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Hey Boston CHs, Would You Drive 3 Hours for a Perfect Poutine? [Moved from Boston board]

opinionatedchef Oct 28, 2010 09:56 AM

Here in Boston we rarely have the opportunity for poutine,Quebec's contribution of an ultimate comfort food, though it has begun catching on the last year or so. Jason has done it at Gargoyles, and it's being offered now at The Gallows. Any recent opinions on The Gallows' version? Haven't had either yet, but just reading their descriptions will hint to you that they can't likely hold a candle to the perfect poutine served in the Tavern Rm of the Hermitage Inn in West Dover VT.

The chef is a NYC Jean Georges alum, and man, if he did nothing else right, this poutine would still get him into the pearly gates. For an earthly $12 you are served a plate of fresh thin skin-on French fries mixed with shredded duck confit and melted smoked cheddar bits, topped by a duck demiglace. (Are you swooning yet?) And with a requested ramekin of the liquid gold for dipping, we were ecstatic. Aside from the pure quality of every element, what really worked was the strong salt spice rub on the confit, the light saltiness of the demi and the mild smoke of the smoked cheddar. One of my yardsticks for a top chef is when I am not asking for salt and pepper. This is a perfect example of that talent. So, pack an overnight bag and start that car. (And/or if your skiing takes you near Mt. Snow in Southern Vt., you can get into heaven too!)

  1. l
    Lighthousehunter Nov 4, 2010 08:36 AM

    Chelmsford hound here who lives very close to NH border.
    I recently tried a new place for poutine:
    Bellagio Pizza - Nashua,NH
    Address: 150 Broad Street, Nashua, NH 03063
    Phone: 603-204-5510
    It is in the small plaza at the intersection of Rt 3 and Rt 130 (Exit 6). It is next door to the Shell station. Same plaza with You You Japanese Bistro.
    2 types of Poutine, traditional and tomato sauced (italian style-word has it is a sweet tomato sauce).
    The traditional was just that...closer to what I have experienced in Montreal.
    The gravy was spot on, and the cheese curds squeaked. Fries had skin on.
    Served in the circular aluminum pan...2 sizes...$5 to $7.
    I have had poutine in Montreal at La Belle Province, LaFluer, La Banquise, Patiti Patata, Dunn's, and Frite Alors to name a few.
    It reminds me the most of La Belle Province.
    Recent advertisements for this place talk of ingrediants being imported from Canada.
    We'll see if the quality of the fries holds up over several visits.

    Exit 6 also has a Hannaford's supermarket....for those Hounds looking to make their own poutine, Hannaford's carries Yancey's Fancy cheeses from NY. (posted previously here in CH).
    Yancey's Fancy makes several types of cheddar cheese curds,including a roasted garlic flavor.

    You You Japanese Bistro
    150 Broad St, Nashua, NH 03063

    1. whs Oct 29, 2010 03:43 PM

      I had high hopes for poutine, but the only versions I've had were at Chez Vachon and Z Food and Drink in Manchester NH--neither was transcendent. What am I supposed to be looking for besides a gloppy dish of gravy, lumpy cheese curd and limp fries? What defines a great poutine?

      1 Reply
      1. re: whs
        opinionatedchef Oct 29, 2010 09:32 PM

        whs, you confuse me. did you not read my opening post?

      2. hiddenboston Oct 28, 2010 10:18 AM

        I've driven 6 hours for crappy poutine, so I would gladly drive 3 hours for good poutine. Should we do a satellite chowdown event? :-b

        P.S. I know that place, and it's in West Dover, not West Dorset. I don't think there is anything in West Dorset, except for a couple of cows and maybe a maple tree or two.

        9 Replies
        1. re: hiddenboston
          almansa Oct 28, 2010 11:20 AM

          I would drive more for Au Pied de Cochon's. And I believe the Boston trend began with Keith Pooler at the Harvest using Crowley cheese curds, although there may have been another before his. I just shook my head when I saw it on their menu since you can get it at crappy convenience stores in Quebec (where I'm from, btw).

          1. re: almansa
            opinionatedchef Oct 29, 2010 10:05 AM

            al, plse describe what makes you feel that way about Au Pied's poutine. i always want to learn.

            and btw,do keep in mind that historically, most every country's peasant food has eventually shown up in fine dining restaurants around the world. The reason has nothing to do with the class origin of the dish; it has to do with the "exotic" nature of it for those willing and eager to try it.

            1. re: opinionatedchef
              MidCoastMaineiac Oct 29, 2010 11:40 AM

              Or, as Tony Bourdain would say, it has more of the "nasty bits". Nasty bits always provide the flavor.

              BTW, why did this board move from Boston to Northern New England? Maybe it's Chowhound's way of telling you to try the poutine at Duckfat in Portland.

              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                opinionatedchef Oct 29, 2010 12:40 PM

                i have had their poutine, but it is a 4 compared to Hermitage's 10!

                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  MidCoastMaineiac Oct 29, 2010 01:42 PM

                  Ah, I missed the VT reference the 1st time around.

                  At some point doesn't this dish stop being called "poutine" and start being called something completely different?

                  Perhaps the dish you describe above should be called "Poutine au Canard" instead of simply "poutine".

          2. re: hiddenboston
            opinionatedchef Oct 28, 2010 11:21 AM

            thnx for that. i fixed it.

            1. re: hiddenboston
              southie_chick Oct 28, 2010 07:33 PM

              Hey, sign me up hidden! And, if you can't make it all the way home after ......... I'm in Merrimack, NH so we could all crash here after the Chowdown! : ) And, I've driven all the way to Tannersville, PA (from Southie) for apple crumb pie from the Pocono Farm Stand but it's been a couple of years since I've wanted pie THAT bad! But, if anyone is heading that way ......... feel free to grab me 2 apple crumb pies! : )

              1. re: southie_chick
                whs Oct 29, 2010 03:44 PM

                Off topic southie_chick, but since you live in Merrimack, what's your opinion of Florence's?

                1. re: whs
                  southie_chick Oct 30, 2010 07:20 PM

                  Haven't tried it yet, but I put a bug in my hubby's ear that I want to go - especially after I drove all the way to Rino's (East Boston) & got there "late" (5:30PM) & the wait was already 3+ hours! Ended up getting sushi at Sake in Saugus instead (OUTSTANDING!). I'm still figuring my way around here (I've only been in Merrimack since May) but I'm learning! Still dying to try KC's also (in Manchester).

            2. Bob Dobalina Oct 28, 2010 10:00 AM

              Only way I could justify it is if I *jogged* three hours. :)

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