I was skeptical when my sister in law raved about the wonders of poutine at Costco (which, like most people, she still calls “Club Price” 17 years after the name change/merger). After all, what could a soulless Seattle-based big box retailer know about the subtleties of crafting a fine Quebecois dish? Nevertheless, I decided to give it a shot and tagged along for the ride to Montreal’s horrific Marché Central power centre.
The dining area is everything you’d expect from Costco. Plastic picnic tables grace the concrete floors in a no-man’s-land between the cash registers and the automotive section. All of this under an industrial warehouse decor of exposed steel beams and cold fluorescent lighting.
“These are the perfect poutine fries,” reiterated my sister-in-law for the umpteenth time. “An outstanding value for the price” said her douce moitié. And what do I think?
Fries: Nice coated seasoned fries that COULD be good. The initial taste is enjoyable, crispy, and packed with flavour. Unfortunately, the fries served in our poutine had been sitting around for a while. There were also some issues with the cooking oil. You could literally feel the grease piling up at the back of your throat and an unpleasant acrid aftertaste lingered long after the fry had been ingested. “Our fries are better than yours,” replied my sister-in-law. Indeed they were. They were fresh out of the fryer but still tasted of pure grease.15/30.
Gravy: Tasty but pasty, which doesn’t go well with the grease piling up from the fries. A little too cold. 34/50.
Cheese: I believe they use the Brins de gouda cheese curds produced by Fromagerie Bergeron that are also sold in the cheese aisle. Decent portions. A few nice-sized chunks, but many insignificant little bits. This cheese is too airy, giving it a crumbly texture that lacks the squeak of cheddar cheese curds. 11/20.
TOTAL SCORE: 60/100
Verdict: This is the most unhealthy poutine I ever had – do your arteries a favour and eat elsewhere.
Value: Outstanding – $3.99 for huge plate that is big enough for two. Plenty of poutine for your buck, but eat it at your own risk.
Location: Three locations on the island of Montreal. Even more in the burbs.