                          poutine at home is easy and delicious.

                                                                                                                                          The powdered st hubert sauce (available somewhere for sure) is the best pre-made poutine gravy I've found.

                                                                                                                                2. I was disappointed by Poutini's. It seems that NOBODY in Toronto is able to produce the dark, mellow, nutty sweet fries you get in Montreal. Montreal fries are crispy but they're not crunchy. If you were to form a pile of plain fries from La Banquise, for example, it would just look like a heap of brown corduroy, but a pile of Toronto fries always resembles a golden haystack—sharp, hard, light-coloured fries. (I think this rigidity negatively affects curd and sauce dispersal, but I have further investigations to complete on this matter.)

                                                                                                                                  So Poutini's and everybody else reckon it's "double-frying" that does the trick. Yes, it's true that most if not all places in Montreal double-fry, but at Poutini's double-frying meant the fries tasted bitter and their texture was very hard and dry. Fries in Montreal have a texture somewhere between pasta and tender beef. You could break through them with the side of your fork, for example. This texture is what elevates poutine beyond a mechanical mixture of fries, sauce, and curds into a cohesive, complimentary dish that's actually closer to a casserole than a base with "toppings."

                                                                                                                                  Smoke's is worse, I'd have to say. Pale, salty pub fries, the kind that suck every drop of moisture out of your body and make you gasp for beer, as the trick goes. (Appalling gravy too. Who in their right mind thinks the astringency of rosemary would complement bitter fries?)

                                                                                                                                  I've never heard a single reasonable explanation for this baffling difference. Do Ontario poutine joints assume their clients will not "accept" the unfamiliar Quebec fries? Are Quebec fries made in horse fat or something else that Toronto's meddlesome food authority would not abide?

                                                                                                                                  My suspicion is that Montreal fries are cooked at a lower temperature and so don't become hard like Ontario fries. This low temperature also has a very positive effect on the overall palatability of the dish because it allows the flavour of the sauce to leap out. Extremely high temperature food has no taste, simply because your tastebuds can't really cope with that much heat. More crucially, low temperature keeps the curds from disintegrating completely. Some people (probably Torontonians) claim that they "like it when it gets all melty" but in that case why wouldn't you just have melted cheese on your fries?

                                                                                                                                  If all it takes is simply lowering the temperature of the fryers you'd think at least one or two clever Toronto joints would have caught on. No, there's something else at play here.

                                                                                                                                  I'm out of time so I'm not even really going to get into sauce except to say that beef gravy has a higher tendency to congeal. I don't know much about collagens or elastins or proteins or whatever. Maybe Torontonians choose a beef gravy out of stubbornness, because it reflects the rosbif-eating cultural ancestry of Establishment Toronto and That's How We Do Things Here. Wink wink.

                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Delmare

                                                                                                                                    Try deep frying fries at a low temp and check the results you get. In a word, greasy.

                                                                                                                                    As for these fabled Quebecois french fries you refer to, I've had plenty of poutine the proper way, I.E. from roadside stands in Quebec, and I've never come across these fairy tale fries.

                                                                                                                                    Wink wink yourself.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Delmare

                                                                                                                                        Yes, I had La Banquise early this month. Overall I liked it, though I thought the fries were nothing special and the gravy was weak. "Chicken gravy! Chicken gravy! It's got to be chicken gravy!"

                                                                                                                                        In the immortal (though slightly modified) words of Lewis Black:
                                                                                                                                        "Chicken Gravy? Why do you bother? Non-flavoured sissy-pansy bullshit!"

                                                                                                                                        We had poutine at three places in Montreal, the first two we sought out while the last we just happened to come across it looking for a patio: La Banquise, Au Pied de Cochon and Les 3 Brasseurs. As expected, L3B was by far the worst, no big surprise so let's move on. LaB was good, particularly the curds but the fries were nothing special and the gravy, weak, weak, weak. APdC was by far, though not unexpectedly, the best largely due to the fries being fried in duck fat and the gravy having some effort put into it though to be honest I still prefer a hearty beef gravy.

