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the truth about poutine?

  • w

this is what i found on wikipedia

"It is a mixture of french fries with fresh cheese curds, covered with hot gravy. The curds' freshness is most important as it makes them soft in the warm fries, without completely melting. When the curds are really fresh they will often squeak between the teeth. Poutine with melted cheese is not regarded as 'genuine poutine', nor is poutine made with shredded cheese or cheese slices."

man I remember every poutine I"ve had cheese is almost always sumwhat melted...

anyone ever have 'genuine poutine'?

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  1. This board is for finding great chow in Montreal, rather than overall discussion of Quebec cuisine.

    If you want to talk about poutine in general, please repost to the General Topics board, as off topic replies here will be deleted.

    If you're looking for recommendations on where in Montreal to get this mythical 'genuine poutine', please clarify so the local hounds know what you want.

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/gener...

    3 Replies
    1. re: The Chowhound Team

      let me clarify

      anyone have a 'genuine poutine' in montreal?

      being from montreal I don't want to travel to who knows where for poutine.

      1. re: wade

        Yes, like I said in my earlier post, go to La Banquise on Rachel. They have a nice 'Elvis' poutine with hamburger meat and green peppers but you can also get a 'genuine' poutine sans extras here.

        Methinks the moderators are a tad jumpy?

      2. re: The Chowhound Team

        Actually, chowhound team person, it says on the board that it is about Québec, including Montréal.

        I hate poutine, by the way. I like crunchy frites.

      3. g
        Great River Road

        I gave "genuine poutine" a try ---While in Montreal for a week I was introduced to poutine. I'd never heard of it before that visit. (Wondering... is it strictly a Montreal 'delicacy' ?)
        I saw poutine on many menus, and finally became brave enough to try it. After eating part of it I began to wonder again....why ruin cheese curds by burying them in gravy, and why toss it atop french fries ? I did try it a second time at different restaurant, and the results were the same : soggy french fries, greasy gravy, and cheese curds that were rendered tasteless by the gravy flavor.
        I guess I wasn't very impressed. :-) Give me my fries all by themselves. Give me my Wisconsin cheese curds all by themselves, and save the gravy for mashed potatoes.
        Maybe someone can suggest a restaurant that serves 'higher quality poutine'...ummm.... if that's possible.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Great River Road

          I've probably eaten poutine on and off since about the time it was "invented" and tend to agree that it's junk food, not cuisine, but satisfying and provides good body fuel for the cold Winter weather in PQ.

          However, one of Montreal's most noted restos serves a foie gras poutine, if you are looking for a gourmet experience (forgot which restaurant, but someone mentioned it in a recent post).

          And puhLEEZ, that's Quebec cheese curd, not Wisconsin, which makes it an even greater shame to douse it in gravy.

          Link: http://eatingchinese.org

          1. re: Gary Soup

            The restaurant that serves poutine au foie gras is called Pied de Cochon on Duluth....

            1. re: eat2much

              ... and the foie gras poutine at Pied du Cochon is very good, very tasty.

              I once saw the "inventor" of poutine interviewed on t.v. and he said he hadn't intended it all to be melted together. He dipped his fries in gravy and had a bit of cheese at the same time. So it is better if the cheese curds remain somewhat intact, but not cold.

              Poutine at La Banquise on Rachel is very good, with many variations on the theme.

              1. re: Plateaumaman
                Great River Road

                Maybe I'll have to give poutine another try. The foie gras poutine does have many fans. I'm guessing that the finer dining establishments do a better job at creating the quality poutine that the "inventor" originally intended.

                1. re: Great River Road

                  The foie gras poutine at Au Pied du Cochon, while fun, is probably not the best poutine in Montreal. For that, I have three recommendations:

                  Maam Balduc, on de Lorimier. A menu of a handful of outstanding poutines. I recommend the Sainte Perpetue.
                  La Banquise, on Rachel near Parc La Fontaine. Hands down, the best poutine restaurant in Montreal, with 22 varieties last I counted. Personal favorites: Poutine au Bacon, and the Kamikaze style.
                  Poutine Lafluer, in Verdun. This is not "Lafluers", the hot dog chain, but a single-owner casse croute, which makes probably the best stand-alone classic poutine in Montreal.


                  1. re: Great River Road

                    I live in Quebec and never really liked poutine. I love fries, I love fries with gravy - I'm just not a big fan of cheese, and so never went gaga over poutine.
                    Sure, give 'er another try, but don't feel pressured to like it...

