Lacking patience, hungry Gauntlet reporters descended on the 18th avenue Smoke's Poutinerie last week to find out how awesome it will be to have a poutinerie on campus.
Typically, I’m somewhat of a poutine purist who sticks to the classic fries-curds-gravy combination. However, with so many combinations at Smoke’s, you have to step outside your comfort-food comfort zone. And for such a deviation, the Montreal Poutine is a good choice. Topped with a crispy kosher dill, a pile of smoked meat and a reservoir of mustard, the Montreal combines two Canadian classics on one plate. While I was surprised at how good the smoked meat was, I was a bit disappointed with the fries. While Smoke’s isn’t shy with the gravy (as it should be), the fries could stand to be a bit crispier to compensate because they were a bit mushy by the end. But with tasty gravy and proper cheese curds, la poutine est bonne.
Steak Peppercorn Poutine
Sometimes you just need to change things up, even poutine. But let’s not go crazy. No need to add anything weird: no guacamole, cheeseburger or fajita, thank you very much. If you want something fancier than your standard cheese curds and gravy, grab yourself a Steak Peppercorn Poutine. Nothing says fancy like peppercorns and steak and they mix well with gravy and fries. With some mushrooms tossed in, the Steak Peppercorn Poutine actually reminds me of poutine I’ve eaten at some of the French bistros I’ve visited. Now, I am a fan of all poutine, but this one will likely become a staple of mine at the new Smoke’s in MacHall.
So I decided to bite the bullet and sample one of Smoke’s vegetarian options, of which there are many. While I was first drawn to the Veggie Nacho Poutine, due to my fondness of all things covered in salsa, I instead opted for the Rainbow. This train-wreck of a sodium bomb was covered in sour cream, cheese sauce, sriracha and guacamole, creating a colourful tableaux that lived up to its name.
This visual appeal disintegrated quickly as I frantically mixed everything together to create a pale-red coloured slurry. This may all sound unappetizing, but the final result worked surprisingly well. It turns out that when you mix together all of those ingredients, you get a delicious, but indistinct flavour that leaves you both vaguely unsatisfied and immediately craving more. It’s the same reason why I find Doritos so addicting, and will keep me coming back once Smoke’s opens at the U of C.
Country Style Poutine
There’s something disconcerting about food labeled “country style.” Usually used by chain restaurants to give that home-cooking feel to their probably not so home-cooked dishes, Smoke’s Poutinerie’s Country Style Poutine does its best to beat that trope. With chicken, bacon, mushrooms, sautéed onions and peas atop a traditional poutine, Smoke’s is going for that standard North American farmhouse feel and I dig it.
The first bite was delicious. I scooped all the fixings onto the fork and enjoyed what felt like a better version of a KFC chicken bowl. Sweet from the vegetables, salty from everything else, it has that familiar contrast you probably love about your grandmother’s cooking.
I didn’t finish because I awkwardly asked to wow-size my poutine, which basically doubles your order for three dollars. But it was tasty and comforting and you should eat it when Smoke’s opens.
The Slaughterhouse is not on the menu, so just ask for it at the till. They’ll know what you’re talking about.
This poutine only comes in the larger wow-size. It’s basically a big box of meat with a layer of potatoes lining the bottom. Since it’s not on the menu, I don’t know what kind of meat is included, but I think it’s pulled pork, ground beef, steak, some type of sausage and bacon. There were also some beans with the usual gravy and cheese curds.
Accepting the box from the lady at the counter, the poutine weighed at least three pounds. A mound of beef covered in bacon and drizzled with gravy peaked over the plane of the box. I knew right away that this was a sin I would quickly be punished for.
Imagine mouthful after mouthful of salty meats. That’s the what the Slaughterhouse tastes like. Beware.