                                                                                                                                        After this Montreal experience I would tweak Caplansky's poutine by having fresh and large curds and making the gravy a little more liquidy. The gravy has awesome flavour it's just a little too thick.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: lister

                                                                                                                                          Err... I've never found the gravy/sauce at somewhere like La Banquise "weak." Unless, of course, you prefer gloppy, coagulated, absurdly-salty granulated mix served up at chip trucks in Toronto or something.

                                                                                                                                          Would you serve X'mas turkey with beef gravy because turkey gravy is too "weak?"

                                                                                                                                          They curds at La Banquise are better than the curds I've had at any establishment serving poutine in Toronto (and I've tried most, if not all). The fries are better poutine fries than anywhere I've had in Toronto.

                                                                                                                                          Caplansky's poutine has great fries, bad curds, and a gravy not appropriate for a poutine.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: tjr

                                                                                                                                            its funny you say that, because some poutine shops in Mtl (and Toronto, natch) offer crazy types of poutine. meatballs on it, hotdogs, etc etc.

                                                                                                                                            seems like poutine is up for interpretation. ask Jamie Kennedy.

                                                                                                                                            so knocking Caplansky's poutine, which i had last weekend, to me is strange. i thought his poutine is an all-around winner. and when i top Caplansky poutine with malt vinegar - something i always want to/need to do when i have any sort of fries to eat - the combination with the gravy is a winner.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: atomeyes

                                                                                                                                              Of course, but they aren't "traditional" poutines, and nowhere in Montreal or Quebec would call them such -- they're just offered for variation. Jamie Kennedy doesn't make poutine; he makes fries topped with cheese and braised meats, just like Bymark's lobster poutine is not a traditional poutine either. If JK wants to call his dish (which are generally very good) a poutine, fine, but it isn't anymore than grated cheese on a baked sweet potato with alfredo sauce is a poutine.

                                                                                                                                              I don't like Caplansky's gravy in a poutine (though I like it separately); I'd prefer it as a sauce for something else, even though it is more like a stew of some sort. I also don't like "Michigan" poutines. Again, Caplansky's has never had squeaky curds, which, to me, is an important part of a poutine. I'd also never add vinegar to a poutine, though.

                                                                                                                                              When we talk about anything on the board, there are two questions generally:

                                                                                                                                              1. Is it good?
                                                                                                                                              2. Is it authentic?

                                                                                                                                              If it's good, the authenticity doesn't matter as long as it isn't promoted as being authentic. If it's not good and inauthentic, well, look at most of the Mexican food in Toronto.

                                                                                                                                              Poutine is incredibly simple to make. Fries, curds, gravy. That's why people wonder why it's so difficult for Toronto restaurants to serve a good, traditional poutine. If I wanted something else, I'd get Bymark's lobster poutine, which is incredible. It just isn't poutine.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: tjr

                                                                                                                                                Traditional, but only dating from 1978?
                                                                                                                                                Hardly pommes Duchesse.

                                                                                                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine

                                                                                                                                                That is a stretch, meanwhile the poutine is still being invented and adjusted.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                                  "invented and adjusted" aka "a play on"

                                                                                                                                                  the dish is established. no more invention required. adjustments, are just that, adjustments, more likely in high end restaurants using high end ingredients. 30 years is plenty for something to be called traditional.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm not against adjustments, as long as they're good. but the basic dish is firmly established, just not in Toronto.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                        Fries are variable, all year round, based on on variety, what's available, and how long stored.
                                                                                                                                        It is impossible to get a consistent supply of potatoes.
                                                                                                                                        This affects any fry place, but maybe less in Quebec, if they prefer to stay with their own produce.
                                                                                                                                        The best fries are made from Kennebec. Had any lately?
                                                                                                                                        I haven't either.

