Let me first say that I'm not a poutine expert whatsoever, but since I've been in Vancouver a couple of times, and I love the food scene there, so I thought I would write something fun about the poutine shops that I found in Vancouver, even though I know that I would probably get better poutine in a French-speaking area of Canada -- that would have to wait for the next episode.
I'll start by explaining what a Poutine is, in a nutshell, a poutine is thick cut fries, with cheese curds, and gravy on top (and of course, with optional toppings). Originated in the provinces of Quebec in Canada, poutine becomes something of a Canadian national dish.
As I live in the U.S., poutine is considered something exotic (at least where I live in California), so today I'm going to talk about 2 shops that I went to.
Smoke's Poutinerie is one of the international poutine chain. They even have one in Berkeley, CA but I never visited there and I didn't know that they have it there until I came back to the U.S. and did some research about it.
When I went there, I had the original poutine because it was the first time that I was going to have the real poutine in Canada. The fries were just right, they didn't make it too crispy, and you can actually taste the potatoes. They also give you a ton of cheese curds (which is what I really love about poutine), and they don't skimp on gravy either. If you're like me, I love gravy and every time I go to KFC, I always wish that they give me more gravy for my mash potato. The result is a pretty good poutine; the only thing I found that they might want to improve on is the gravy is a little bit on the lighter side (which I guess is what the real poutine is supposed to taste like anyway).
Fritz European Fry House
I was introduced to Fritz by a staff member at the Regency club at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver. I didn't expect much since I thought it might be about the same as what I get at Smoke's, but oh man, was I so wrong. The style of the poutine here is very different than what you get from Smoke's. I think the main difference is the gravy. Fritz's gravy is much thicker and much more flavorful. It's also a little bit spicy from a lot of pepper in the gravy.
This time, I've tried their pulled pork poutine which was one of the most popular items on the menu. The pulled pork was really tender, however, I would like them to be a little bit more smokey -- maybe that's the American in me :)
As with Smoke's, Fritz just gives you a ton of fries, cheese curds, and gravy. They even layered the pulled pork inside them as well, and to be honest, I just couldn't get enough of it. The only downside though is that the gravy is super flavorful, but it could get salty when you eat a lot of them, but overall, I think it's another amazing poutine shop.
Even though I like both of the poutine places, I actually prefer Fritz just because I love their gravy so much and it's just so flavorful. However, to get Fritz, you have to go to Vancouver, but if you live in California, I don't think you'll be disappointed with Smoke's at all! Let's the best poutine win!