Review: Chez Ashton

Chez Ashton
Revised September 8, 2011

One of the good things about going home to Quebec City for the holidays is the excellent poutine at Chez Ashton. Founder Ashton Leblond first started serving poutine in 1972, and the restaurant has since become a cultural reference point that binds locals together. There are now over 25 Ashton’s restaurants in the area, many of them conveniently located next to drinking spots to draw in the late night crowd. The restaurants themselves feel as soulless and generic as most North-American fast food chains, but don’t let that turn you off. Most ingredients are locally sourced and they always use cheese curds made on the same day. I have yet to find a poutine of this quality in Montreal.


Chez AshtonBébé poutine

Whereas poutine was originally made with the cheese tucked away under the fries, Ashton claims he was the first to put the cheese on top. Nowadays, this is how most poutines are served, though I have stumbled on a few cheese-on-bottom purists in the Montéregie.

Poutine AshtonMini poutine

Fries: Made with potatoes from the Ile d’Orleans, these fries are usually crispy and tasty, but all that comes with grease. Crispiness is not always 100% consistent, which may cause the fries to soften up in the larger containers if you don’t eat your poutine fast. 26/30.

Gravy: Outstanding. Thick and unctuous, velvety, almost creamy. Not too salty with flavourful undertones of fresh veal stock. 47/50.

Cheese: It squeaks, since they only use cheese made on the same day. Chunks are usually of a decent size and portions are sufficient. I have been served some poutines with disappointingly tiny “bottom-of-the-bag” chunks, however (see photo). 17/20.

Chez Ashton

TOTAL SCORE: 90/100

Verdict: A benchmark. If you don’t mind the generic fast food restaurant atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with an Ashton’s poutine. Stay away from the meat poutine, though some people like the sausage and spicy sauce variations. Mildly inconsistent, but always good. A great trashy classic poutine – more refined palates should try the one at Les Salons d’Edgar.

Value: Slightly better than average, but no table service.

Opening Hours: Varies. Most branches open until 4AM on weekends. Boulevard Charest branch open 24h.

Location: 25 locations in the greater Quebec ‎City region. See www.chez-ashton.com for details. Quality is standard, though there were rumours a few years back that the Grande-Allee branch offered an inferior poutine by recooking their late night fries in the same oil several times, leading purists to shun that particular branch.

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10 Comments

Filed under 24 Hour Restaurants, Classic Poutine Reviews, Quebec City

10 responses to “Review: Chez Ashton

  1. Long time Ashton lover, switch to spicy sauce about 6 years ago…will never go back.

  2. Michael

    Funny thing…. at my summer job last year, I heard some of my coworkers talking about this place, saying how it was no good, and leave it up to a place with an anglophone name to make a bad poutine. I was surprised that they would say this, because I’ve had it several times during my trips to La Capitale and each time I thought it was one of the best ones I’ve tasted. I agree with the above commentator in saying that the spicy sauce is actually better than the original. However, if you get the Galvaude, for some reason you need to specify that you want cheese with it (Galvaude AVEC FROMAGE). My friend and I didn’t realize that, as we thought that all poutine automatically comes with cheese (one would think)…. but we ended up with fries, sauce, chicken and peas only. It was still good, but we were thinking of all that could have been…

  3. Michael

    Aha! So he IS a Francophone. But you’re right, that shouldn’t make a difference in the quality. (although geographically, I’d have more faith in a poutine from Quebec than say from Alberta)

  4. Patrick D.

    Every one I know from Quebec City raves about the Ashton Poutine. Almost everytime I get there, I have one.

    Everytime I’m disappointed.

    I just don’t get this Ashton cult-thingy.

  5. Dedricthere

    Best poutine I ever had. Montreal poutine isn’t even in the same league.

  6. Francisco Toro

    Yeah, it really was outstanding. It even made my persnicketie, foodie wife happy, which takes some doing. But the atmosphere really is just awful – it’s because the places that serve the best poutine look like *this* that the dish gets so little respect, you know…

  7. skillzflux

    It’s not really a cultural icon that binds the local population together… it just happens to be the only thing still open after the bars close. Price is getting too high, sauce going downhill…. still, people who want to introduce poutine in foreign environments should go there and see how it’s done before going all experimental on it. About the “mood”: if you go to the one on charest ouest, don’t mind the crack heads… it’s their neighbourhood, not yours! Perfect late-night snack… poutine w/sausage is the bomb. +++ Don’t miss the winter cold special. If it’s -10 degrees; it’s 10% off -20; 20% off and so on… and yeah the termperature can sometimes go all the way down to -40 degrees.

  8. I recently went on a trip across Canada, and I’m shocked that the best poutine I had was at a dingy little Chez Ashton near my hostel. It had a lowly 3.5 rating on Yelp, and I really only stopped by because it was open at midnight, but the fries, gravy, and curds were all perfectly prepared and very well balanced. In contrast, I was disappointed by all the Yelp champions in Montreal. Go figure!

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