                                                                                                                                    1. I tried Poutini for the first time last night. Curds good. Fries okay. Gravy lacked flavour..

                                                                                                                                      Nothing special at all. Won't be heading back any time soon.

                                                                                                                                      1. You guys might think I'm crazy but I tried Poutini's again a week or two ago and the gravy actually tasted FISHY. Yes, like actual fish...

                                                                                                                                        I don't know if this happened because they maybe burned the gravy or what, but it was really not very good.

                                                                                                                                        Double curds option is nice though... Man they need to seriously do something about the gravy

                                                                                                                                        come to think of it, i had two disappointments that day. I tried Costa Verde that same afternoon and it was not very good as well... dry and bland chicken...

                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                          Yecch!!!! I would rather stick a nail in my eye than go to this overpriced dump. Heading Northbound this weekend for some real deal pootin' and pogo....btw, Duckdown, did you ever try Big Smoke for some pork?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                                                              Nope, what is big smoke?

                                                                                                                                              Is that the place someone linked to where it looked like a catering operation only?

                                                                                                                                              I lost sight of that thread...whatever happened to it I wonder?

                                                                                                                                              Let me know, I'd love to try it out

                                                                                                                                              cheers!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                I can find out for you...you're right I lost that thread too..must have been deleted for some reason....I personally know who they are affiliated with so will send my contact an email to see what their plans are....I have not met him yet as it has been a busy summer for me but plan to be introduced in the near future....

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ebay3392

                                                                                                                                                  cool, if the mods wont allow it discussed but you hear something back, shoot me an email at duckdown@inbox.lv

                                                                                                                                                  thanks ebay3382

                                                                                                                                                  cheerS!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                    Okay, so first a word from our sponsor... I bought curds at Metro (on Queen Mary) and they sucked. boo.

                                                                                                                                                    Not sure if everyone in QC double fries fries, but it seems to me you're just talking about a process called blanching or something like that -- a very quick frying before the actual frying.

                                                                                                                                                    Also, the wiki article referenced so many crappy poutine places, it made me wish I could cry more easily.

                                                                                                                                                    --
                                                                                                                                                    So, I googled it to make sure I wasn't making anything up.

                                                                                                                                                    "Blanching can also describe deep frying in oil at a lower temperature as with the initial cooking of chips."

                                                                                                                                                    --
                                                                                                                                                    Also, I quite liked the JK, Baked Potato, Poutine comparison. Good form.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                      Double frying is no secret to success. Anyone who has tried the Robuchon method, of single frying to completion, in a shallow frypan, will realize how simple crispy fries can be. And there is no seepage of oil inward when the first fry cools.

                                                                                                                                                      Many restaurants and fry places double fry for convenience. They would not do this if they truly cooked to order, as Robuchon does.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                                        We have a cottage in rural Quebec. I have eaten frites at literally hundreds of roadside chip stands (usually in old school buses) throughout Quebec.

                                                                                                                                                        I really don't know how to put a finger on it, but Quebec frites are not the ultra-crisp, over salted Ontario chips. Yeah, they're a bit greasy, but they still have some bite. I taste potato, not salt. When I add in vinegar, the whole thing becomes a nice mix of starch, fat, sharp, salt, and -dare I say? - umami, which pretty much makes them ethereal in my book.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FrankDrakman

                                                                                                                                                            roadside poutine = awesome poutine. Pretty much every freakin' time.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                              Unless the roadside is Queen St. Ha.

                                                                                                                                                              But yeah, I'm jealous of anyone who gets to frequent these chip stands on a regular basis.

                                                                                                                                            2. Interesting... Eye gave this place 5 stars, then again, they devoted an entire issue to Quentin's new movie. Draw whatever conclusions you have to.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                I'd give it 3 1/2.. curds lost their squeak and gravy isn't very good at all

                                                                                                                                              2. As someone who grew-up in Quebec and loves chip trucks and poutine, I've been wanting to try Poutini!

                                                                                                                                                IMO, it's okay and better than Smoke's Poutine but there's still a lot missing.

