Monday, 18 October 2010

Smokes Poutinerie ~ Toronto ON

Finally, I made my way to Smoke's. After reading and seeing so much on the Internet of this chain of eateries devoted to just poutine, it was time. Ryan Smolkin creation of a place that just sells poutine has led to so many comments, comparisons and . Blogs, newspapers, media outlets, critics, foodies - it created a little sensation, whether it was in 2008 in Toronto or this summer in Ottawa. I'm not big on jumping on band wagons, so I wasn't in a hurry. But I can't say my interest wasn't piqued.

There's a Smoke's just a few blocks from me, but I just never went. So I was in luck when Ricky of came to town to visit, it became our lunch destination. It was a beautiful Saturday to wander the streets of Toronto, but we needed some serious fuel first. I got Ricky to send me his comments, so join us on our journey to the poutinerie.

RICKY: "The vast array of choices bewildered my brain and excited my taste buds.  I was tempted my many of the offerings on the board.  The Robert Redford-esque Mascot lured me towards options like the Hog Town, the Country style, Nacho Grande or the Classic.  He mocked my indecision, but when my comrade in starch Wing King was ready to order, I had to quickly make up my mind.  He ordered and was promptly served before I was forced to decide."

WK:  Wow, there are a lot of choices. The Montreal with smoked meat and a pickle, the nacho one, pulled pork? Or even the classic poutine just to get a base understanding of what they are serving. Nah, I'm going with the Bacon Poutine. Base poutine with some bacon on top should be good. What size? Hmm, that small is looks like not much. Lets go regular. Oh hey look, it's ready all ready. I wonder if Ricky has finally made his decision?

RICKY: "He [WK] ordered and was promptly served before I was forced to decide.  The mound of bacon covered goodness he received startled me.  It was more potato than any carbohydrate fearing person should eat.  The shock of his order restored my mental clarity and I was quickly able to zero in on my indulgence.  I ordered and as Wing king before me, was promptly served my Chili poutine."

WK: Hmm, chili, sounds like a good choice. This location is small, not even a stool, just standing room. I like those bags of potato by the door with the Smoke's logo. That black board is cool. Maybe I should go write Lord of the Wings ate here. Nah. I'm content not writing anything up there - I have the Internet to write on.

RICKY:  "I had failed to grasp the concept of the offerings though. I thought I was ordering basic chili fries. I did not expect my fries to receive a topping of creamy cheese curd and a caress of silky smooth gravy before being assaulted by steaming chili.

 The combination was not, however and assault on my taste buds. It was delicious. It filled that unique niche between poutine and chili cheese fries that is so welcome on a cool day. The chili was flavorful, but did not overpower the unique flavour of the gravy and the delicious fries. The portion was well sized for my appetite and was joyfully consumed in a nearby park while watching bmx tricks on the basketball court."

Here's my [WK] meal. Can I just say, the empty box of the regular sized poutine looks, well small. But when that box is full, its a monster. I thought I had a monster hunger that day, but was I humbled.This was waaay more poutine than I wanted inside my tummy. Ricky definitely got to not make the same mistake I did.

Can I add that I love the Pop Shoppe black cherry? I love it. There, added.

Can you see the poutine? Like there is some in there, but there is so much bacon on top, well, there's a lot of bacon. I don't think I could get a bite in edgewise without having bacon.

My thoughts? There were things I liked, a few things I can complain about, and one thing I didn't like.

  • Portion size is huge. $7.99 for this sucker may seem like a lot, but it was a lot of food. 
  • Fries were pretty crispy. By the time we sat and ate, they were softer, but that is to be expected when you drench something in cheese, bacon and gravy.
  • I liked the Ricky's chili. It wasn't spicy, but a nice warm treat on a fall day.
  • Cheese curds were tasty. Not fresh mind you (No squeak. You NEED squeak) but it melted nicely.
  • The bacon - while good, was too undercooked for my liking. The full strips (like 7 or 8) visually looks like a lot (and it is), I would rather it was chopped up so I could evenly distribute the bacon instead of each forkful taking a whole strip.
  • The gravy. At first I thought it was an interesting earthy flavour, but there was something in the gravy I just didn't like. The more I ate it, the more I disliked it. I only ate 1/2 or maybe 1/3 of my order that day, and when I had the leftovers (in two sittings), it left a stronger distaste in my mouth.   

 So would I go back? Yes. But I won't have the regular gravy again. I'm not taking a chance like that again. But The fries were good and I would definitely try some of the other combos. And you have to like Pop Shoppe (reminds me of the 80's growing up). This is not authentic Quebecois poutine. I'm sorry, the gravy is not right and the curds weren't squeaky, but this was good grub. I'm just surprised with so many choices there isn't a Hot Wing Poutine, but maybe that's just me.

Thanks for sampling with me Rick. Hey, maybe we should go get some supper soon . . .

Smoke's Poutinerie
203 Dundas Street East,  Toronto ON (and other locations)


Teena in Toronto said...

I'm not a fan of poutine. We have Poutini's in our 'hood ... the fries are good with just gravy.

Lord of the Wings said...

@Teena - Not a fan? Just don't like the curds?

Buteo of Galakrond said...

you guys are hilarious. A very vocabu-licious blog entry, Wing King. Oh and I gotta say, awesome photos on the blog!
See you guys in November.

Lord of the Wings said...

@Buteo of Galakrond - Thanks you Night Elf you. See you this side of Kalimdor in November.

Indianguy said...

Yes? Hi! Vashi makes the parmageddon poutine. Its the super secret recipe that is the extra super delcious (and the hotness).

Chris said...

Poutine still eludes me. I do have source for curds about 30 miles away, I just need to go get them.

Ricky P. said...

That was a good meal...and reading about brought back those fond're right we should go out for supper soon...any good places in mind?

Ahhhh Bibliotech!

Lord of the Wings said...

@Indianguy - Where does Vashi make this? Pics or it didn't happen.

@Chris - Do it! Go get them!

@Ricky - How about 3 Brewers?