Montreal, Quebec – Montreal Poutine

by Mijune on November 17, 2011 · 11 comments

in $10 or less,authentic,Canadian,Food 5,Montreal,Quebec,Vegetarian

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Restaurant: Montreal Poutine
Cuisine: Canadian/French/Eclectic/Bistro
Last visited: November 6, 2011
Location: Montreal, Quebec (Old Montréal)
Address: 161 Rue Saint-Paul Est
Subway stop: Champ-de-Mars
Price Range: $10 or less

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5 (based on poutines)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Since 2010
  • Popular for poutine
  • Local/tourist favourite
  • Home made MTL Smoked Meat sandwiches
  • Burgers/Salads
  • Family friendly
  • Cheap eats/Budget friendly
  • Open late
  • Sunday to Thursday: 10am-12am
  • Friday & Saturday: 10am-3pm

**Recommendations: Poutine

Poutine! As soon as I mentioned Follow Me Foodie to Montreal & Quebec City I had a million requests for poutine. I don’t want to rain on the poutine parade, but at this point it’s a love hate relationship I have with it. Sure I like it, but it’s fries, cheese and gravy, even a “bad” one won’t be that bad. It’s late night fast food, not a delicacy, although good cheese curds are hard to find.

I was excited to try a “real” one in Montreal, but when you get over the hype, you really get over it. I guess that’s a sign of becoming a true Montreal-Canadienne as well. I’m far from, but I can understand why some Montrealers roll their eyes at “poutine”.

Don’t get me wrong, the locals do like it once in a while, but they don’t seem obsessed with it like the rest of the world outside of Quebec seems to be… or is that just a characteristic of the West Coast Vancouverites? Whatever it is, it is one of Canada’s or Montreal/Quebec’s “national foods”. If you’re in Canada let alone Quebec, you should try one, but seriously there is so much more to explore. Focusing on poutine is like finding the best nachos in Mexico… sure it can be good, but life is short, and Montreal has so much more to offer.

Montreal Poutine opened just over a year ago so it is rather new to the poutine scene. It’s in a touristy area of Old Montreal but the locals come here as well. With a prime location and the name “Montreal Poutine” it seemed like such a tourist trap, but our local host from the Van Houtte Getaway confirmed it was a solid choice for poutine in Montreal.

It felt almost wrong to have poutine for breakfast, but that’s exactly what we did… and no one was drunk or hungover. At least this poutine had some effort though and it could be enjoyed during daylight. I balanced it out by having St. Viateur Bagels with cream cheese and a Schwartz’s Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich for lunch. Yup, I can balance in heels much better than I can balance a diet! After this day I also tried the classic go-to poutine shop Resto la Banquise, but I ended up liking Montreal Poutine better.

 

On the table:

**Regular Poutine5/6

  • 100% Vegetarian – French fries, sauce and cheese $7.50
  • In the realm of poutine it was excellent! It’s an authentic poutine.
  • It was actually a bit “gourmet” based on the quality of ingredients and execution of the overall poutine.
  • It reminded me of the one from La Belle Patate in Vancouver, BC, which is also the best poutine I’ve had to date.
  • To be honest, I think La Belle Patate was even better and the cheese curds were even a bit fresher and thus squeakier.
  • An authentic poutine should have good quality fresh cheese curds that squeak in your teeth and they shouldn’t melt. If they melt you’re getting mozzarella or white cheddar cheese. This one fulfilled the cheese curd requirements.
  • This one had large cheese curds and they were quite generous with them too, which added to the “gourmet” aspect. This one wasn’t that greasy either.
  • The fries were hot, fresh, hand cut with the skins on, not too greasy and nicely seasoned, but I found them a bit soggy, even the ones not covered in gravy.
  • The fries were cut quite thick and they matched the size of the cheese curds, but I wasn’t keen on them alone.
  • The gravy is often a chicken based gravy, but some “poutine masters” suggest that poutines are made with “poutine sauce” and not “gravy”.
  • Poutine sauce is vegetarian and it tastes like powered gravy, and it has that gluey gummy texture a packaged gravy would have.
  • The majority of people may not be used to this “artificial gravy”, and it may be why they wouldn’t like this, but it’s actually what makes it the “real deal”.
  • What makes a “real” poutine is debatable, but from what I know, Montreal Poutine is making it and so is La Belle Patate.
  • On the other hand if I prefer La Belle Patate in Vancouver, I wouldn’t be surprised if poutine in Montreal could get better than this.

Poutine with Smoked Meat4.5/6

  • $10.50
  • They offer home made Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwiches as well and they smoke their own meat.
  • The meat was shredded up into bits and covered with poutine sauce, so naturally it was also a bit saltier overall.
  • The meat reminded me of Black Forrest ham and it was peppery and nicely cured. It was no Schwartz’s, but it was not bad.
  • It was very good, but you could only have so much before you wanted to take a nap.

Poutine with Fried Onions & Mushrooms4.5/6

  • $9.50
  • I had to get my veggie intake somehow, so why not with a fried onion and mushroom poutine?
  • The fried onions were sweet, but not caramelized and still crunchy.
  • Caramelized onions actually take a long time to make if you prepare them correctly and they have to be slow cooked over low heat until their sugars release and naturally brown.
  • These onions were just sauteed until soft and not even brown yet, which is different than caramelized onions. I’m getting technical, but just stating my point of view.
  • The mushrooms were just button mushrooms and I wouldn’t have minded a bit more.
  • Without being technical, it was still a great poutine.