                                                                                                                                                I think FrankDrakman's post comes close to nailing it - there's something about the fries. The fries just don't taste like Quebec chip truck fries.

                                                                                                                                                Both Poutini and Smoke cut their fries pretty thin, like frites instead of a traditional chip truck thicker/meaty cut, and I simply can't remember anyone in Quebec leaving the skin on. Tasting potato skin ruins everything for me.

                                                                                                                                                The type of oil and way they are fried might have something to do with it too.

                                                                                                                                                I'd go to either Poutini or Smoke's for a "Toronto" poutine, but it's really nowhere near as satisfying as a good Quebec poutine.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: herbs go karts

                                                                                                                                                  Chip trucks don't peel the spuds, but they remove most of the skin in a revolving drum, with an abrasive surface. This makes for a unique surface not duplicated in many restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herbs go karts

                                                                                                                                                    Poutini is definitely better than Smoke's.. Who are in process of adding at least one more location - I passed a place under construction a ways east.

                                                                                                                                                    Tried the blue chip truck poutine. Not even comment worthy.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                      Smoke's has also raised their prices and shrunk the portions since opening.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Finally tried the poutine at Poutini's and I have to say, I was HUGELY disappointed! Fries were not crisp enough and the gravy was sooo bland! The curds were good, but there wasn't enough of it or the gravy. Another thing that bothered me was that they didn't t layer the curds and the gravy. I wouldn't mind so much if the poutine was served in a shallow dish, but since the tub was so deep, what gravy there was fell all the way to the bottom, leaving the top fries naked. With all the hype out there, maybe I was expecting too much. I'd much rather get my poutine from the blue chip truck!

                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gtafoodie

                                                                                                                                                      Poutini was WAY better than the blue chip truck. In fact, I rank blue chip truck below a burger king poutine.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gtafoodie

                                                                                                                                                        Was it chicken gravy and bland? That would be authentic, and also thick cut fries that grow limp in the gravy.
                                                                                                                                                        I would be happier if a bowl or plate was offered as well as the tall tub, but here approach is authentic , just a bit chintzy.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                                          I wonder if the choice to use the tall tub was based on the options available in wanting to use a biodegradable container and still have the right size for the order they wanted to serve?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                                            Who cares about authentic if it doesn't taste good???

                                                                                                                                                            I agree: the curds were good, the fries was okay, and the gravy was beyond BLAND.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: gtafoodie

                                                                                                                                                            I know they will layer the curds if you pay for extra, but I was the only person in line when I went and they wouldn't do it for me on a regular order. A little bit of extra customer service would have been nice for that price.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CeeQueue

                                                                                                                                                              I asked them to 1) not use too much salt, and 2) layer the curds. Server was fine with both, didn't charge me a penny extra.

                                                                                                                                                              Agree the gravy is a bit bland - give it a shot of the malt vinegar, and you'll be amazed at how much better it tastes.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                                Maybe they're reading Chowhound and responding to what's being said here.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CeeQueue

                                                                                                                                                                  Except they did it for me back in August, two weeks before your post.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps some staff are doing it and some aren't. I saw a post on their Facebook site shortly after I was there, from someone who was a new employee who hadn't tried the poutine yet. It's possible she didn't appreciate how layering helps (I think she's the person who served me, based on her FB photo).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CeeQueue

                                                                                                                                                                      On last visit "layering" was an option on the menu with an additional charge. They actually use two portions of curds so you get more but it's actually a bit too much. I'd rather they just layer the regular portion.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: gtafoodie

                                                                                                                                                              Blue chip truck=good fries, ok curds, reconstituted powdered 'beef' gravy, from what I could tell. Lots of poutine for a good price, though.

                                                                                                                                                              I'm still going to Poutini for the best poutine I've had in TO.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gtafoodie

                                                                                                                                                                Your assessment is right

                                                                                                                                                                Their gravy is beef gravy I'm pretty sure.. BLAND is right. Where is the F'n flavor?

