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Montréal Poutine

Montréal Poutine

ça va faire une maudite poutine

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Reviews

Some poutines are made in the style of the house, displaying the personal innovation of the owner-chef. Others convey the greasy-spoon terroir from which they spring. Poutines are the convenience-meal of their roots in fast-food joints. And some places, they are just spun-out obediently to an expectant clientelle, who would no more forgive its absence as the absensc of something to drink.

How to rank? Some poutines excel in one way, but are unacceptable in others. We rank them 1 to 4, with the following meanings:

  • 4. Go out of your way for an experience you will talk about for years.
  • 3. A fine poutine. Enjoy!
  • 2. Not bad. Not bad 'tall.
  • 1. May be eaten if the shrill screams of starvation lick like flames at your ears. Otherwise, missable.

So on to the reviews:

Maamm Bolduc 4351 Lorimer 4

Poutine Bourguignonne and Sainte-Perpetue at Maamm Bolduc.

This is a hip little diner nestled on a neighborhood corner, with an impressive casual menu. The poutine menu, containing 8 variants, is second to none in the city, and demonstrates a creative and engaged chef thinking and working hard for the poutine. In addition to a regular style, there is the not unusual Italienne (marianara sauce); a Vegetarienne style (peppers, onions, fried mushrooms); Bourguignonne (ground beef, onions, fried onions, garlic); Galvaude (turkey, green peas); Costaude (with Chili con Carne); and Sainte-Perpetue (fried onions and bacon). The special poutines run about $7.50 for a small, and about $9 for a large. I and my dining partner ordered the Bourguignonne, and Saint-Perpetue. The petite size was comparable to what most places serve as a large; the large would be plenty for a lumberjack who had just spend the day clearing trees. The poutine sauce was a chocholate-brown, smooth, with a strong flavor that afficianados will immediately recognize; it is clearly one of the most outstanding examples of sauce available, with a perfect, high temperature. The fries stood up perfectly to the sauce, absorbing, and becoming a single plate. Regarding the cheese curds, it is usual that the cheese curds keep firm in the plate, refusing to melt under the heat of the sauce. Here, the curds melted completely, and became stringy in the sauce (though they did not liquify and become incorporated in the sauce). Normally, I would mark a plate down for this -- fresh curds shouldn't melt -- but you know when you taste it that all can be forgiven. The poutine is that great.
Poutine Lafluer 3665 Rue Wellington; Verdun, QC 4
(May 2005) This is a single-owner place which does hot dogs and poutine. Without question, the poutine served here is the best classic poutine in Montreal. The curds are the fresh fresh fresh, and squeeky-delicious in every bite. The sauce was perfectly balanced with spices and meat, with a bit of chocholate taste. The fries were very good; perhaps not as crispy as a perfect fry would be, but 80% of the way there. If you want a classic poutine in a classic casse-croute, this is the one place you must make sure you go. It is simply the best classic poutine in Montrél.
La Banquise 994 Rachel Est 4

Bacon Poutine at La Banquise.

