When drinkers get to the end of a night the primal instincts kick-in and see to it that food outlets are working at full capacity.
English louts have their kebabs.
The Scots like to chow down on a battered Mars Bar.
And the Filipinos have baluts (I’ll let you Google it!).
In Canada, though, the go-to-food at the end of a night is that trusty mix of gravy, fries and cheese curds – Poutine. Outlets in other countries have tried to get close to the concoction and whilst they may get one component, the fries, right, you can bet the thick salty gravy and spongeyness of the cheese isn’t on the money.
Having lived in Toronto for a little over six weeks, the two places people kept mentioning to try were Smoke’s (772 College St) and Poutini’s (1112 Queen St West). What’s there to choose between them though? After all, it is just chips n’ gravy, isn’t it?!
When it comes to different types of poutine available nothing comes close to Smoke’s. You’d imagine that if they thought a flavor would sell then it would find a home on their menu. Poutini’s go for a small number of classic flavors and offer an option for all you non-gluten peeps out there. Smoke’s wins.
Smoke’s 1-0 Poutini’s
Creating a gravy covered masterpiece means taking into account two things – the amount and consistency of the gravy. Poutini’s has the taste and consistency down to a tee. Unfortunately, the amount of it just isn’t sufficient. It leaves the eater parched and the cheese curds are still just that bit too cold. Smoke’s provides the right amount of gravy and even if there isn’t enough to start warming the cheese curds, the lid can be shut and left for a couple of minutes in which time the curds will have melted sufficiently. Smoke’s wins.
Smoke’s 2-0 Poutini’s
This is where a good poutine can fall on its ass. Both Smoke’s and Poutini’s have a very different approach to the rubbery curds. Poutini’s have curds that are larger, more substantial and a crumblier texture. Smoke’s curds are smaller, more plentiful and the slightest bit more rubbery. Draw.
Smoke’s 3-1 Poutini’s
The fries at Poutini’s can be somewhat of a mixed bag – quite literally. If you arrive when the chips have been hanging around for some time then it’s true that you will be given lukewarm chips that taste…well…just old and not fresh.
Smoke’s fries are always cooked to order and usually too hot to eat straight away. Enough said. Smoke’s wins.
Smoke’s 4-0 Poutini’s
In summary, this may sound like a piece of advertising on behalf of Smoke’s. It isn’t. It’s just that Smoke’s is that much better than Poutini’s.