The great Toronto poutine challenge: the Montreal poutine
With all the cold rain that fell yesterday, it seemed like a perfect day for the stick to your bones warmth of some home grown Canadian comfort food, and after the salad as poutine of yesterday and the processed pass off the day before, all that rain helped me get right back into the fray.
I'd been meaning to make my way over to the East End to try out the wares at the Great Burger Kitchen for sometime now and while the pitter-patter of raindrops on my skylight were making a convincing argument to stay in, I bundled up in some rain gear and headed East.
A sign hangs outside The Great Burger Kitchen that reads "purveyors of fine poutine." This is promising; this place takes its poutine seriously. How seriously? Lets take a look:
I like these fries; they're a heftier, heartier french fry that's found that sweet spot between crunchy surface area and tender potato interior. I feel like they overcook them just a tad, perhaps on purpose, to give them that extra little bit of leverage in staying crispy when they get hit with that thick steaming gravy. 4.5/5
It happened again, an otherwise good poutine compromised by sodium rich instant gravy. This is the biggest, most serious, affront to Toronto poutine excellence. Far too often purveyors of otherwise fine poutine deem it acceptable to use a band-aid like bouillon cubes or gravy powders. It's not that they taste bad per se, it's just that short cuts like that leave the gravy very one dimensional. Gravy - like poutine and cooking in general - should have a balance of flavours and gravy starters rob the final product of that balance. 2.5/5
I'm calling foul on these curds. Unless my truly refined poutine palate deceives me, these "curds" are in fact, nothing more than broken up pieces of old cheddar cheese, which I'm happy to admit I'm ok with. They're strong and tangy and plentiful. I'm a little hurt that I'm being lied to, but I appreciate that they didn't use the grated stuff. 3/5
This poutine weighs in at a pretty great value. It a big dish, heavy and filling, easily suited for two people and just over five bucks. For a loner like myself though, I had no chance on finishing the whole thing, but gave it that old college try .. or something. 5/5
Total Score: 15/20
So overall it's a decent poutine. Yes GBK needs to wean themselves off of their dependence on gravy powder and those curds looked remarkably like chunks of broken up cheddar cheese, but for the most part it tasted good. The only real think I'm faulting them with, and this is a serious charge, is misrepresentation. To call this a Montreal Poutine is insulting la belle province and misleading to customers. It's a fine poutine for a burger shack, but a bit of a letdown from a supposed specialist.