(update Jan 2006). This 24-hr hipster place has been a constant favorite of the reviewer, and for good reason. The number of poutines has grown in time, presently serving 22, including such great names as "T-Rex", "Kamikaze", and B.O.M (Bacon, onions and "merguez", sausages). I've had the small poutine Duotone ($5.00), which had ground beef and sauteed onions. During a more recent visit, the Bacon poutine ($8.00 for a large); recognizing that bacon, like foie gras, makes nearly anything better, this is nonetheless a relatively rare poutine add-in which should be a standard in every poutine loving kitchen. The smoky bacon added musky pork heft to what is already a very pleasant platter, and I highly recommend it. La Banquise is now the best, premier all-around poutine joint in Montreal. They offer the greatest variety, with the most imagination, 24 hours and seven days a week. It is a must-stop for anyone eating poutine in Quebec.
Patati Patata 4177 St. Laurent (at Rachel) 4
(Jan 2004, updated March 2006) If you have only one poutine in Montreal, this should be it. This tiny diner (seats 12-14, all told) has wonderful character, and if you aren't in a poutine way, try the tofu burger, or regular burger for that matter. The classic poutine (one size: $4.00) is such a richly flavorful dish that you should not skip it. The fresh-cut fries, if a bit limp. have that dank musk of a well-thought out potato, and you will love them. The curds were perfectly fresh -- not over-humidified like those stored for weeks in a bag, but just wonderful. And the poutine sauce, well, it is unmatched for its deep, velvety flavor, as you can tell from its first bite. The young woman helping me answered a customer's query, that it is indeed made with a mix (as per usual in a Montreal eatery), but that they use chicken stock and wine in it as well. Using wine in the sauce is a signature variation -- I've never seen it elsewhere, and it's done to such fantastic effect at Patati Patata, that the poutine is unique, memorable, and delcious. Congratulations to Patati Patata! This is a giant step forward in poutine, probably the second big step forward in poutine sauce, since the trend away from the sweet/salt taste using tomato (which you can still taste at Roy le Jucep; it reminds one too much of sweet/sour chinese food). At an earlier sitting, I had the "poutine with everything" ($5.00). The portion was on the small side for a dish whose charming glory is to fill one up with something hot, cheesy and starchy. The adventurous poutine which I ordered had on it sliced peppers and ground beef, which added interest. Just you try to get a seat!
La Quebecoise 3520 Ontario 3
(June 2005). La Quebecoise is a casual dinner located on the Ontario Promenade in East Montréal (hours 8a-10p 7 days a week). They serve a variety of poutine, including: classic, smoked meat ("viande fumee"), "a la sauce BBQ", italianne (with marianara sauce), and "La Quebecoise", the house special. On my visit, I had "La Quebecoise" ($5.75 for a large), which turned out to have sliced turkey, which was a delicious addition to an already great poutine. The cheddar curds are the freshest curds of any poutine in Montréal, with that characteristic squeek of fresh curds so loud that you'll wonder if your dining company can hear. The fries were a very tasty platter, and the sauce was a light brown sauce, with a little bit of pepper. The sauce was better than the familiar light-brown sauce, due partly to its spice, in such a way that you will be glad that you'd ordered the poutine, and leave you wanting more, if only you had the room for it. Strongly Recommended!
Frite Alors various 3
(Dec 2003) This chain can be found everywhere, and is centered around poutine, serving many different types and combinations. The poutine they serve has all the correct elements: crispy fries, a spicy, peppery sauce and cheddar curds. I had the sausauge version, which added extra spice. The fries held the sauce well. The cheese melted modestly without slathering.
Cafe Local 200 rue Saint-viateur O. 3
(Oct 2005). This is a hip bar/dinner place, great for a drink with a few friends. The evening I went, I was with 30 of my closest friends at a weekly get-together, and I was surprised to find a poutine on the menu among the pastas and other plates. The poutine I got was based on sweet potato fries (regular fries also available), a beef gravy and grated mozzarella. It should be said that this correspondent is not a fan of grated cheese on poutine; it tends to melt completely and become incorporated into the sauce, and that happened here. The cheese has to be its own distinct component (why not break up a buffalo mozarrella on top instead?) However, once you dig way into the pile, is where the poutine gets good: the formidable gravy and sweet fries plow together fantastically, and the plate has a delicious distinctive taste you will come back for. The use of sweet potatoes in a poutine should be a ready innovation which is widely adopted: why isn't this done everywere? And they work perfectly with the beef gravy; the standard chicken veloute would not stand up to the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. The poutine served here shows real inventiveness, something of which to be proud.
Au Pied Du Cochon Duluth, near St. Hubert 3 (regular)/3+ (for the fois-gras)
This is an outstanding restaurant, with an imaginative and star-quality chef, regularly turning out some of the most memorable dishes a foodie could hope to come across on travel. You'll need a reservation, well in advance, unless you go alone, and plop yourself down at the bar in front of the open kitchen. So, it's somewhat surprising to find a poutine on the menu and, in fact, you find two. The first is a standard-type poutine, with a pork-stock based sauce, ginormous cheddard curds, on top of the house-special french fries. It works well as a poutine, and is worth a taste, with the possible exception of the curds, which, due to their large volume to surface area ratio, fail to melt adequatly to contribute to the mess of the sauce. However, the star attraction poutine is the poutine with fois-gras, which appears in this dish in two forms. First, as a healthy slab layed atop the mess, it contributes as fois-gras contributes to anything. However, fois-gras layed across a cement slab would make the slab taste delicious. The innovation here is that more fois-gras is pummeled into the sauce, and creams it well above its breed. You might ask to have the poutine fois-gras, but without the slab on top, and to break up the curds more, creating an unforgettable poutine experience. If I can't quite move the poutine here into "4", it is largely because the curds call too much attention as a separate aspect of the poutine due to their oversize. But the sauces and the fries are a worthy culinary experience, even if they don't live up to the outstanding level of the restaurant's other plates. (Regarding the plates: have the canard confit).
Pipeline 3

