The great Toronto poutine challenge: the new poutine
Poutine Plus is the newest competitor in the battle for poutine supremacy, an arena that is becoming increasingly crowded. Located at Queen and Bathurst, it's shouting distance from reigning champ - in ubiquity, at least - Smoke's Poutinerie across the street.
The place is brand new and takes over the storefront formerly occupied by Pita Pit. It's still a little rough around the edges and it's clear when I head in that there are still some kinks to be worked out - everyone seems to still be finding their footing.
But the fryers are on and the door is open, so I thought I'd go in and try a little poutine.
This is an area Poutine Plus needs to work on. They're fresh potatoes, which is good, but it's pretty clear they're not double fried, which leaves them oily, mushy and dense - all things you'd want to avoid in a french fry. Is this an example of growing pains? I hope so, but if you've gotten to the point where you're paying rent and buying commercial deep fryers, you should already know how to fry a potato. 2/5
Despite the unfortunate rookie mistake with the potatoes, there is still hope for Poutine Plus and the evidence is in the gravy. It's a dark, rich sauce with just the right consistency. I appreciate they haven't gone the route of the floury coagulated mess found on so many poutines in this town. I appreciate even more they've gone easy on the salt and seem to make this stuff from scratch, with tiny little pieces of meat floating around for proof. 5/5
The curds are good. I have one complaint though - well, two actually - the first is that I'd just like to see more of them. The second has to do with some of their signage in the place. Right on the sign it says "curds that squeak" - suffice to say, these ones don't. Now, I'm no curd snob and in an argument of taste versus texture I'll go with taste every time, but if you're going to specifically claim you've got some squeak, well, you better have it. That being said, these were really tasty and hopefully their lack of squeak is just another kink to be ironed out. 4/5
There are two sizes available; I opted for the "regular" which was just right. I finished the whole thing and walked out with a smile on my face. Had I ordered the large that smile would have been drowned in a tsunami of regret - it is huge.
It's a great deal, for less than two bucks more you get what looks like about three times the amount of food, but man, no one needs to consume that much poutine. Full points here though, for the choice: one for the reasonable people of the world and one for the gluttons. 5/5
Total Score: 16/20
Poutine Plus is on the right track here, it could use some work on decor and the fries need fixing, but overall it was a really good poutine. They've got their gravy figured out and that's the most important thing. It's been the most difficult ingredient to balance over the course of the past 20 days. Fries are an easy fix, and the cheese, well I imagine once things start to get busy there and the product starts moving, the cheese will get fresher. It's a pretty brazen move to set up shop across the street from Smoke's. I don't know if any corner really needs two poutine specialty shops, but time will tell.
So that's it. Challenge complete. 20 days - 20 poutines. Stay tuned later this week for my wrap up.
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