                    While on the subject, I find fries with gravy almost everywhere in Quebec. As you get farther away, it seems dousing your fries with gravy less fashionable.
                    I remember being in the state of Georgia awhile back. I was in a take-out joint and ordered a fry to go, and, um a gravy too.
                    "So you want one fry and biscuits and gravy?"
                    "No, a fry and just a side of garvy."
                    "no BISCUITS? Just the gravy? Why?"
                    "I'm gonna use it on my fries."
                    The server turns around and yells out (you gotta imagine the southern drawl) "Hey Edna, this feller is ordering gravy WITH NO BISCUITS - he says its for the fries!"
                    The entire staff of 4 as well as about 12 customers look at me like I'm from mars...

                    They did serve me the fries with a side of gravy, but were quite reluctant...

            2. re: Great River Road

              Poutine was either invented in Warwick or Drummondville, in the province of Quebec, but there'S a big debate between the two cities about it, they're very passionate about it. As for gravy on top of mashed potatoes, excuse me for saying this but I find it gross as it turns into a big mush ressembling melting snow and ruining the velvety texture of good mashed potatoes. As for poutine, if the curds are fresh and cool, they'll hold up well in the mix.

              1. re: Campofiorin

                I'll be driving through Drummondville on my way from Boston to Quebec City. Where should I stop for Poutine?

                1. re: chuck s

                  Well I googled "Meilleure Poutine à Drummondville" and pulled up a FB thread:

                  Discussion seems to point to

                  Resto du Boulevard
                  Café St-Pierre
                  Roy Jucep (this one comes up a lot in said thread)
                  Christine pizza
                  Rotisserie Fusée

                  There are more passionate suggestions on there, but I don't know how good you are in really really slangy French.

                  Oh and there is a poutine festival in Drummondville 3-4 September 2010

            3. Actually Poutine is quebec's own pride but the real poutine appelation comes to us from New-Brunswick in canada. over there folks use salted meat ( pork but also beef could do ) that is envelopped in a mixture of baked and raw patato. They use half boiled patato and they shredded half raw patato to make a paste like texture. They roll a ball of the mixture with a spoonfull of salted meat in the middle. boilthe ball and top with sugar.

              Personnally, I still prefer classic cheese curd with gravy poutine.
              Insight; Best poutine ever is in Napierville, Quebec Canada; Cantine Bayeur.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Wicked_J

                Not trying to be a PITA or anything but the best poutine can be found at Morasse Poutine in Rouyn-Noranda.

                1. re: Simon Patrice

                  Passing through, I gave this one a go, being the only place with any mention whatsoever in Rouyn-Noranda ..
                  Possibly the second worst food experience ever, Service was acceptable for counter take out. Surroundings run down, dirty and dingy. We threw out the shoe texture yellow chicken and KFC look a like cole slaw. Gravy - nothing to write home about. I was dreaming of St Hubert up the street, where my odds on a decent meal may have been better.
                  I remember having a better poutine at burger king in Toronto once, years ago; this was a supersized lunch bag let down.

                2. re: Wicked_J

                  Yes, Poutine râpée (from Acadia) is an utterly different dish. I believe the term poutine is also used in regions of France, once again with a different meaning.

                  1. re: Wicked_J

                    Woo hoo! more places to add to the Quebec Poutine biking tour!

                    I highly recommend the poutine in Gentilly, Patates Roulante:


                  2. Just had some poutine a La Belle Province( Sept 6), One of the Best around. La Banquise Is also Very good but the fries could be better. One of my favorites is south of Montreal at Barry in Bedford Quebec.
                    Some that are not very good- Costco, Dunes, Mike and Rubens - although their smoked meat poutine is pretty good.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: triplestrike

                      My brother and his kids swear by La Belle poutine. Just seems counter intuitive that a small chain can make the best - but hey it works for them.

                      1. re: triplestrike

                        Come on, La Belle Province's poutine is terrible. Overly salty gravy, doubtful curds and quite ordinary fries. Not even close to qualifying as one of the best around. Doesn't even come close to la Banquise even on a good day.

                        1. re: Campofiorin

                          Considering La Belle province are run independently (ok a couple of them have the same owner) the poutine differs a lot from one location to another.

                          Even for Hotdogs, they differ, some uses Lafleurs sausages, some Lester's...

                          That being said, there is some Belle Province that do an great poutine, perfectly cooked fries, room temp fresh curds and gravy that is not too salty, as opposed to others that can ruin the poutine (The one on Peel comes to mind as one to avoid)

                          1. re: westaust

                            The one on Ste-Cath and St-Laurent is the worse of em all.