Poutine at Pipeline.

(Oct 2005, updated March 2006). This joint, under new management, is nestled in the heart of Montreal's theater district, and is connected to an lively, if morbidly so, club (I think it was classic Industrial night when I visited recently; Skinny Puppy anyone?). I first visited only a few weeks after its new managers, and already we're talking about a good poutine. The main feature is the Poutine Jack Daniel's, which appeared in early 2006: a typically good batch of fries, curds to enjoy, and a rich sauce, made with the usual poutine mix, but with a shot of ol' Jack in there to liven things up a bit. Now, this is a sauce worth remembering, and a big step forward for poutine sauce everywhere. Pipeline, with Patiti Patata, have discovered for us that a well-chosen shot of a musky alchohol makes the sauce so much better, that special kudos must be awarded both these eateries. If every place in town isn't doing this in a year, then poutine-restaurant owners aren't getting out much. Hurrah for Pipeline! A great poutine!

Jojo's 6507 Papineau (at Beaubien) 2

Bacon and fried onions poutine at Jojo's. Note the Itallienne style sauce, which is standard on all 34 poutines at Jojo's (the typical chicken-based sauce is not available).

(Dec 2005). This is a casual casse-croute, with hotdogs, canned drinks and what not; order at the counter, it's served to your table, pay at the counter. Since this is a to-go style place, you're served the poutine in either styrofoam or foil container at your table. Most notably, there's a huge variety of poutines here: 34 in all (see listing below) served in three sizes. In a grand deviation from the norm, every single one of them is served with marianara sauce with ground beef: itallienne style. You will not find any chicken-based sauce here. I had the bacon and fried onions. The cheese curds were squeeky fresh and the fries were average, and the itallienne-style sauce was unexpected. It was a normal, bland tomato sauce with ground beef, just there to serve it's purpose. The poutine is not bad, but what is most remarkable about this place is that 34-varieties. It's worth the trip just to see the menu on the wall.
Chez Claudette 351 Laurier Est 2
(Dec 2003, updated Sept 2005) Proof that if you don't go out, you can't eat great poutine. This is a diner where you'll find workers in the daytime, and it used to be revellers late late late. Unfortunately for the revellers, Chez Claudette switched to 7am-8pm hours, 7 days a week, beginning Sept 2005. A poutine which is not available after 8pm is somewhat curtailed in its usefulness. I had the small poutine bourguinonne style ($6), which I highly recommend. This was an outstanding plate of poutine. The fries were perfectly crisped, with meaty potato inside. The sauce was from scratch from the grill, with all the expected bits one might require, and had added to it grated beef and onions (bourguinonne style). The cheese curds were minisculistly sweet. Once a king on this list, Chez Claudette has moved down in the rankings over time, as your correspondent has found better examples of the poutines served here, and (most importantly) Chez Claudette clipped it's hours, closing at 8pm, making it's poutine inaccessible during prime poutine eating hours. Tis a shame, but, turn turn turn.
Casse-Croute Paulo & Suzanne 5501 Gouin Boulevard 2
(June 2005). This 24-hour counter-place is a perfect hamburgers/hotdogs joint to get away to for a minute away from a hectic day, and the grande poutine ($4.95) is a great little plate to tuck into. The light brown sauce has a tiny citrus taste, and just a little sweet, in contrast to the usual pepper taste of poutine sauce. Squeeky fresh curds cover nicely the modest french fries. An enjoyable plate.
Resto Du Village 1310 rue Wolfe 2
(June 2005). The Resto is a 24-hour diner, located 1 block south of Ste. Catherine, and one block east of Amherst, in the Gay Village of Montreal. The typical fare is short-order food. The poutines here are the standard style, and with of the most typical variations: Italliene, Bologna, poutine with Smoked meat, "sausauge", one "with everything" (pepperonie, onions, mushrooms, peppers), and "du Resto", which is same as "everything" except smoked meat instead of onions. The "sausauge" style I had was a bit of a disappointment, having instead of a spicy sausauge as I expected, had hot dogs sliced into it. The sauce was a typical ready-made style, uniform and dark with a deep chicken flavor, but no pepper. The curds were past fresh, but were were fine. This is a good place to grab a late-night poutine if you're out with yer mates.
L' Anecdote 801 Rachel Est. (at St. Hubert) 2

