People have been raving to me about Fromagerie Lemaire for years. Located just off highway 20 near Drummondville, they are right in the heart of Quebec’s poutine heartland. They also make their own cheese curds.
When I walked in, there was a line-up snaking all the way back to the door. Based on the overheard conversations, choice of apparel, and density of pick-up trucks in the parking lot, the clients are largely working-class people from the Drummondville region. We were speaking English, and got a few puzzled stares from locals.
Everyone seemed to be ordering extra-large poutines. Also, many customers asked for their sauce in a separate container. I can understand why you’d want to do this if you’re ordering poutine to-go, since you don’t want the fries to get limp. But they were doing this while eating their poutine on-site, which doesn’t make much sense to me.
The decor is an odd mix of suburban McMansion and children’s petting zoo. It’s kitsch, especially the new extension with the fake fireplace, but the kitsch has no novelty value whatsoever.
Fries: The fries reminded me of the skinny, limp and oily fries at KFC. They’re darker with a little more crisp, but they don’t taste as good as they look. In fact, some fries tasted a bit off. I’ve had worse, but these are definitely below average. 14/30
Gravy: Can the sauce save the fries? Not really. There’s nothing particularly wrong about this sauce but it’s quite average and generic. 32/50
Cheese: The cheese is great. It’s fresh, squeaky, locally produced, and a little more might actually make you forget the fries. Chunk sizes are uneven, and some are pathetically small. 18/20
Verdict: Buy a bag of cheese curds, skip the poutine.
Price: Price for the small poutine is average, but the extra-large ones give you lots of cholesterol for your buck.
Location: Fromagerie Lemaire, 182, boulevard Industriel, Saint-Germain-de-Grantham, QC. Exit 170 between Montreal and Quebec City.