It is day six and I am finally having poutine. It seems blasphemous to have held off for so long, especially in the birth place of poutine. The place where fries, cheese, and gravy were combined for the very first time. Apparently there is a feud between two families claiming its creation.
Today we were visiting the neighbourhood diner where poutine, among other items were offered. The term for such a place is translated to “breaking crust”, or a place to dine and break bread at. Such places usually start off as an old house or office that has been converted to a restaurant. There are a bunch of these little shacks around town, this just happened to be the closest to my partner’s childhood home, only a block away. Driving up to it, I wasn’t able to tell it was a restaurant. I guess those in the neighbourhood just knew. It was a large building painted green, it looked like a barn with a laundry mat at the back. It was the ideal set up wheee those doing their whites and darks could wait with a hot coffee and a warm snack. The diner was owned and operated by two women. When we drove up to the building they were taking a smoke break outside. They entered before we did to continue their conversation behind the counter. They both worked out of the opening kitchen.
Given the look of the room it was definitely refurbished from a old home. Counter tops across their stainless steel kitchen and an average size seating area. The booths were some of the most uncomfortable I have ever sat in. Hard and stiff they were early not designed for extended stays. Though they and the rest of the dining room was very well maintained. The paint on walls were crisp, the furnishings were new, and the room as a whole was well organized. Not a lot of clutter aging the space. A few IKEA style, restaurant themed paintings hung on the walls, a white and black board showcased specials by the kitchen and each setting was set with a white and blue paper placemat welcoming diners.
The menu was pretty standard to everything else I have seen or had: sandwiches, poutines, burgers, and fries. There was also a steak entree available, but we discussed the risk in ordering it and hoping for quality at a place like this. This was your mother’s kitchen, the cooking was self taught, and the food homemade. It’s done with love, but not with the quality that you expected for what you had to pay for.
I couldn’t believe it possible, but the common fast food fare offered almost everywhere else, just got faster here. With a few spins of the microwave I was cautious of our meal to come. They used it two times after we placed our order. Given the low traffic it is easy to assume that the food would not be made from scratch, but instead assembled to order. There would be no prep done, just things made to keep with the possibility of reheating. Though given the prices expected, I was a little surprised. A fairly large order of poutine for $7 and a sandwich for $5.50. Those aren’t too far from prices asked for at fast food restaurants like “Subway”, but there the chain is able to guarantee things will be always fresh and made your way. Either way in was walking in knowing what to expect. I was able to accurately judge this book by its cover so ate preparedly. With lowered expectations I, for the most part, enjoyed what I had. And good thing too, as one of the owners came around to ask what we thought of the food. When my partner said, “good” she said, “thank you”. She had clearly taken it personally. I would hate to see what the conclusion would be if we said only “okay”.
Their medium poutine was our large in Vancouver. The sticks of potato were deep fried to a crisp, leaving a few plated with a darker hue. They were a nice mixed texture of chewy and crunchy. Good on its own, but a second fiddle to the cheese. They did not skimp on the squeaky cheese, with kitchens producing their own batches daily, and bags offered at every shop, there was no reason to have to. The cheese was not only sprinkled on top, but was added to the middle of the French fry mound as well. Enough cheese to finish all the fries with. Enough gravy to flavour each fry without drowning it. The perfect ratio of the three. There were even dry fries at the bottom of the plate that weren’t soggy. A very important point as poutine is best with crisp fries, squeaky cheese, and luscious gravy.
My partner ordered the “Italian sandwich” to my dismay. At a place like this you stick to the basics. What I would imagine would be a sandwich filled with meatballs, mozzarella, and marinara; was a salami sub with pickle slices, tomato wedges, leafy lettuce, melted mozzarella, green peppers, and diced onions. It was a salty mix, made tolerable when I removed the two slices of salami. It wasn’t anything special. Just crispy bread and regular ingredients. There wasn’t even a lot of any one thing. To not waste it I finished half, mostly enjoying the bread. Though it find use for the sandwich as a break in between bites of heavy poutine.
Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
The shop is best as an easy stop to grab a bag of fries at. Sold in brown paper bags, by how many it will feed, they were convenient diner for young teens and busy families. I would not dare to try anything else, but can definitely recommend the poutine. Poutine does not get anymore authentic then at a place like this. Don’t deny your cravings.