Poutine at L' Anecdote.

(Nov 2005) Here, we have a perfectly good plate of poutine; and it is on this plate of poutine that we stake the reputation of a "2" scoring. The cheese curds here were not the traditional curds, but an emmanthaler cheese, which served the purpose well enough, but didn't add much new to the dish, sufficient to warrant deviation from tradiation. The peppery light brown chicken sauce, with a nice pepper snap, would be recognizable to all poutine afficianados, and the fries were even a very good restaurant type. No major surprises here but, heck, it's a good plate. Go with it! Note that, as a diner, there are plenty of possibilities for off-menu poutine types (helllloooooo bacon) but they only have one poutine on the menu.

L' Anecdote, however, is just an adorable diner, with a great range on the menu, a beautiful and carefully cultivated interior. It's a kind of place I could see myself eating great brunch at time and time again. So, I'll be back. It closes every night, 7 days a week, at 10pm, with different opening times day to day.

Chez Philippe 1877 rue Amherst 2

(Mar 2006) This counter-front place largely keeps daytime hours, but but has a nice little poutine going on, with absolutely delicious fries. The standard mix-sauce and the cheese curds don't stand out in a crowd, but you won't be complaining after you finish off a large dish here. Enjoy it well enough.

Rapido 4494 St. Denis 2
(May 2005). An interesting little 24hr greasy-spoon diner in the heart of the Plateau, at St. Denis and Mont-Royal. The poutine served here is a standard platter. The fries were better than average -- perfectly browned and crisped, and that tips the score up to the plus range. The sauce was a standard light-brown, and the cheese curds were as they should be. A good plate of poutine, to satisfy the late night crowd. Update Oct 2005 . The interior is recently renovated, to a cooler vibe.
Le Club-Sandwich 1578 St. Catherine St. E. 2

Poutine at Le Club Sandwich.