                            1. re: westaust

                              Ahhhh, OK, that makes sense now.
                              A Labelle opened in Lasalle awhile back and we were always disappointed in their flagship product - the hot dog. Apparently Schneiders.
                              They eventually changed and we like the dogs here...

                              1. re: westaust

                                I always hated the one on Peel, The La Belle an the south shore- On Taschereau near Best Buy has always been excellent.

                          2. Patati Patata makes a great poutine. I often do want to ask for the gravy on the side, so the fries don't become soggy. I wonder how the La Banquise people would react to that request...

                            Patati Patata
                            4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA

                            1. I was just in Toronto this weekend and I was SHOCKED to see how many places are offering poutine. Smoke's poutine was the organizer of the poutine easting contest this past weekend and it got tons of media coverage. The winner ate 13 pounds!!! thats insane!!

                              But seriously, the street vendors are offering poutine, the pizza places are, and there are even restaurants dedicated to Quebec's dish. I also went to see Conan O'brien perform in Toronto and he did a bit on how poutine is CANADA's dish. Wrong. It's clearly a Quebec dish and should be known as such. Anything else is an adaptation of it. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Dusty08

                                love Angela's version, that dirty little 24-hr place on de Maisonnneuve west of Guy. best to order in or get it to go, so by the time you get it home the cheese--they put mozzarella over the regular curds and gravy--is good and melted. divine!

                                1. re: bakersdelight

                                  mozzarella over the the curds?!?!?!?!? sacrilege! maybe as a necessary measure to make a bad poutine edible by adding more stuff to it to mask the fact that what your about to eat is inedible but if it's good gravy, fries and curds any other cheese is just plain wrong. in fact, it's not poutine anymore at that point. it's something else.

                                  1. re: Tiny Iota

                                    whatever it is, it's great!!! y'know, at 15-year intervals.

                                2. re: Dusty08

                                  yeah, i noticed that in t.o. this weekend too. the most egregious mockeries of poutine are in nyc, though. they got some nasty stuff down there, or so i've heard from reliable sources. you've heard of the restaurant mile end in brooklyn? they use a mushroom gravy! there are a few places in manhattan serving it, one of them, "t poutine" is entirely based on the dish. also apparently terrible and i trust my sources taste very much.

                                  also, i've thrown in my two cents a few times regarding poutine because i do take it very seriously but i think the best poutine in town is that paul patates on charlevoix in point st. charles. they also make their own spruce beer so you can't beat that combo. i think la banquise is generally pretty lackluster. never enough gravy, never enough cheese and the fries just aren't right. they're usually too crispy, they should be soft in the middle. i also feel that those varieties of poutine that they have are a terrible idea. ok, maybe if you want to put some spice back into your relationship with poutine, fine. but far too often people who are trying the stuff for the first time eat some unholy concoction of fries, gravy, curds and stuff that really doesn't belong on the same plate with those things and so they end up hating it. although, the fois gras poutine at pdc is, for a poutine connoisseur, not to be missed. that being said, i don't think i'll ever eat it again.

                                  1. re: Tiny Iota

                                    i've got to try that paul patates place. as for foie gras, i do not like it on poutine, i do not like it with tagine. i do not like it with my eggs, nor steak tartare, or chicken legs....

                                3. Folks, please keep the discussion in this thread focussed on poutine in Quebec. If you'd like to discuss poutine in Toronto, or anywhere else in Ontario, please start a new thread on the Ontario board. Poutine in Brooklyn fits on the Outer Boroughs board. If you'd like to discuss the qualities that make a great poutine in general, feel free to start a new thread on General Chowhounding Topics. Thanks!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                    but poutine is a uniquely quebecois food, no? shouldn't we be allowed to discuss its incarnations though they be from elsewhere? especially if it stems organically from the conversation we were having? i can't discuss new york or toronto poutine with people from quebec because they probably don't frequent those boards. i think the rules need a little adjusting.

                                    so, to make sure that this post doesn't get deleted, i think poutine in montreal is great. what do you guys think about poutine in montreal? is it better in other parts of quebec? do other places even exist?

                                    1. re: Tiny Iota

                                      I'm a Montrealer and the first and only time I ever had a poutine was on my way 'Up North' for a ski trip once when I was a tweenager...a very long time ago...and have never ever had the desire to have another.

                                      I can't seem to get past the cheese curds...and yes, born and raised in Montreal - give me cheese curds in a little plastic bag from the grocer or off of the cash at the Tabagerie (yep) and I am in heaven: just don't put them on my fries...

