The rapidly gentrifying Masson boulevard in Old Rosemont still has a few places reminiscent of bygone days. There’s even an old-school flag war going on between Canada Hot Dog and Masson Hot Dog. Since my allegiances tend more towards Quebec than Canada, I sampled the restaurant proudly displaying the fleurdelisé. Besides, I have this gut feeling that separatists make better poutine. In all fairness, I do promise to try out the federalist poutine some other day, having been pleasantly surprised on a recent visit to Ottawa.
If you miss the striped 1960s decor of Frites Dorées on the lower Main, don’t lose hope. Masson Hot Dog offers the same sort of retro carnivalesque atmosphere steeped in grease. The place is covered in orange stripes, with some charmingly tiny orange leatherette seating booths to boot.
As we sat waiting for our meal, one of the many regular patrons came in praising the food. The cook patiently boasted that his meat was not frozen and pre-cooked like the crap at McDonald’s. My girlfriend, who once worked at McDonald’s, was seething with rage in her seat: “McDonald’s makes bad food but this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about; their meat ISN’T pre-cooked,” she grumbled. Sadly, the burger that arrived before us was overhyped. It looked slim and industrial. It was not that different from what you’d find at most fast-food chains. The poutine, however, now that’s a different story.
Fries: Most of these fries are nicely cooked with a good bite and a nice mushy interior. There are a few undercooked ones in the lot. 25/30.
Gravy: Decent gravy with enough salt to give it taste and enough spice to keep it from being too generic. Unfortunately, it is served up a bit too hot – your fries will limp up and your cheese will melt if you wait for it to cool down. 41/50.
Cheese: Although the cheese appears to be fresh and was thrown on at room temperature, the curds are small and don’t have much squeak. And then they start to melt a bit too much. There could also be a bit more cheese. 10/20.
TOTAL SCORE: 76/100
Verdict: Could use proper cheese curds, and lots more of it, but otherwise quite good.
Value: Good – $4.95 for bambino regular (pictured), but you can also make a meal of it with a regular regular.
Location: 2666 Rue Masson, 30 minutes from Metro Préfontaine or Laurier