                                                                                                                                                                Curds aren't really that squeaky but are tasty; again, not enough of them, not layered, unless you pay more.

                                                                                                                                                                It probably is the best we have in Toronto but that's not saying much. They don't even approach the league of the MTL places, IMO

                                                                                                                                                              2. can't place this place is getting so much hype. 5 Stars in eye! 200 posts here. It's a decent poutine, but 5 starts and 200 posts!!

                                                                                                                                                                Maybe if they get a bit creative with their poutines they will rate a better. I still think JK's cafe gilliad has a better poutine, and I enjoy Clapenskey's.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gastronom

                                                                                                                                                                  I think there being 200+ posts here is more indicative of how much people want good poutine rather than how good Poutini's is (and also what constitutes authentic and/or good poutine). Though I think Poutini's has a really good product, there are a few issues they could address that would make it great, such as more seasoning in the gravy, layered curds on all orders (since their containers are tall and narrow) and maybe a few more stools to sit on (that was one of my complaints).

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CeeQueue

                                                                                                                                                                    Seconded.. I have a big handful of posts in this thread, and it wasn't to compliment their poutine.

                                                                                                                                                                    I am eager to try Caplansky's, but still haven't gotten around to it. Stampede still gets my vote for best poutine in TO (thus far)

                                                                                                                                                                2. Tried twice:

                                                                                                                                                                  Bland gravy,
                                                                                                                                                                  soggy fries, undercooked on one occassion
                                                                                                                                                                  great curds that really squeaked a lot (lunch on a Friday both times)

                                                                                                                                                                  portion too big (and I am a very heavy big eater)

                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Atahualpa

                                                                                                                                                                    Undercooked should be sent back.
                                                                                                                                                                    At this time of year potatoes are not quite ready to be deep fried. Only a master fryer, like JK, will have the right type available, for a price.
                                                                                                                                                                    As I understand it, a bland chicken gravy is correct for Quebec poutine, not to overpower the potato taste or the cheese curds, also bland.
                                                                                                                                                                    The three flavors come together, but a true potato taste has to be there, front and center.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                                                      When you get it to go and have your first bite the other side of Ossington, it is a little tricky to take it back.

                                                                                                                                                                      As for the gravy, there is no reason it needs to be bland just because it is chicken. I have had poutine in Quebec and none of the gravy is anywhere nearly as bland as this. Plus, I am fairly sure Poutini's gravy is beef-based (although, it is so bland as to be hard to ascertain).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Atahualpa

                                                                                                                                                                          Poutini has two gravies, one beef, one veg.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dimbulb

                                                                                                                                                                            My girlfriend likes the veg gravy better. It has more flavour. That being said, she thinks both gravies suck.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. They don't have chicken gravy at all (it's beef or veggie), and a good chicken/poutine gravy never has struck me as "bland" when I'm eating at my favorite places in Quebec..

                                                                                                                                                                      On my last visit to Poutini's I think they actually burned the gravy or something because it had a "fish" taste too it.. pretty gross.

                                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                        Duckdown. Where do you think is the best poutine in Toronto? I know you know your stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: food face

                                                                                                                                                                          Haha, hey thanks... Wish I had an answer for ya because I'm not fond of Poutini's nor Smoke's :(

                                                                                                                                                                          The chip truck at city hall is an abomination and should never ever have been mentioned...

                                                                                                                                                                          give me a bit of time to think about this... it's actually a tougher question than you'd think due to our terrible poutine situation in TO

                                                                                                                                                                          what are your favorites? just curious

                                                                                                                                                                          cheers!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                            DD.. if FF values your opinion, go try Stampede. I recommend it. Then tell FF what you think.