(Feb 2006). This is a fantastic 24-hour diner in the Village. Step right up for good-times and good eats. The poutine is a very dutiful, very pleasant standard dish -- yer curds, yer sauce, and whoah whoah whoah what do we have here? Delicious fries! It's a very nice dish, served in a very relaxed crowd. Take a counterspace, and eat yourself happy.
Rose Bowl 6510 Saint Jacques Rue (1 Block south of Sherbrooke and Cavendish). 2
(May 2005). The snack bar at the Rose Bowl bowling alley was recommended to me by a Montreal native who did not seem to be a big bowler. Naturally, I was a bit skeptical that what would be served up would be anything better than blah. To my surprise, my order was filled with a poutine which makes you forget you're in a bowling alley. The fries were fair (meaty, a bit greasy) and were covered with a dark brown poutine sauce, just a little bit gravy-like, and the smallest taste of chocholate and salt. The cheese curds weren't special, but were reasonably well mixed in, and loosened up well in the heat. This is a gut-bomb of a plate of poutine, after which you're likely to feel like you're carrying an extra 13 pounds, whether you're carrying a bowling ball or not.
Dunn's various 2
(Oct 2005). A family-style restaurant chain most famous for its smoked meat, with carefully masoned faux-brick on the walls, you can find Dunn's all over the city, and perhaps most centrally located at the corner of Ste. Catherine St. Oest and University. A range of poutine is offered on the menu, including one with smoked meat, one with BBQ sauce, and a poutine Itallienne. I had the peppercorn parisienne sauce (see Recipes ) on mine; the result was a reasonably good plate. However, the curds were past squeeky freshness, the fries were uninteresting, and the sauce was so completely homogenized as to belie its institutional origins. You might leave, asking, where is the love? If you're there, it's still a lip-smakin' midnight favorite.
PFK (Kentucky Fried Chicken) various 2
Somewhat surprisingly, the best of all fast-food poutines. Extra points for the light-brown chicken-based poutine sauce which works perfectly with meaty fries and cheesy curds. A great peppery snap.
La Belle Province various 2
(Dec 2003) I had the poutine at the location on Ste. Catherine near Peel. This was my first interaction with poutine, and I was steered to it by a shopkeeper. La Belle Province is a chain, which was occupied by various students and late-night workers just gettting off as I walked in. They serve hot dogs, poutine, sodas: typical casse-croute faire. First, the basics: Fries were crusty. The sauce was sauce, uniform and uncomplicated. The cheese curds were cheddar. The best part of this poutine was the sauce, which was smoky and beefy. The cheese curds added nothing with no character itself. The french fries were not particularly memorable.
Lafleuer various 2
(March 2005). This is a hot-dog fast-food chain, where the menu includes a poutine. The poutine ranks a pedestrian, obedient mixture of the basic three. But no more. After having had a Lafleur poutine, you can say you've eaten a poutine, in the same way someone who's been to McDonald's can say they've had a hamburger.
Le Peu Belle Province Parc at St. Viatuer 2
(Nov 2004). This seems to be a one-of-a-kind fast-food joint, in the Mile-end district, easy walking distance from the St. Viatuer bagel shop and the fantastic La Croissantiere Figaro. But why make the walk? The fries are the boring post-freeze-dried, a canned sauce, a bagged cheese curd. Mom will forgive you if you skip this one in your postcard.
Montreal Pool Room 1200 St. Laurent (1 block S of Ste. Catherine) 2
(June 2005) While there were certainly pool tables in the darkened back room on the Wednesday night I went, the Montreal Pool Room is more a quick-bite counter-diner than a pool room. An overhead menu of hot dogs, fries and drinks in a no-nonsense sort of environment, with single-width tables lining the walls. Located near the music halls, the street outside is strewn with passed-out bodies, an area of town for over-the-top revelry.

That aside, the poutine (large, $3.75) was a typical casse-croute one. The fries, it should be said, were outstanding -- well above a typical casse croute fries -- and probably do well on their own. When the cook piled on mounds and mounds of cheese curds, and about a ladel and a half of light-brown sauce, a minor chord struck: too high of cheese to sauce ratio, the fries were barely wet. But, after waiting a few minutes (while I was distracted elsewhere) the platter had successfully melted into the required glom, always a good sign when a poutine maker knows how sauce the hot needs to be. The Pool Room serves a useful poutine, perfect for the end of a head-bashing, beer-soaked night.

Du Parc Pizza 4827 du Parc 2
(Jan 2006). This pizza delivery joint also has a poutine, served cheap ($5 for a large, although it's more of a medium compared with the city average) and hot. Not much to go crazy over, but it's the classic sauce-mix (if a little thin), fresh curds and fries that you wouldn't kick out of bed for being eaten by Geena Davis.
Le 940 940 Ave du Mont-Royal Est 1

Poutine, at Le 940, comes regular with gorgonzola cheese.

