A newcomer to the Montreal poutine scene, this place comes with many good reviews. Located in an former Mediterranean restaurant in Rosemont, the arched doorways and stucco ceilings still betray its former occupants. The faded Parthenon posters have been replaced with sleek black-and-white shots of London and Amsterdam. Simple tables and contemporary lamps have also been added. A large flat-screen television was broadcasting a riveting game of golf when we walked in. I’m not sure how to describe the overall effect of these disparate elements: an unusual Greco-Ikea mongrel, perhaps.
It’s nice to see poutine featured so prominently in a Montreal establishment. The owners have let their imagination run wild and offer an endless combination of ingredients, letting you design your own poutine by ticking off a sheet. A Philly cheesesteak poutine anyone?
Service is extremely friendly and inquisitive, with the staff more than willing to offer advice on your poutine options (or personal life) in both French and English.
Fries: Several varieties of fries are listed on the menu. Our waitress recommended the “patates écrasées”, or smashed potatoes, which the menu lists as a “spécialité.” She was right. They were better than the regular fries. I think they used Yukon Gold for both types of fries. The standard fries were a bit waxy, undercooked, and lacked a soft interior. The smashed potatoes were boiled potato chunks, partly crushed to maximize the crunchy exterior surface, then deep-fried. Both the fries and smashed potatoes had a mildly sweet taste. Some of the crushed chunks were a bit too large for my taste, leaving me with floury mouthfuls. Both types were fried with the skin on, a thin yellow skin that adds to the crunch and leaves no earthy aftertaste. Neither was too greasy. The smashed potatoes are a neat innovation, but a bit more crunch and less starchy fluff would make them even better. Classic-19/30, Smashed-24/30.
Gravy: In addition to the classic gravy, this place also sells three-pepper sauce and red wine sauce. Our waitress suggested we go for one of the specialty gravies. Once again, she was right. The classic sauce tasted like a generic-yet-decent gravy straight out of the can. It lacked oomph. The pepper sauce provided that oomph, giving a nice kick to the generic base. We did not try the red wine sauce. The sauces were both a little too thick and too hot, making the cheese curds melt too fast. Both sauces lack the complexity found in gravies made with real stock. Classic-38, Three-pepper-43/50.
Cheese: These are the standard cheese curds you find all over Montreal – skimpy little crumbly bits that hardly have enough bite to give off squeak. They seemed relatively fresh, with room temperature softness, but I prefer something with more girth. Portions were okay, but the cheese melted too fast under the hot sauce. 10/20.
Verdict: If you steer clear of the classic fries and classic sauce, you can come up with some tasty and inventive combinations. It’s worth giving this friendly newcomer a shot.
Price: Varies. The price is a little high if you go for a small, but splitting a large makes for a good deal.
Location:1348 Beaubien, corner of Lanaudière, a 9 minute walk from Beaubien Metro.