Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Poutine Week Montreal '14


So it’s February. February sucks in Montreal—I mean, so does January, December, March, all the brutally cold months, but February is by far the worst. But, you know what I do like about February? Poutine Week: 7 straight days dedicated to one of the holiest of culinary creations. Does it compensate for the blistering Canadian chill? Not really. But hey, we can’t win ‘em all.

This year, I happened to be out of town the first few days of the competition. Unfortunate, right? Nope, not when you’re a thousand miles away meeting your newborn niece for the first time! Yep, you heard right: I’m an auntie! She’s the sweetest, most precious little angel. Her name is Andi and I love her infinitely <3

Anyhow, even though I was only in the city for 3 days of Poutine Week, I still managed to eat at 3 of the competing restaurants.

1. Pub Quartier Latin: Poutine Boeuf Parmesan Truffes


-       Fries
-       AAA 1855 beef
-       Red wine demi glace sauce
-       Truffles
-       Parmegiano Reggiano

Alex and I went to Pub Quartier Latin with our food-loving besties, Marco and Gena. The truffles were more than enough to convince me. Perhaps you recognize this pub from one of those cold, cold nights when the line at La Distillerie was unbearably long, and not even your desire for one of their magnificent mason jars could dissuade you from seeking warmth and refuge next door.

The Verdict
I have to say their concoction was pretty refined for a poutine. The beef was cooked medium-rare, and was beautifully tender. The red wine sauce added a sweet, rich note to the dish. Sadly, on my plate, the truffle flavor didn’t really come through.  Maybe it was overpowered by the demi-glace; I’m not really sure, but it was disappointing, especially since that was the aspect that drew me most to this poutine. I liked that the Parmegiano Reggiano was in shavings, as opposed to grated, but I felt like the dish relied too much on the cheese to serve as the salt component, and it just wasn’t enough. A little more coarse salt would have really brought it together for me.

Pub Quartier Latin on Urbanspoon 

2. Miss Prêt à Manger: Miss Prêt pour Poutine


-       Regular & sweet potato fries
-       Cheese curds
-       Braised beef
-       Edible flowers
-       Braised beef poutine sauce

(all organic and locally-sourced ingredients)

Ok, I’ll be honest: this wasn’t the poutine that initially attracted us to the Bleury establishment. It was the poutine of their adjoining sister restaurant, Monsieur, that we came there for (think: sautéed kale, wild mushrooms, and sprouts). But, after a bunch of confusion, us feeling bad (looong story), among other things, no one was nervy enough to ask them to take it back. Plus—not going to lie—it looked good.

The Verdict
Edible flowers—oh la la! Fancy poutine! Those are two words that you don’t regularly find together. The beef was incredibly tender and moist; it pulled apart with ease.  The sauce was really flavorful too, and it was perfectly seasoned.  I also enjoyed their sauce-to-fry ratio (not too chintzy nor too overwhelmed and soggy). I loved the combo of sweet potato and regular fries. They were crisp, and the sweet potatoes offered an interesting sweet dimension.  I also liked that they kept it traditional with the cheese curds. Overall, I have to say, it was my favorite poutine of the week. The flavors and textures were perfectly balanced.

Miss Pret a Manger on Urbanspoon

3. Sesame: Shaolin


-       Panko beef
-       4 cheeses
-       Mixed veggies
-       Asian-inspired gravy

We went to Sesame on the final day of Poutine Week. My cousin had told me a while back about their General Tao Poutine. Initially, I wasn’t really sold on the concept  (it seemed like overkill), but since we were short on time that day, we had to go somewhere convenient, and they have a location close by at the Atwater Market.  We ordered the General Tao Poutine, as well as their competing poutine, and let’s just say, I was mistaken.

The Verdict
I was very much mistaken about the whole concept of Asian fusion poutine all together. To be honest, every time I read through the list of participating restaurants, I’ve always overlooked these combinations. I guess I just thought it totally abominated the idea of poutine. Anyhow, the Shaolin was, in fact, delicious. This one actually had more parallels with traditional poutine because the sauce was pretty much a gravy that incorporated some Asian flavors. The fries were nice and crisp. Thankfully, they weren’t too salty because the salt in the gravy and veggies balanced it out well. The beef was good; it maybe was a touch over-cooked, but it gave the dish a nice crunch.

Sesame on Urbanspoon

What was your favorite poutine of the week?  

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