(Dec 2005) Innovation should be encouraged for a plate like poutine, and so we are encouraged to see a bold step for poutine (and, in this election season, in Giles Duceppe's on riding). Le 940 serves only one style of poutine on the menu of this trendy eatery: fries with a pepper sauce and about 300g gorgonzola cheese. Finishing off a plate of this stuff has the cumulative culinary effect of swallowing a tube of toothpaste, then placing a double-barrelled shotgun in one's mouth and pulling the trigger. Gorgonzola cheese is too powerful to be eaten in these quantities with just about anything, the poutine is no exception. The fries win no prize, they're a boring, if well-browned, squishy house version. One small bright spot is the pepper sauce; the sauce itself is bland and uninteresting, but it's mixed with fresh cracked black peppercorns a nice, if very small, touch. In the final analysis, however, the gorgonzola dominates the platter, and ultimately cannot be overcome. While we like to encourage innovation in poutine, innovation like this makes one think that nobody is test-tasting the platters before putting it on the menu. No one could walk away having eaten this thinking, "Wow, that really hit the spot." Which is too bad, because the outstanding cheeses available in Quebec could make for some glorious poutines (how about a chevre? the emmental at L'Anecdote is a reaspectable try.). And I can't stop wondering if Duceppe has had the gorgonzola poutine.
Roy le Jucep 1050 Boul St. Joseph, Drummondville 1

Roy le Jucep, in Drummondville.

(Sept 2005). Located approximately 1.5hrs from Montreal, the principle interest in this eatery is that it's owner, Jean-Paul Roy, claims to have invented poutine (see the restaurant's website ), in 1964. A perhaps more accurate description would be as "an" inventor; the combination of briny cheese curds, a sauce, and fried potatoes seems to have occurred to other restaurant owners in the region, so establishing primacy is difficult. Nonetheless, we are here primarily interested in the quality of poutine today.

Being located in Drummondville, in the region where fresh curds are made daily, a daily fresh supply which is absolutely necessary for an outstanding poutine is insured. Indeed Jucep's has squeeky fresh curds. However, the primary innovation claimed by Jucep's is their Jucep's sauce, which was first added to the potatoes in 1964 (it was restaurant guests who took bags of cheese, also sold by the restaurant, and added them to the mix, leading its owner to introduce it as a regular menu item).

Today's sauce is a corn-startch thickened base of stock, flavored mostly by the sugary-sweet taste of tomatoes, and a bit of onion. It reminds one mostly of a sweet/sour sauce of a Chinese diner, both in flavor and texture. The sauce was poured too cool to do anything to the cheese, and so the mixture remains a disparate pile of curds and fries, covered in sauce. If this is the plate which inspired future poutines, we can safely say that it did so largely as inspiration on the potentiality of sauce and cheese curds, rather than as a template to be copied. I doubt the claim that anyone has tried to copy this sauce, or to mass-produce it, made by the restaurant's website. The tomato-tasting stock sauce is too sugary-sweet to be an interesting or appropriate counter to potato starch. We would not score this poutine as worth travelling for (a 1, at best).

If there's a lesson to be drawn from Jucep's poutine, it is that embracing history for history's sake may be good for remaining connected to one's roots, but not for cuisine, which advances and improves. Jucep's poutine demonstrates that it is now a dish which has clearly moved well beyond its roots.

McDonald's various 1
(Dec 2003). It's not clear why McDonald's appeared in montrealmirror.com's best of 2003 Poutine list, and again in 2004, and 2005 - but I'm willing to chalk it up to late-night deadlines and a lack of imagination. The fries are the usual McDonald's fries, which lack the requisite crunchiness to hold up to a real slathering of sauce. The sauce used by McDonalds is a made-to-purpose uninteresting brown sauce whose chief asset and characteristic seems to be its color (brown). As of this writing, I have not yet been able to differentiate between quality of cheese curds, so the cheese curds used by McDonalds were as good as anywhere else.
Mamma's 75 Ave du Pins, 288-1128 1

Poutine au Bacon, at Mamma's.