Avocado Fries - 3.5/6

  • Seasoned avocado battered with Japanese bread crumbs. Lightly fried. $8.50
  • The avocado was crispy and lightly crusted with Panko crumbs and coarsely cracked black peppercorns, which I thought were black sesame seeds.
  • The inside was nice and creamy and the addition of sesame seeds in the breading would be nice.
  • The black peppercorns really added a peppery kick especially when you bit into one.
  • It didn’t even need the salsa, but I was hoping for more flavour besides peppercorns and salt.
  • I think the dip was a spicy salsa, but it wasn’t memorable or I would have remembered it.
  • They were good, but also standard for avocado fries and quite pricey.

[geotag]

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 KimHo November 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

Focusing on poutine is like finding the best nachos in Mexico…

There is a difference, I think. “When in rome, do as Romans do”. Since poutine is such dish, well, if you don’t try it, you might as well be missing some part of the experience! However, in the case of Mexico (at least in DF), there were no nachos in sight…

I think that, because the components of a poutine is almost regular food (read: things you will find on its own), people develop preferences to them and it is somehow translated into their preference for poutine. In the case of the fries, I prefer mine double fried to produce crispiness on the outside, fluffy in the inside. However, I have friends (specially a Quebeçois one) who prefers theirs limp as you described above. Likewise, people grew up eating “cheese” from a pizza with that melted stringy characteristics and, when they see them in poutine, it sort of translates as well. Overall, hey, if you enjoyed it!

Oh, as for “veggies” in a poutine, hey, you didn’t order a poutine galvaude! :P

2 Mijune November 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

@KimHo – Grrr Kim! I’m going to politely ask for you to give it a rest every time I mention anything “Latin/Mexico” related… *sigh*… nachos do exist in Mexico btw, I’ve had them there :)

These fries weren’t actually limp though.. they just weren’t that crispy…. I know what you mean by limp though. I think these intended to be crispy. I was with many Quebecois on this trip and they preferred crispy.. so I think it just depends. I personally like crispy like you though.

They actually didn’t offer poutine and peas or with poutine with chicken and peas lol

3 Katy November 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Can I tell you how much I hate you (and love you)?!

Poutine is definitely not a delicacy but it’s my ultimate comfort food and I loveee it! I agree with KimHo above though, everyone has different opinions about poutine and which one is the best. I like my cheese both melted and stringy OR the squeaky cheese curds depending on my mood but for me, it’s the gravy that makes or breaks it. I’ve never had a poutine with really bad fries before so I’m sure soggy fries would turn you off, but I’ve had it with bad gravy! My two favorite poutine places: La Belle Patate (recommended by you) and NY Fries– for their beef gravy.

4 KimHo November 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Sorry, Mijune. I love you but my disdain against Mexican food (specially when it is thought to be representative to Latin food) overwhelms it. Nachos in Mexico? Probably in an all-inclusive resort! :P

Katy, amen about the gravy! When I was down in Portland, I tried Potato Champion, a food cart specializing in french fries and had poutine in their menu. So, my darn curiosity took the better of me and, darn, it was a BAD gravy (fries were OK, cheese curds weren’t squeaky but, at least, bearable).

5 4SlicesofCheese November 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Avocado fries???? Where can such a wonderful creation be had in Vancouver?

I cannot wait for the poutine fest coming up, hope it doesnt snow!

6 Mijune November 18, 2011 at 1:15 am

@Katy – You are so cute!!! xoxoxox lol! Are you going to poutine fest on Saturday!??! I agree with you too though! Stringy melty cheese for late night munchies and fresh cheese curds during the day for me :)

@KimHo – Funny thing is that the gravy at La Belle Patat is vegetarian poutine sauce though and not “gravy”… which is supposed to be “authentic” even though it doesn’t taste as good.

@4Slices – lol I love how you commented on the fries! Well they’re not called “fries”, but Eatery does deep fried avocado which is essentially the same thing… or similar at least. I’ve also had them in Texas before, but in Vancouver it’s usually under “deep fried avocado” and not “fries”. Izakaya places will offer it sometimes too… happy hunting!! :)

7 Rodre Domingo November 19, 2011 at 7:19 am

I’m with Kimho, they don’t eat nachos in mexico. nachos were invented for the white man it’s a tex mex thing that caught on in north america.

if you ate them in mexico then you were definitely eating at a tourist trap that caters to gringos

8 Linda November 20, 2011 at 9:53 pm

wowo avocado fries?!?!?! now that’s creative!

mmm i recently started to love poutine but i really didn’t like it when i was younger.. i totally told ppl that cheese curds had to squeak when you eat them in a proper poutine and they laughed at me until i showed them your vids during your best poutine in vancouver search! ps – can you do one for hotdogs please? lol

9 Mijune November 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

@Linda – bwhahahah lol really?!?! That is SO cute!!! AWW!!! I’m so happy you’ve been spreading the word about authentic poutine! I mean melty ooeyy gooey ones have their place too, but I think it’s important to know the difference. I’m a food geek lol. oxox

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