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Recent thread on Show Dogs drifted into poutine discussion and its infiltration into the Bay Area. Found this link in the right hand column irresistible.

Show Dogs
1020 Market St, San Francisco, CA

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  1. So reportedly they have poutine at Oh My Dawg in Oakland. Anybody tried it?

    Salt House in SF has something they call poutine on the menu, but it's made with cheddar, not fresh curd.

    Salt House
    545 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105

    2 Replies
      1. re: wolfe

        Just had to try the Oh My Dawg version. Their's is a fun rendition with the requisite salt, grease, and calorie overlaod. The owner explained why and how its not a pure pedigree Québécois Poutine - the gravy is sweet, the cheese is jack... to which I say, Poutine should never have a pedigree. it is a mongrel mashup. And this one is delicious. Took me no time to polish it off.

        O My Dawg- CLOSED
        463 2nd St, Oakland, CA

    1. Going to Flora next week - saw it's on the menu under starters, cheese curds included. If we try it, I'll report back.

      1900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

      1. OK, I'm obsessing. Since few people here will have any idea what poutine is, I've dug up some links. Feast our eyes on this: http://www.chow.com/photos/380354 Which was posted in this thread: http://www.chow.com/photos/380354

        1 Reply
        1. Just went to Salt House today for lunch and they had poutine as an appetizer. It was okay, not necessarily something I'd get again but good to try.

          2 Replies
          1. re: skwid

            Speaking as a Canadian, you really need to be drunk to enjoy your first poutine. It's only then that the combination makes sense, after that initial one though you will crave it no matter what state you're in. So I really want to try some of these bay area one's, but I just don't know if I can set myself up for that kind of disappointment, but the craving is strong.

            1. re: Piperdown

              I speak as a Canadian and I heartily disagree. I thoroughly enjoyed my first Quebecois poutine absolutely sober.


          2. In the new issue of the New Yorker, Calvin Trillin does a pretty exhaustive "research" piece for anyone who wants to read before they try. Maybe this should be a media post but it seems to fit here for this topic.

            1. You can get poutine at Gregoire in Berkeley (this month only). I'm trying it right now and it's definitely the real thing, with gravy and cheese curds.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Agent 510

                Thank you so much for this tip! I just had some from the Oakland branch of Gregoire--the best poutine I've had outside Quebec, including homemade. It was kind of "California style" with way less cheese and gravy than at, say, La Belle Province . . . which, surprisingly, was kind of an improvement! Very crunchy and delightful fries, just the right consistency.

                1. re: Constant Velocity

                  The fries were really good -- crunchy, salty, delicous. And the curds were right. But I was dissapointed by the proportions, especially the paltry amount of cheese. There was so little gravy, I couldn't tell you anything about it. At least the crunchy fries remained good and crunchy.

                1. re: wolfe

                  As listed in that article, Jamber , a new wine-bar near Zero Zero with about 20 wines on tap and 12 beers on tap, has poutine. Their version has a whitish housemade gravy. For that, it gets points for not being the MSG bomb common to poutine places, but at the same time it has a weak base that lacks depth and umami. Not much gravy either.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    Have tried the ones at Wayfare, Salt House and Jasper's. The salt house was the most wrong with almost everything wrong, the fries too soggy, the wrong kind of cheese, the curds were wrong in texture, addition of cheese sauce etc. Wayfare was so over salty which is crazy since poutine is all about the salt. again the curds tasted off. Jasper's isn't a poutine really so it sucks as a poutine but as fried with gravy or cheese fries it doesn't suck. The worst poutine I've had in SF was at Citizen's Band. The gravy was bland and lumpy, the curds were inedible and the fries managed to be both undercooked in side and overcooked on the outside.

                    It's kind of funny that any greasy joint late night joint in Montreal makes better poutine than any I've had in SF.

                    1. re: tjinsf

                      Yeah, it really makes no sense why we would have inferior poutine to Montreal or why restaurants are experimenting with a food largely unfamiliar to SF in the first place.

                      I'm all about advancing a traditional food to the next level (e.g., Au Pied Du Cochon's foie gras poutine is unreal), but why make a novel twist when the finished product isn't even as good as fries topped with a package of Knorr gravy and local cheese curds (there are a few suppliers in the Bay).

                      1. re: hyperbowler

                        Have you tried the curds from Oakdale at the Sunday Marin Farmers Market?
                        It also sounds as if the supply will not satisfy the demand until it , the supply, gets better.

                  2. One of the tenant pop-ups in San Jose's San Pedro Square Market is Little Chef counter. They do a poutine with short ribs. A little less salt and they would be great.

                      1. In an article describing various places with "stuff" on fries, some gourmetish takes on poutine were listed that hadn't been mentioned in this thread: Fins on the Roof, Greenburger, Kronnenburger, and Zoe's .


