by Liisa This week our family attended the opening of Smoke's Poutinerie at 407 Dalhousie in the Byward Market.
Up front, I must express my biases:
1) Smoke's Poutinerie's founder, Ryan Smolkin, is a friend.
2) I am a vegetarian and I haven't eaten poutine in about 15 years (since 4 a.m. on Saturday nights in the McGill Ghetto).
3) I try to feed my children healthful meals.
We pulled up to Smoke's Poutinerie on Sunday evening and easily found street parking out front. We could readily identify the place by its red and black checked sign - think lumber jacket. Right away the tone was set for a slightly kitchy Canadiana experience.
Music was blaring and tables were filled with hungry eaters (I couldn't say "diners" because I don't think you "dine" on poutine - or maybe you do).
We lined up and ordered a blue rasberry Calypso Lemonade to accompany a traditional veggie poutine (in the small size) and a plain order of fries for my finicky children. We found a small table to squeeze into and the boys quickly polished off the delicious lightly seasoned handcut fries. There was no processed potato mush here.
Derek and I tasted the poutine. The vegetarian poutine is made with a mushroom-based gravy. You could really taste the mushroom flavour and I am definitely a fan. The cheese curds tasted fresh and were melted just enough.
The tiny 100 pound woman beside me polished off a small Nacho Veggie Poutine and proclaimed it "the best".
The portion sizes are really generous and I imagine that a small could be shared between two children. We will be back, and we will look forward to trying some of the more exotic varieties. Unfortunately, for us, poutine is a very "sometimes" food, but the next time we have a craving for hand-cut fries, or those plump cheese curds we will definitely know where to go.
The Stats: (out of 5)
Food (Quality, taste, freshness): Grown-ups – 5 thumbs up; Kids – 5 thumbs up
Service (Attentiveness and kid-friendliness): 5 thumbs up from grown-ups and kids (stickers of all sizes were a huge hit with the kids)
Ambience (General appeal and energy, any interesting kid-friendly features): 3 thumbs up from grown-ups and kids; loud music and cramped quarters make this perfect for a quick snack
Cost (family of 4 with 2 children under 5): under $30 including tax
Speed (Every parents-of-small-children’s concern!): Time from order to delivery of food 4 minutes; total time in restaurant 20 minutes.
Smoke's Poutinerie, 407 Dalhousie Street (613) 789-CURD
Liisa is mom to two boys, 4.5 year old Lil D and 2.5 year old Lil C. You can also find her at Fit for a Kid.