Metro: Guy-Concordia, Peel
Bus: STM 15, 24, 57, 66, 165, 166, 427, 435
Visit: May 29, 2012
For me, in 2012, it has been quite a weak year for poutine. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy having my Benny’s poutine, which has become a weekly offering for me. Montreal is one of the easiest places to find poutine in the entire country. You can’t really go too far without coming across some cheese curds and fries. Recently, a outsider came to Montreal and opened their second location in the province of poutine. That franchise is known as Smoke’s Poutinerie.
You have to be asking yourself, what chance does a Toronto founded restaurant stand in a city where poutine is a big deal? It’s a very bold move for someone to make. Even people who lived in this province for decades can’t still get it right. So, it takes a lot of cojonies to go into someone else’s territory and open up shop. Plus, to add to that, they chose a central downtown location to do that. It’s the perfect place and it takes advantage of the only real part of the city that never sleeps.
On this day, I wasn’t really planning on making my way here. Plans, being the way they are, will take you to places you don’t expect to be. So, just to be clear, Mr. Lew will not wait in line, with scorching heat and torrential rains, for free food, it’s really not worth it. The fact that I was able to get into another restaurant is a big step for me. I’m terrible when it comes to choosing places on a whim. Most of the time, I’ll just end up at Subways or worse, McDonald’s. I was lucky that I was so close to Smoke’s, or you’d be reading a sixth post on McDonald’s.
When you walk into Smoke’s, you’ll notice that it is a lot like a McDonald’s. For the sake of my sanity, I’ll call it more like a Bofinger. I say that because you go up to the counter, make your order, wait, and finally sit down to eat. Since this was a last minute choice, I didn’t have much time to prepare my choice. This being the case, my eyes went straight to the first poutine that had bacon in it. If I wouldn’t had more time to browse, you’d be reading about the bacon cheeseburger poutine. As a matter of fact, I’ll return in the future just to try that out.
The rather small dining room is quite unique. The reason for that is you’ll be seeing the face. That face is nearly everywhere. As a matter of fact, I managed to snag two stickers with said face on them. Since it was in the middle of the afternoon, I was the only customer there. The seats are comfortable and you don’t really feel out of place.
These are some of the press that this restaurant got. I tend to find these in outsider restaurants trying to establish themselves in Quebec, so that they can convince us to convert.
Before I get to the actual poutine, I have to comment on the packaging. This is unusual packaging for poutine. Even though I knew about this beforehand, it was really interesting to see this in person. The really good part about this is the fact that it would make it so much easier to take-out your poutine.
I don’t think I have to really explain to you why I chose to have a bacon poutine. If I do, please some time to browse the rest of this blog to see that I’m quite bacon obsessed, though I’m not quite dead just yet. At Smoke’s, there are at least 22 different types of poutine. Since the founder got his influence for Smoke’s from La Banquise, it’s pretty clear that he took the great part of that Montreal institution.
On first glance, I really like the way the poutine looks. I went for a small poutine, thinking that I didn’t want to overdo it. That was a moot point since when I entered home, there was another poutine with chicken in it waiting for me. What can I say, poutine just finds me.
The part that made it a little hard to eat was trying to maneuver the unusual packaging. It’s really not that difficult, but you have to get used to it. It takes a few attempts to properly get the proper Smoke’s eating method right. At least, unlike plates or bowls, I was able to pick up the package and finish the poutine that way.
The cheese was also interesting. Though the taste wasn’t my issue, it was the fact that a lot of it was melted. A lot of poutine purists prefer to have the curds, intact. Having the cheese melted a bit, led to me having to struggle a bit with the stringy product.
The sauce was the component that I noticed the least. I say it time and time again, I’m not a poutine expert. If you were ever to ask me about the different sauces, you’ll draw a blank from me. All I’ll say is that I would’ve preferred something a little more memorable.
The ingredient that really stole the show and made the poutine good was the bacon. Just looking at the way it was sliced made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. You take a bite of it and you’re hit by all the double-smoked bacon goodness. Taking a bite of that reminded me of a pizza I haven’t had in a very long time (which I’m looking to make a post on very soon). Once again, it proves to me a least that bacon is able to elevate most of what I eat.
What Smoke’s Poutinerie is trying to do is not an easy thing. It’s a kin to trying to run another hockey team across the street from the Bell Center. When you’re in the province of poutine, you need to be on top of your game. There are some things that I like and dislike about the poutine at Smoke’s. If you choose the right poutine combination, you’re sure to like what you’re having, especially at the decent prices. If you’re looking for something traditional, the fries and the sauce might turn you off. In the end, what will work well for Smoke’s is its central location and the very important fact that it is open 24 hours a day.