                                  2. Ill eat a patati patata poutine over a La banquise poutine anyday. Just like the way they make thin crispy fries, find it works better with gravy as the other ones get soggy after a couple minutes. Had a merguez poutine at banquise the other day and it was gross. The merguez was the lowest quality merguez Ive ever eaten! Was like eating a crappy hot dog.

                                    1. I truely feel bad for the people saying they don't like poutine and saying that putting gravy on the cheese is bad. You haven't tried good poutine. I'll be investigating Montreal poutine in a couple of months. Right now the only guaranteed good poutine I know of is in Quebec City at Chez Ashton.

                                      Chez Ashton is fast food, but don't let that scare you off. The potatoes are from a nearby island and cut into fries every morning. The cheese curds are from a fromagerie near the island and are served frresh made every single day. If the curds are more than 24 hours old they need to be refrigerated. If they are refrigerated they no loger squeak. If the cheese doesn't squeak it isn't real poutine. The gravy at Chez Ashton is thick, yet translucent and best of all not too salty.

                                      Google Chez Ashton, you'll find all sorts of people raving about it.

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Mckay

                                        I have been to Ashton in QC, but never tried the poutine. Do they have any locations in greater Mtl.
                                        Will definitely make the trip to Paul Patates in the Point. Sounds like a gas.

                                        Paul Patate
                                        2606 Rue De Coleraine, Montreal, QC H3K1S7, CA

                                        1. re: upupaway

                                          Ashton - as far as I know, nope. Thank god. Fast food crap.

                                          1. re: Shattered

                                            I find Ashton to be very good quality. Their poutine is probably one of the best I've ever had. The fries are crispy, the cheese is fresh, the sauce is home made and they don't put too much of it on. It's expensive though, but the quality is there. It's too bad we don't have any around Montreal.

                                            1. re: SnackHappy

                                              They're McDo style fries and slightly better than McDo style poutine. Stingy on the cheese, and it's supposed to have lots of gravy! I just don't get it when ppl complain about that. Who wants nothing but plain, uncoated fries at the bottom? Defeats the whole point.

                                              The best poutine isn't found in any of the cities, be it Mtl, Qc, Gatineau (the Hull part), - I've been to Chicoutimi and the stuff in town was pretty average even there. It's in little roadside shacks up in Gatineaus, truck stops outside Drummondville, Mom & Pop casse-croutes in little towns that you find the good stuff. Chains like Ashton are a disgrace compared with the real deal.

                                              1. re: Shattered

                                                Their fries are nothing like McDonald's fries. They're fresh-cut, double-fried and up there with the best of them. I've had my share of roadside poutines around this province as well, and I rate Ashton as one of the best. Chain or no-chain.

                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                  "Ashton, you're so meow-meow fine..." (sorry, had to be said!) ;-)

                                                  Looking at their website you can see their plain fries are cut thin like @ McDo...do they cut 'em thicker for the poutine?

                                                  1. re: anachemia

                                                    The fries are not matchstick cut like at Mickey D's. They're about the same size as your average Quebecois fry, but they're much crispier than average. Their sauce is above average, too. The Dulton meat topping is somewhat reminiscent of Dic Ann's meat sauce. I think it's a top notch poutine.

                                            2. re: Shattered

                                              @Shattered: Be honest if your criteria is haute cuisine I can understand. it's a freakin fast food joint and their roastbeef sandwich is okay but not crap. Their poutine and gravy are very tasty but certainly not crap.

                                              1. re: Shattered

                                                to be honest with you, i've had poutine at several fast food joint, and it's probably one of the best. Obviously you can't really compare it to la banquise or a poutine fois gras at PDC, but for fast food quality, it kicks McDo, Burger King and even Valentine's butt.

                                            3. re: Mckay

                                              I was at Ashton outside Quebec City not too long ago, and they were offering a discount on poutine relative to the temperature outside. With the weather we're experiencing now, it's significant.

                                              1. re: davekry

                                                Yeah, below -30, they pay YOU, hehe.
                                                Fun idea.

                                            4. I love poutine Italienne.

                                              1. garde-manger makes a lobster poutine which is pretty amazing....really good fries

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: mtlfoodguy

                                                  I'm expecting Jane to make a poutine pizza any day now.

                                                2. I've got one: Pierrette Patates on Verdun street in Verdun! Very greasy-tasty, crispy fries, salty gravy, sqeaky curds! The patron yakked with us for a while too, which was fun. I also had a Cotts Black Cherry to go with it and was very happy... until about 30 minutes post-meal, and for a day or so afterwards... urghh... it's a short-lived sort of happiness :-S

                                                  Pierrette Patates
                                                  3900 Rue De Verdun, Verdun, QC H4G1K9, CA