Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Where do we live? The City of Poutine - Poutineville

So apparently, the week of February 4th was Montreal's official poutine week? Now, how did that happen? I guess some people on the council of poutine sat down together in all their poutine glory and decided it was a good idea to dedicate a random week in between the two coldest months in Montreal to the iconic Montreal dish. 
S'all cool, s'all cool. As long as it means more crazy and innovative poutines, I'm down for that!

I've wanted to try Poutineville for a while now, and the poutine week was the perfect excuse to drag my friend over to their location on Ontario street for some fried, high-caloric, cheesy goodness.

Accessibility - Grade: B-
I thought the Beaubien location would be accessible, but Google maps lied to me and told me it was a 1.5 hour walk from the metro, when it was really only a 9 minute walk from the metro. Curse you, Google maps!
In the case of the Ontario location, once you get out from Berri from the exit on Berri, which in itself is already tremendously difficult, since Berri-UQAM station is basically a maze, you still have to walk for about 15 minutes before you reach the restaurant. And when you're two girls walking alone at night on Ontario street, it can be pretty scary. So either check out the Beaubien location, or get there in a car.

Service - Grade: B-
The service was average. On the one hand, our waitress was pretty nice when we did interact, in that motherly way. On the other hand, we didn't interact very much. When we first entered the restaurant, the hostess was chatting with the barman. Even after she had caught sight of us, she still continued to chat with the barman for a good while before bringing us to our seats. Once we were seated, the only problem I had was that there were times when I wished for more water, but there wasn't anyone there to refill it. 

Food - Grade: B
So how it works here is that you can either order set combinations from their regular menu, or you can create your own poutine. You can choose what kind of fries, sauce and toppings you want, and can pretty much create your own abomination/masterpiece of a poutine. Since it was our first venture here, we decided to go with some of their more signature dishes.

We were three people, and decided to order two poutines and a salad. Because we're wusses.

Large house salad
Because we knew that poutines would end up becoming too heavy, we decided to split a large house salad. I was really just expecting your run of the mill, boring mixed greens, but I was really impressed with this salad. Aside from the mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, the salad also contained spicy marinated grilled peppers and slivers of tasty pickled eggplant, which added a lot of zesty flavour to the salad. A really great side to all the starch-heavy poutine.

2 poutine sample
I ordered the two poutine sample, which consists of a sweet potato poutine with a three-pepper gravy, and a smashed (that's right, not mashed, smashed!) potato poutine with a red wine gravy. Wow, these two poutines may have been the best I've ever tasted in my life, even despite the fact the fact that they came out lukewarm with cold cheese curds. I can only imagine how they would have tasted had they been piping hot.

Smashed potato with red wine gravy
While the poutine was still relatively warm, I thought the smashed potato poutine was the better of the two. The potatoes were literally smashed into flat, unrecognizable mushy piles, and are then fried until crunchy on the outside, chewier towards the middle and just tender and soft in the middle. The red wine sauce was also very tangy, fragrant, and strong. If you like red wine, you'll love this particular poutine.

Sweet potato poutine with three-pepper gravy

As the poutine cooled, however, the sweet potato became far more popular than the smashed potato poutine. For one thing, the sweet potato fries here remained crunchy even after cooling down, kind of like the ones from Gourmet Burger. And as the fries cooled, the sweetness really started to penetrate through the salty gravy. Add in the small sting from the pepper, and it creates a well-balanced medley of flavours.

Le Montréalais
We also tried their special Montréalais poutine, which contains portobello mushrooms, smoked meat, melted swiss cheese and a fried pickle. Overall, it was a solid poutine. You can't really go wrong with smoked meat and poutine, right? This poutine came out piping hot, and cheese was completely melted, and so stringy that I had to lift my arm high above the head before the cheese broke off. Mmm, just the way I like it.

There were some minor issues I had with the poutine. First, the fried pickle. I've never had a fried pickle before, and I can't say I'm a huge fan of this particular one. I was expecting a crunch upon a crunch, but instead, the inner pickle had gone soft after being fried, and the outer shell was more bread-like than crunchy. Also, once fried, the pickle seems to taste more salty than sour. Also, I wish they had put in more smoked meat. The smoked meat poutine you get at La Belle Province gives you these hefty, juicy chunks of smoked meat, and lots of it too. Here, the smoke meat is sliced thin and small, so you get a taste of it, just enough in each bite for you to crave and search for the meat, but never enough to satisfy. So, like I said, solid, but probably not their best menu item.

Lava cake
Yum! I have a soft spot for lava cake, and this one really hit the spot. Soft, decadent an gooey on the inside, and rich and cake-y on the outside. It's also fairly big for a lava cake, so you can easily split it between two people.

Price - $$
The prices are really reasonable here. The sampler plate was $11, the large Montréalais was around $12 or $14, as was the large house salad. The lava cake was $5. For the portions you're getting, the prices are definitely worth it.

Final Grade: B
Overall, Poutineville serves up some solid poutine, with a few specialty menu items that really stand out. The whole create-your-own-poutine thing is a really nice bonus, and if you like la Banquise, but are looking for a bit more variety in your poutine, then you'll probably like Poutineville. Again, I especially liked their smashed potato fries and sweet potato fries, so I'll definitely be back one day equipped with my creativity, ready to mix up some mean poutine!

Montreal in a nutshell? More hand-drawn doodles!
Don't get me wrong, I love Montreal, but you have to admit, we have our weird quirks.

1348 Beaubien est 

(514) 544-8800

1365 Ontario Street East, Montreal
(514) 419-5444
Poutineville on Urbanspoon


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