Cinko is one of a slew of $5 restaurants popping up around town. They serve cheap food that is a notch above your usual fast-food fare, and make up for their slim profit margin with comparatively pricey cocktails. Cinko has an original menu, nice colorful interior design, and the place mats have been replaced by old vinyl records (in my case Genesis’ And Then There Were Three, an early glimpse at some of the horrors that Phil Collins would inflict on us during the 1980s–it was a pleasure to render it unlistenable by scratching away at it with my utensils). The actual background music was even less inspiring than my 70s prog rock placemat, consisting of the same dated 4/4 MC Mario beat that did not change for the entire duration of our meal. Thankfully, the volume was kept low.
There are two poutines on Cinko’s menu: one made with sweet potato fries that has become less interesting now that it is no longer served with the braised beef gravy it used to be served with, and the bizarre tempura green bean one that I review below.
Fries: The “fries” are deep-fried green beans in tempura batter. Consequently, they are less satisfying than fries. The tempura batter is nice, crispy, not too greasy. The green beans underneath have a hollow texture and taste. I’ll give it points for the novelty factor, but there’s no point trying to outdo a good fry. 17/30
Gravy: The “home gravy” comes on the side, which is a nice touch. It’s a bit bland, and doesn’t taste all that different from a slightly watered-down version of what you get out of a can. You certainly can’t fault it for being too salty. 32/50
Cheese: Tiny tiny chunks, straight out of the fridge, and not enough to go around. 8/20
Verdict: Interesting as a novelty experience, and almost feels like a wholesome and healthy version of poutine, but you’re better off getting the real thing elsewhere.
Location: Cinko, 1641, rue St-Denis, Montréal, H2X 3K3, a few steps from Berri-UQAM metro station