The great Toronto poutine challenge: the classic poutine (take 2)
It's late in the day when stop by Burger Shoppe for their take on poutine. It's the long weekend and the streets are quiet. I'll admit, it's been a week now and my conquest is beginning to take its toll, but not in the way I expected. Sure, I'd been sweating gravy up until the heat broke and that lovely snap of cool weather rushed in, but I'd expected that. It was clear from the start this wouldn't be a good idea for my health and I accepted that. What I hadn't predicted was the effect it would have on my psyche - poutine is very controversial.
Whether the debate is concerning the source of the ingredients or the nature in which they're assembled, it seems next to impossible to find a consensus. Some call anything other than chicken gravy blasphemy, others won't even accept the dish if it's made outside of Quebec. At the same time though, because of all this wild experimentation, some brilliant new dishes have emerged.
Today's poutine leans on tradition more than many of the previous entries, it might not be a by the book replica of Quebec's prized creation, but it doesn't take any liberties. About a block west of Dangerous Dan's we check out Burger Shoppe and I'm happy to report, they get this dish pretty right:
These were nice. There's been a good run on French fries lately and I appreciate that because even if everything else falls apart, a good French fry is a good French fry and that in itself is a thing of beauty. 4/5
I hate to break it to the poultry enthusiasts, but whether poutine began with a chicken gravy or not, in Ontario, beef is king. The war has been won and it's time to make peace and acceptance. Then, after you're done accepting, embrace it. It's a richer, more earthy flavour and it doesn't matter if it's authentic or not, it's just better. 4/5
I need some help here, all you poutine experts who seem to have acquired membership into some kind of secret society. Tell me this; what is that flavour a curd instills on the tongue? The one that makes it distinctly a cheese curd? I'm not talking about texture or sound, but flavour. What do you call that? Because I will say this, Burger Shoppe does not have the squeak or the firmness, but the flavour is there. You can tell these are great curds, but maybe two days too old? In some ways it even works in their favour, they melt into the gravy and combine to make this amazing sauce - well done. 4/5
It's good; it's lunchtime size, bar snack size. The Burger Shoppe gives you the right amount, it's not about value or volume; it's about strategy, providing enough to satisfy without making you feel like a glutton - and most of all, it doesn't have the faintest whiff of regret. Well done. 4/5
Final Score: 16/20
Here it is, a truly well rounded poutine - a classic. No need for additional flavours here, just fries, gravy and curds it perfect harmony.
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