                                                                                                                                                                            As a side note, I spoke to someone who thought that Smokes was good. Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                                              Hmm, haven't heard of Stampede before; where abouts is it? Is it a sit-down restaurant or can I do take-out? (I usually just get take out since I'm by myself)

                                                                                                                                                                              Smokes... you know.. They started out with good curds and a decent amount of them.. The gravy wasn't really a hit with people from the get go but if they just maintained consistency on curd portioning & freshness I think it would be alot better than it is today... But the same thing goes for Poutinis; most poeple on here rant and rave about it where I find it totally bland.. Maybe it's just my tastebuds *shrug*

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the tip on Stampede; I'll add it to my "to-visit" list

                                                                                                                                                                              cheers

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                Queen & Brock.
                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't care for their burger - but only had it once.
                                                                                                                                                                                Have had poutine several times - and enjoyed it each time.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                                                  I would give smokes another try, had it this weekend for the first time since early summer. It was really good, fries were crisp (for poutine standard) and the gravy had a real nice taste to it, I think might be using a beef/chicken broth or something, because different from what it was before. Curds same as before, from what i can remember

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                                                      yeah, it's got my interest too. I wasn't a real fan of the gravy before, but my last visit to Poutini featured a gravy which wasn't very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think Smokes is the best I've had but when I'm eating it, I get in that trance like state so it must be doing something well. I get double the curds so I'm happy about it. I haven't found the gravey to be that bad but I'm not disecting it, I'm shovelling it in like a weight watcher who has lost over 40 pounds in the last year that hardly eats sinfuls anymore. Xacutti on College St. had a great poutine in terms of the fries and gravy but I don't remember the curds being plentiful.

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm thinking about trying Poutini's. The best I've had was at JP's Crispy Chips in O-town....remember that thread. Damn good times. Poutine Orgasm

                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/639906

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Poutini Deal until Sunday 23:59!
                                                                                                                                                                          https://www.wagjag.com/

                                                                                                                                                                          $10 for Two Large Brunch Poutines and Coffees at Poutini's House of Poutine (Reg. $25.56)
                                                                                                                                                                          # Expires March 31 2011
                                                                                                                                                                          # Valid for 2 brunch poutines (flavours below) + 2 coffees on Sunday (11am - 4pm) or $10 of credit at any time
                                                                                                                                                                          # Limit 3 per customer; can buy more as gifts. Includes tax. No cash/credit back. Voucher has no cash value.

                                                                                                                                                                          Honestly, I'm not sure if poutine and coffee really go together, but there you are. It's brunch, so I don't know how good this would be. Check the wagjag site for more details. Still ... $10 isn't bad!

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                                                                                                                                                                          Poutini
                                                                                                                                                                          1112 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jlunar

                                                                                                                                                                            Wow! That's an amazing deal! Thanks for posting.
                                                                                                                                                                            I'm also not sure about poutine for brunch, but with the brunch combos available (bacon, eggs, etc), it ought to be worth a try.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I went today to try their breakfast poutine.... Very tasty
                                                                                                                                                                            Here is a pic http://www.flickr.com/photos/lricharz...

                                                                                                                                                                            Although it is probably a hear attack in a bowl... they come in two sizes, small and reg (the small should be more then enough for anyone (1 egg vs 2) I went for the large just cause... next time if I am in the area on a sunday I would go for the small.

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: flying101

                                                                                                                                                                              okay, your previous photo of matzo pizza looked yummmmmy.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                                                thanks! kinda ridiculous that I decided to put bacon on it, but well worth it :p

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Terrible, terrible, terrible poutine. I was excited to see this opening up around the corner but was really disappointed, so disappointed that I actually signed up to Chowhounds to post this:

                                                                                                                                                                              Gravy: I'm not a purist. I don't really care if the gravy is beef or chicken. I grew up in Ottawa and have eaten plenty of good poutine all over Quebec. I have encountered both La Belle Province-style chicken gravy (generally in the Montreal area) and New York Fries-style dark beef gravy (more so in rural/outaouais/ski lodge type situations). Either one can be good. This beef gravy just isn't. The first time I went the gravy was sooo bland. I didn't finish the poutine (which I can assure you is a first) and I decided then that I wouldn't go back. Well, last weekend I gave it another try. The gravy had a tiny bit more flavour, but this was mainly because they just seem to be using a lot of black pepper now. I still found it pretty bland and didn't finish my poutine.

