Metro: Verdun, De L’Eglise
Bus: STM 37, 58, 61, 107
Visit: February 6, 2013
With Montreal’s first ever poutine week now behind us, one has to think that this city is greatly spoiled. Believe me, none of us would have it any other way. During that short period of time at the beginning of February, at least 30 different restaurants put out their version of Quebec’s signature dish. While a lot of those options were tempting, only one particular poutine was worth the trek. The one worthy poutine can be found at Blackstrap BBQ in Verdun.
Blackstrap BBQ opened last October in the often underestimated borough of Verdun. You wouldn’t think of Verdun as a place where you can find anything decent, but a lot of locals will probably want to disagree. The new restaurant was opened by two individuals who once managed the Griffintown Cafe, a place that I had fond memories of. With their opening, within the first week, the hype grew exponentially.
Over the last few months, I’ve heard about the one dish that made me wish that I visited so much sooner. The owners of Blackstrap BBQ spent a bit of time down south to immerse themselves in the art of BBQ. What they came back with was a renewed sense of making comfort food for a Montreal crowd. The burnt ends poutine is more than enough to get you through that door.
There is something that you should be very careful about. Blackstrap BBQ is doing very good business and they tend to run out of food. Taking a cue from a lot of American BBQ places, once they run out of food, they cross that item off the list of what you can order. So, discretion being the better part of valor, you need to get there early or risk not having what you came for.
Once you get through the door, you’ll notice the unique atmosphere that you won’t forget. Near the window, there are two large wooden picnic tables. Once you see the right-hand wall, you won’t be able to miss the menu, one of the most unique presentations I’ve seen in Montreal.
On this evening, I was joined by two individuals who were very eager to try Blackstrap, Diana and Daniel. Since I arrived second, I went to order first, so that they could hold a spot at one of the tables. The ordering process was simple, as you had to wait for them to yell out your name. When it was my eating partner’s turn to order, I went to sit down. It was funny, there was another couple sitting at the table and they thought I was encroaching. But, I retorted after the misunderstanding, “everything’s fair when it comes to BBQ.
Fried Mac & Cheese
I wasn’t about to just have a poutine, I was hungry after all. The other item on the list that seemed very intriguing was the fried macaroni and cheese. Now, I’m not going to hide the fact that I don’t like macaroni and cheese. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve grown up on Kraft Dinner during my childhood that polluted my mind about the dish.
Well, I have to say that this cube of fried macaroni and cheese was quite good. The crispy batter does a great job of gathering up all the cheesy goodness. Sometimes, the cheese is a little overwhelming, but this time, it wasn’t that much. I actually enjoyed this very much and it took a few bites to make them disappear.
Burnt Ends Poutine
Since starting my search for burgers, I’ve had a great deal of poutine. Most of the time, those poutines are simple and classic. But, when you find something that it out of the ordinary, you’re compelled to try it. This poutine has your traditional sauce, French fries, and cheese curbs. What sets it apart is the generous topping of bits of brisket, or burnt ends.
The basic poutine components were done quite well. The fries were top notch, the sauce blended well with everything else, and the cheese curds were acceptable. What pushed it over the top was obviously the inclusion of those burnt ends. A lot of people will scoff when it comes to adding anything foreign to a poutine, but when that item elevates the whole, who can deny that? Those pieces of burnt ends were so easy to eat and they were full of flavour. I’d pay for a plate of those all by themselves.
Blackstrap BBQ has the attention of a lot of Montrealers. If you’re willing to get there early, you’ll find a bevy of great meats worth trying. The darkhorse item that blazed its way into the sights of Montrealers is that burnt ends poutine, which is worth the trek all the way to Verdun.