Poutine, fries topped with white cheese curds and covered in gravy, is a beautiful thing. Second to Mike Meyers, poutine is my favorite Canadian export. So it was with great excitement I went to TPoutine a few weeks ago. (TPoutine opened late last year, but as with most new restaurants, I like to go a few months later so the kinks have been worked out.) TPoutine was empty when David and I got there. Worrisome, but it was 8pm on a Sunday night. Poutine, a food most commonly eaten in the wee hours after drinks, I figured we missed their busiest time by a few hours. Since it was our first time there, we ordered the Classic ($7.25), fries with gravy and white cheddar cheese curds. Then something happened.
The guy at the counter told the guy I presume to be the cook sitting nearby the order, but took it upon himself to throw handfuls of frozen fries into the fryolater with his bare hand. OK, not terrible, but let me mention while he had been taking our order, he had been coughing into the same hand. I know, hot oil will kill anything, but I don’t want to eat sh*t just because it’s been sanitized. And I’m all about teamwork, but at restaurants, even if it’s a fry shop, cooking should be left to the professionals; those hopefully trained in food safety and hygiene. David and I looked at each other and contemplated our next move. If I had been alone, I probably would have just eaten it, but David is a germaphobe, and I saw the look of disgust on his face. We could have bolted, like David wanted to do, but that would have meant $7.25 down the drain, so I decided to ask for a fresh order instead. In TPoutine’s defense, the cook kindly obliged and made us a new batch without any complaints. David, however, was still horrified they didn’t swap out the oil.
Poutine at La Banquise
New poutine prepared, I dug in. David picked nervously. The verdict: delicious! The hot fries were longer, thinner, and more crisp than the fries in the poutine I had at La Banquise in Montreal two years back. Like a good American, I love crunchy fries. In addition, the hot housemade gravy was nice and salty, and the cheese curds were slightly warmed and softened from the heat of the fries and gravy. (Don’t expect the cheese to be melty and gooey. This isn’t pizza or nachos.) It’s been a while since I’ve had the poutine at La Banquise, but on the quality of the fries alone, I’d say the poutine at TPoutine is better.
Poutine is categorized as food best eaten when drunk, but as long as the same guy isn’t behind the counter, drinks aren’t necessary at TPoutine. But if he is, I may need a stiff drink beforehand. (Pun completely intended.)
Update: No stiff drink needed. Tpoutine has closed, but according to Fork in the Road (5/13/2010), a poutine truck is said to be in the works.