                                                                                                                                                                              Fries: Not terrible, but not great. I prefer mine very crispy and found them a little underdone, but that might just be a personal preference.

                                                                                                                                                                              Curds: Good, I guess? I don't really understand the obsession with curds that squeek. Least important part of a poutine IMO. As long as it is curds and not shredded cheese it's all good in my books.

                                                                                                                                                                              If you are in the area and don't mind somewhat excessively applied beef gravy and shoestring fries (I prefer chunky) I would recommend Stampede Bison Grill over Poutinis.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Stampede Bison Grill
                                                                                                                                                                              5 Brock Ave, Toronto, ON M6K2K6, CA

                                                                                                                                                                              Poutini
                                                                                                                                                                              1112 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: William Taft

                                                                                                                                                                                The problem with the gravy is that it's a VEGETABLE gravy. Just a weak attempt to cater to the eco-organic crowd.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sbug206

                                                                                                                                                                                  They offer 3 gravies, and by 'default' they do not put the veggie gravy on unless you request it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  @William Taft
                                                                                                                                                                                  I guess poutini isn't very consistent... I tend to find the fries over cooked, and a little too dark for my preference, but I can agree with you on the gravy, I have had to sometimes add some salt to taste to compensate for the gravy, I because they it from scratch depending on who is seasoning it could vary in consistency?

                                                                                                                                                                                  I would still recommend trying their breakfast poutines, as it lacks the gravy you despise, you might enjoy it more.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: flying101

                                                                                                                                                                                    The problem is not that it's a vegetable gravy. Stampede's gravy is VEGAN (and excellent).

                                                                                                                                                                                    The problem is that once you cross the QC/ON border, somehow almost everyone forgets how to mix fries, cheese and gravy. It's really not rocket science.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                                                      mikefly, I know you are probably not 100% serious but that's not true. There's a lot of good poutine in Eastern and Northern Ontario. In my experience, wherever chipwagons are to be found there should be good poutine. I've found the cutoff for good poutine to be around Belleville.

                                                                                                                                                                                      But yeah - it's really not rocket science. The problem in Toronto is gravy, not curds (as some dilettantes would have us believe). I think they are trying too hard to follow some misguided notion of "authentic" by making their own gravy from scratch. They should really learn to walk before they run. If someone wants to bring genuine poutine here, it's as easy as figuring out where La Belle Province sources their gravy, which I'm pretty certain comes from a mix, and buying it. It's poutine: trashy fast food. 95% of the poutine in quebec is made using some sort of crappy instant gravy. They need to stop overcomplicating what should be a very very simple dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: William Taft

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd put the cut-off point somewhere around Gore's Landing,

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: William Taft

                                                                                                                                                                                          WT, I was serious, but you raise a valid point - I am sure decent poutine can be found somewhere near a dairy in Northern Ontario.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll be going to Muskoka this once this summer, and to Killarney for Labour day - happy to take suggestions for poutine, or an awesome burger joint, or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                          As to the gravy, St Hubert makes an excellent powdered poutine gravy. But to be honest, I don't think gravy is rocket science either. (I also think Belle Province is not the place to be emulating - roadside stand, anywhere in rural Quebec - emulate them.)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mikefly

                                                                                                                                                                                            I've seen cans of St. Hubert chicken gravy at Metro in Pickering.
                                                                                                                                                                                            The Costco poutine has fresh curds and chicken gravy, probably from a powder, so it's authentic except for the frozen potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd like a report on fish and chips from the stand in Killarney, as I may not get there this summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                                                                                                              Have heard the stand is good - I don't like fish, so can't really help! Really prefer the St Hubert powder to the can. (weird, I know)