                        (I loved the, inaccurate for so many reasons, chestnut that Limon's "lomito saltado is a Peruvian-Japanese fusion take on poutine." That said, I've previously pondered sneaking in cheese curds and a creme brulee torch to Limon... )

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: hyperbowler

                          I'm not even from Quebec, but some of those "variations" are really making me wonder as a Canuck and poutine lover. I'm sure (?) they taste good but.. are they really poutine? Jamber looks like it might be worth a try.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            Yeah, that's why I introduced the article with the term "stuff" rather than poutine :-) It's one thing to adapt things to local tastes and ingredients, but getting fries and gravy wrong, two items you can easily get in SF, makes no sense.

                            Jamber's wasn't that good (see my comments up thread).

                          2. Dang Canadians have all the fun First the Chow Supertaster likes their Kit Kats better and now poutine soda.


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: wolfe

                              Yeah, but do they have meat and salad flavored bottled water? I highly doubt it, eh!

                              1. re: PolarBear

                                Better than that.
                                Pizza Hut Canada announced the arrival of the Cheesy Beef Poutine pizza, a layered carb-fat-carb monstrosity that takes classic Canadian drunk food poutine (French fries topped with cheese curds and slathered with gravy) and transforms it into a pizza with "shaved seasoned steak" and mozzarella.

                                1. re: PolarBear

                                  Perhaps not, but at least the beer tastes like beer.

                              2. Kronnerburger In SF, soon Oakland, has "fries with beef cheek gravy and cheddar cheese curds."

                                The fries have a good crunch and there's a large amount of an overly thick and intense beef cheek gravy. There aren't enough "cheddar curds" to balance everything out though. I'm going to add this to the list of places that are overthinking.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: hyperbowler

                                  BernalKC mentions "crunch" upthread and its repeated here (hyper).
                                  I can understand the American appeal for crisp, not-soggy fries, but this is not a benchmark for good poutine (at least in Quebec).
                                  The hallmark of poutine and its lesser known cousin, fries with gravy, is gravy-enriched, soft, oozy sogginess.

                                  1. re: porker

                                    I would think that crispy fries would have a better flavor, even after getting soggy. Either way, Kronnerburger's fries by themselves are worth getting, but I wouldn't recommend the poutine for Americans or Canadians. Good burger too.

                                    1. re: hyperbowler

                                      "crispy fries would have a better flavor, even after getting soggy"
                                      Well, I see your point; not good to start out with soggy fries. I agree, somethings wrong in the prep.
                                      I assume starting with properly cooked fries (generally crisp), but after a time, with the gravy, they'll get soggy.
                                      This is a good attribute for poutine. Most people I know will wait a bit before digging in 1. to help the cheese melt, 2. to get the gravy softening up the fries.

                                      1. re: porker

                                        Thanks, those are great tips!

                                        What's the deal with cheese melting in poutine? I seem to remember the curds in Montreal/Quebec City being only kind of melted. Is that consensus, or just what I encountered? I like it that way--- you get the full effect of the cheese's saltiness and chewiness.

                                        1. re: hyperbowler

                                          As mentioned in this thread, poutine comes in many forms (spaghetti sauce poutine, fois gras poutine, etc), but theres only one traditional type: topped with cheese curds then gravy.
                                          You're right, the curds generally don't fully melt, but only soften up a bit.
                                          Lotsa places replace the curd with shredded mozzarella, which gives a full-on melt (some people prefer this, others do not).

                                          1. re: porker

                                            I finally had some poutine that I think was fairly traditional (in Montpelier, Vermont -- which after all is not that far from Montreal). However, the cheese curds had definitely melted, while I was expecting them to be a bit more ... well defined. Regardless, it was just the kind of perfect comfort food dish of "gravy-enriched, soft, oozy sogginess" that I had imagined.

                                2. Puotine comes to Berkeley!


                                  ETA: the website doesn't show the Berkeley location, but Berkeleyside posted about it today.


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                    It's at 2518 Durant, half a block from Telegraph, right in the middle of the Southside student ghetto. Interesting place to choose for a first US location of a large chain.

                                    1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                      If they follow their standard formula, that means there will be a place with Montreal Smoked Meat too (their's isn't very good, but beggars can't be choosers outside of pop-ups)

                                    2. Trader Joes has poutine in their frozen food dept.,....having never had the real thing, I can only say I was surprised I enjoyed it so much...I fried the potatoes and didn't use the oven...so the fries were extra crisp, the gravy was not bad, and the cheese curds squeaked when I bit into them...now I'm curious about the real thing!!!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                        Thank you all for keeping this thread alive. I'm always tickled when I see it's been added to.

                                        Yeah, the TJ's gravy is not authentic, but it's tasty. The fries are good, and the squeaky cheese excellent. I usually reserve half the fries for a better fries-to-cheese ratio.

                                        Augie's Smoke Meat has been doing pop-ups at Beauty's Bagels for around a year. Canned St-Hubert gravy on the poutine and squeaky cheese and *really great* smoked meat--dare I say better than anything I ever had in Montreal? They call it "smoke meat" as a francophone Montreal might pronounce it.