My name is Olivier Day - I am a poutine addict.
When my colleagues suggested we should do a “Poutine Outing”, I was game.
Two reasons : a) I am a poutine addict b) I am a poutine addict.
Thing is I have eaten A LOT of poutine in my day. So, suffice to say that wherever we decided to go should definitely be something to look forward to.
Having lived in Montreal for well over 10 years, trust me when I say that this city has more than once proven its worth with its vast array of delightfully palate-pleasing poutine destinations.
Some wonderful surprises, some serious letdowns.
But in the world of poutine addiction, you should try everything at least once (sorry McDonald’s, never again). So it was with both excitement and curiosity that we decided to head to Poutine Centrale. An establishment I’d only heard of in passing but had never made it on my kill list.
This was as good an opportunity as any.
(The Hochelaga location worked better for us as its the closest to the office.)
When you dare to comment on a poutine place, people tend to get very territorial about war you might have to say so please, just for the sake of clarity : take these fews lines as MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION.
That said, a few of the important details I look forward to when I dine on poutine include…
There are more than a few establishments around town that make it a point to boast their large number of selections - I even came across a place that, so they say, has "28 types of poutine". Yea.
It's a pretty obvious fact that a wide variety doesn't necessarily mean they have the chops to back it up.
I was quickly reassured with Poutine Centrale. For my personal, the selection is quite satisfactory striking the delicate balance inviting diners to venture out of the beaten path and explore while not overwhelming them with too many choices that might eventually discourage and hinder the experience.
Small but inviting. Clean and unpretentious.
Warm lighting all around gives you that "kick back and relax" feeling.
Come as you are, sit where you like. Whether you just got off work and just picking up a quick take-out or exhaling the work week with colleagues, they can accommodate big and small. (It's not a bad idea to call ahead, as I did, and speak to someone if you're coming in with a large group though. Only good manners. Jus'sayin.)
Very original seating made from blocks of treated lumber complimenting the beautiful tabletops made from fabricated steel. Don't call HGTV or Food Network on me, but I'm guessing the fact that this location is in the industrial district of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has something to do with these design choices. I could be wrong - but I like it.
I said "unpretentious" and I meant it. They're a food service establishment, not a daycare. Emphasis is put on the time, respect, courtesy and efficiency in serving you a good meal that you'll be happy to have spent your hard-earned money on.
Take your time to make up your mind. No rush - no servers either.
The layout is pretty straightforward : the menu is spread out right above the counter...you can't miss it. And just so you do, they've got smaller 'take home' copies all over the tables.
Once you make your selection of both food and drink, you give your name and pay for your order right then and there. Makes sense when you think about it : a) not thinking about the pricetage while you eat makes the meal that much more enjoyable. b) eliminates the dine-n-dash.
Prices are more than reasonable anyway.
You want soft drinks? They've got that.
You want a cold one? They've got that. If you're like me, you know that poutine and a nice pint of your favorite brew is a welcome companionship. They didn't have my particular favorite, Boréale Rousse
, but hey, why not try something new? In this instance, a nice offering of Cheval Blanc
. I love it when a place supports local products and breweries.
Two sizes : Small (Petite) or Large (Grande).
We were hungry so we all had a Large. This is where things got interesting.
You remember giving your name, don't you? What if I told you your order was ready before you even took a second sip of your beer? No, really.
Kitchen simply calls out your name and you go get your platter.
Quite frankly, fromt this humble and objective poutine addict's perspective, what my colleagues and I sat down to were in all honesty some of the most impressive and generous offerings of poutine I've seen in a long time. No, really.
The gang and I had to take a second to contemplate the nirvana of poutinedom that lay before us.
A poutine, like a hot dog, is a one of the simplest dishes on the planet. And with that simplicity comes a very high probability factor to screw it up.
How do you make sure you make sure you don't? These guys know a thing a or two, they'll tell you.
Fresh product is a must.
They're so proud of their potatoes that the bags are laid out around the restaurant for all to see.
Fries are cut clean and cooked with a just the right balance of crispyness. Not too dry, not too soggy.
I'm not sure about the spices - didn't really care at that point.
The portions are insanely generous. Not that I'm complaining.
I say that because you sometimes have places that will serve you more fries than cheese or cheap-out on the sauce. What a comfort to dig in with my fork and have it come back to my mouth with the delightful fries/cheese/sauce combo - everytime.
This is truly a work of love and care for both your food and guests. They work some poutine magic back there.
But don't take my word for it- just breathe, scroll and drool.
*Warning...the following will most likely make you hungry. Be prepared*
Remember - come hungry. The Large is no joke.
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