(Nov 2005). You want to love a place called Mamma's. Indeed, perhaps if you eat pizza, as the McGill students who frequent the place do, you just may. Alas, this correspondent does not eat pizza, he eats poutine. While the offerings are many (sausauge, hot-dog, bacon, ground beef, itallienne, and the only vegetarian poutine I've seen in Montreal), they are not worth the trip. The fries were the freeze-dried type, and were only partially cooked in the plate served to me. The inscrutible cheese was grated onto a tomtao-tasting sauce, which seemed just as likely to have come from a can than a kitchen. If there was any redemption to be had, it was in the bacon which was layered on top of the Poutine au Bacon (the plate I tried); but, throwing one piece of quality on an otherwise uninteresting heap cannot redeem it. This is a poutine which is available 24 hours a day, but, really, there are far better examples even in that category: (La Banquise, or Club le Sandwich). I can't recommend the poutine, for any category; which is a shame, because they certainly do like to mix it up.
Mondo Fritz 3899 St. Laurent 1
(June 2005). A former champion, Mondo Fritz has recently changed its poutine recipe. They've dropped the curds for a shredded cheese. The sauce is flat and uninteresting. Sadly, where the Poutine au Steak was once something I brought friends from out of town to eat, and they would leave with eyes rolled into the back of the heads, the plate is now a shadow of its former self.
Deli Jack Tooney rue Berri at Ste. Catherine St. O. 1
(Dec 2003). This is an expensive -- for what you get -- diner-style restaurant, largely occupied by tourists, with bad poutine. The fries sogged up (not crispy), the sauce tasted canned as canned can be, and the cheese was a shocking replacement of curds, which aren't in short supply it should be said, with string cheese. String cheese! If abandoned alone in a cell, with a loaded gun and a plate of poutine from this place, I would first reach for the gun, to put the poutine out of its misery before putting me out of mine.
Nickels various 1
These Celine Dion-owned family style restaurants serve a poutine for which my heart will not go on. Diner-style skinny fries, a blank-canvas brown sauce and second rate cheese grains insure that the $5 a pop poutine will be quickly forgotten.
Globe 3455 St. Laurent (284-2823). unrated
Reports of a special duck-based poutine sauce can be found on the web. Inquiries have been made during several visits over a span of 2 years, and it has never appeared, and management states it is not a regular menu item.
In-N-Out Burger various, in California unrated

In-N-Out Burger is a favorite fast-food burger place in Southern California. Owned by a single family, the chain is expanding in Northern California and elsewhere. They have a famous (and not advertised) off-menu, which the employees won't tell you about, which involves the creative mixture of available ingredients. All they list in their restaurants are their burgers, fries, shakes and soda.

Technically, it qualifies for what I consider a poutine: fries, cheese, sauce. But, the fries "animal style" won't fool any Montrealer, this is a completely different beast, and a delicious beast it is. This is a knock-off of their off-menu hamburger "animal style". The fries are topped with cheese, special sauce and grilled onions, and are a delicious addition to any meal. The mayonaise in the special sauce is cool, however, and dampens the high spirits of the grilled onions, which have a hot, sweet balsamic tang. So far out of the normal category, we're leaving this item unrated; but you should certainly avail yourself next time you're in SoCal.

The fries "animal style" at In-N-Out Burger in Southern California is a popular "off-menu" item.

Dive Bar 732 Amsterdam (at 96th), New York, NY 3

Poutine at Dive Bar.

(Oct 2007). Montrealers will immediately recognize this as an authentic poutine: briny curds, spindly fries and a chocholatey (beef-based) sauce, combined at the appropriately hot-but-not-too-hot temperature which permits the group to melt into a homey glom. Served on a beer-soaked outdoor terrace, or inside in a familiarly dark, humid interior a great way to find home in a distant land.
Pommes Frites 123 2nd Ave (at 7th St.) New York, NY 1

A large poutine at Pommes Frites in the East Village in New York.

(Nov 2005). It might be unfair to rate the poutine at Pommes Frites. After all, they are a good 7 hours from the Poutine capital. But, on Manhattan, where the claim is you can get the best of any food at any time, there should be a great poutine, and this is not it. The fries are undeniably spectacular, and that is what one should come to this classic chips place for. With a selection of 20 sauces, you can enjoy the best fries you might run across anywhere. But, they toss on top an unimaginative, and not very good, chicken gravy; and while they did manage to find cheddar curds (word is, you can find these at some farmer's markets in New York), they were well past prime, lacked the particular brine common to Montreal curds, and even melted in to strings in the cheese. I recommend coming for the fries, and having one of the other sauces.