The great Toronto poutine challenge: the duck confit poutine
A question was posed the other day in the comments section: What is the best accompaniment to wash down a poutine? Lots of burger joints these days are offering up shakes, and a coke works well in a pinch, but for my money if you want a truly perfect pairing, you head to Duggan's Brewery, order yourself a duck confit poutine and a #7 stout.
Many people would have you believe stouts are a heavy beer - I disagree. They're certainly creamy, rich and full of flavour, but they can also be quite delicate and light as well and the lack of carbonation means they go down much easier than many of their paler counterparts. The lightness and boldness of the #7 stout actually pairs wonderfully with the density and richness of the poutine.
I've been holding off on the Duggan's entry. It's a poutine I've enjoyed in the past and will probably - after a long, long, hiatus - enjoy again. How did it stack up? Here it is:
One of the great things about a Duggan's poutine is how evenly all the ingredients are distributed throughout the dish. Unfortunately for the fries, the combination of piping hot gravy and cheese nestled in every nook and cranny has obliterated any crispness in the french fries before the plate is even set down. They've been over dressed, and come to think of it, they're a little firm inside as well. This isn't the Duggan's I remember. 3/5
The menu at Duggan's is full of big, heavy flavours and that extends to the duck confit poutine as well. The sauce is a rich, decadent duck pan gravy that adds amazing flavour to the dish without ever overpowering either the meat or the cheese. In the case of the duck of course this is because they're almost one in the same. They're complementary of each other. Generally additional ingredients compete with the inherent flavours of the dish, but in the case of the duck confit, those big chucks of succulent duck integrate seamlessly. 5/5
These springy strands of cheese curds aren't going to win points with traditionalists. While they may be plentiful, and offer up loads of fork twirling opportunity, they're far too prone to melting to maintain enough substance for the sacred squeak. But putting that aside, they're wonderful. Again, evenly distributed throughout so every bite is as good as the last. 4/5
Deceptively large. It probably could suit one person as a meal, but because it's so rich it works much better as a starter to share with a partner. Suggested pairing: Duggan's Jerk wings. 4/5
Total Score: 16/20
While 80 per cent might still put you on the honour role, it's really a poor showing for Duggan's who should have scored higher. I had been holding back on going here because I knew it was excellent, a little poutine Prozac to lift the spirits when the endless stream of starch and curds became too much. Unfortunately it just came out soggy today, perhaps it was too early in the day and they hadn't had time to blanch the fries first, I don't know, but something just wasn't meshing.
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