The great Toronto poutine challenge: the pulled pork poutine
It's day 15 now and high time one of the front-runners in the new Toronto poutine vanguard got the spotlight.
Pulled pork is one of those things that's made its way on far more menus that it needs to be on. There was a time when seeing it listed would bring a tinge of excitement, but now it's virtually as common as a hamburger. However, like the hamburger, its range in quality is vast.
The pulled pork poutine is a great idea on paper, but rarely meets expectations in practice. The issue? Barbecue sauce. For some reason, cooks across the city have deemed it the only sauce fit for deconstructed strands of pork. Sure, tangy red barbecue can be excellent, but it need not be the be all, end all in pork preparation.
Factory produced, frozen, grocery store-style McCain Superfries. Why, I mean, why? Potatoes are so cheap, the recipe is so easy, it makes such a substantial difference in the finished product, why go the lazy route? 2/5
Not so much gravy as barbecue sauce. And judging by the rest of the dish, probably not made in-house. This is the common issue with a pulled pork poutine--just because it's pulled pork doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be a sweet and sticky barbecue sauce. That same pork could be braised in say, a stock of some kind, which could then be reduced into a demi-glace, amplifying the flavours in both the meat and the sauce. Why must it always be barbecue? 3/5
Three's Company has an open kitchen, so as I watched the cook prepare my meal I was aghast to see the last step. He reached into a bowl and began sprinkling something over the top of the pulled pork. Grated Cheese? Yup, grated cheese. So there you have it, tasteless, rubbery, grated marble cheese. 0/5
Enormous. Like, way, way too much. Sure it's listed in the mains, and sure the price certainly would reflect a substantial amount of cheesy fries and gravy - so maybe it's my own fault for not connecting the dots - but this is more food than anyone should be eating in one sitting. It looks like a platter served family-style, something that should have salad tongs wedged on the side for serving. Be warned, it's big. 4/5
Final Score: 9/20
What's baffling about this poutine is that it exists at all; it's a blot on an otherwise enviable culinary landscape. Three's Company's menu is full of wonderful sandwiches, salads, pastas and panini. That they would add something as sub par as this poutine is truly bizarre. And that they would see fit to charge $13.00 for it just seems silly.
It was a tip that sent me there, but based on their sandwiches - the shaved leg of lamb with goat's cheese and caramelized onions is excellent - I never would have questioned the quality. Unfortunately, this poutine gets it all wrong. Stick to the sandwiches.
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