Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Smoke's Again...

Smoke's Poutinerie
490 Bloor St W.
Toronto, ON M5S 1X8
Neighbourhood: The Annex
(416) 588-2873

I had the chance to experience a Smoke's poutine again, but this time at the Annex location on Bloor - one of many new pop-ups around the city.  The last time I had poutine at Smoke's, I found the gravy lacked richness and had too much of a herbal taste for my liking.  The cheese curds also weren't very squeaky. 
This time I ordered the large Philly Cheese Steak Poutine (Reg $7.99 / Lrg $9.99).  It consisted of shaved roast beef, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted peppers and cheese sauce.

Philly Cheese Steak Poutine (Lrg)

The Good
Fortunate for me, I got a fresh batch of fries.  Even after the onslaught of gravy, cheese and toppings, the fries kept their integrity - they didn't get overly soggy.  Leaving the skin on the fries gave the poutine a good texture.  Tasting the gravy again, it seemed to be less herbal tasting from previous incarnations, which I liked.  The curds seemed squeakier than before.  The onions were caramelized well, offering a sweetness that balanced the saltiness of the beef.  I also love how my poutine was served piping hot!

The Bad
The nuclear yellow artificial cheese sauce was a bit juvenile  It took away from the poutine's appeal in taste and appearance.  It definitely wasn't doing the poutine any favours.  Why add artificial cheese to a poutine with genuine Quebec cheese curds? 

Halfway though my meal, it became obvious the gravy itself was too sweet.  It didn't help that I had a scarcity of beef and that the onions were still around.  The poutine became increasingly unpleasant to eat because of it.  

I'd like to point out that I love poutine, especially a plain, ol' classic one with just fries, cheese and gravy.  Therefore, it is difficult to pass judgment on Smoke's, being the pioneer of the dedicated poutine joint in Toronto.  While there are good things happening to the poutine at Smoke's, there are some negatives that can't be overlooked. 

Poutine - not the most artistic form of food to some, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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