This Belgian-themed chain has over 7 restaurants in Montreal, most of them on the Plateau. One of my friends calls it “le McDo du Plateau” – a snooty McDonald’s for the only neighbourhood in town where you can’t get a Happy Meal. For a long time, I thought the poutine here was as good as you could get in the city, but the quality is inconsistent. In fact, my last few experiences have been quite poor and, as the food gets worse, prices have been going up.
Fries: The fries here are very tasty, done in true Belgian style. Really good, but there’s something odd about the grease. In fact, it’s a Belgian animal fat called “Blanc de bœuf,” which is supposed to make better fries. They lie. It’s like MSG – seems to enhance taste at first but leads to all these complications. If you eat too many, your mouth will start feeling unpleasantly pasty, and drinking water only makes the paste harden. I worry about what it’s doing to my arteries. Unfortunately, the ridiculously hot temperature of the sauce only means that most crispiness was lost – so you get all of the pastiness without any of the initial taste benefits. 23/30.
Gravy: The gravy is okay, but lacks complexity. It’s a generic brown sauce with a tinge of salt. Unfortunately, temperature is inconsistent, and it was way too hot on my last visit. I’m sure this place is extremely scrupulous about the temperature of their cooking grease, so they should probably invest in a thermometer for their gravy. 27/50.
Cheese: Quite generous on the cheese, but it had soon congealed into a globby mess due to the boiling gravy. Consequently, no squeak. 14/20.
TOTAL SCORE: 64/100
Verdict: Inconsistent, can be good, but score is based on my last few visits, which have been unimpressive. Not worth the stupid price and the unpleasant pasty-mouth sensation you get when leaving the restaurant.
Value: Poor – $7.00 + tx for small plate pictured above.
Opening Hours: Varies according to branch, mostly open until 9-10 PM, but Rachel & St-Laurent branches stay open until 4AM on Friday and Saturday .
Location: See www.fritealors.com