We tried five excessively decadent poutines

Lobster, rabbit, pulled pork, donuts, apple and seal—yes, maybe even baby seal—are among the ingredients added to Quebec’s signature dish by restaurants participating in Poutine Week this year. Read our reviews here.

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The Lobster Monster
We hit five of the local restaurants participating in Poutine Week 2014, seeking out the most unusual, exotic ingredients. Results were mixed, but mostly amazing.

Frite Alors (680 Ste-Catherine W.)

The Lobster Monster (fries, lobster, squeaky cheese, bechamel sauce and shallots)
The best thing about this poutine is that it’s much lighter than you anticipate. Some can leave you feeling as if you just ate a brick — not so with this guy. But I have to say that the topping distribution isn’t really ideal. There’s a bottom layer that essentially hosts a drizzle of bechamel sauce and a few chunks of cheese; I’d argue that a good poutine has to keep this in mind. All the flavours work well together, the cheese/bechamel combo make each bite pretty rich but the lobster pairing makes it feel less heart attack-inducing and greasy. (Kayla Marie Hillier)

Au Cinquième Peché (4475 St-Denis)

Poutine au Phoque (gnocchi, seal merguez, brussel sprouts, cheese and full-bodied jus)

aucinquiemepeche (600x551)Holy phoque, this highfalutin poutine is impossibly delicious. The telltale sign that poutine goers are in for a treat is the fact that unlike many of the other entries, l’Esco neighbour Au Cinquième Peché is a very posh resto, almost too nice to be involved in such poutinenanigans. Their seal sausage poutine isn’t slumming it in the slightest either; it’s about as luxurious a $10 entrée as you could ever hope for. The most controversial item (if you’re Morrissey) has an extremely dark hue, and tastes like a nicely spiced merguez sausage. It’s not blubbery, which for some reason is what I figured seal meat might be like. The sweet potato gnocchi fries are soft, compact and could be eaten by the bag full. The attractive dish isn’t swimming in jus, but there’s just enough of it to give a gravy kick to the sausages, greens and cheese slivers. Is the poutine au phoque really a poutine, or just a really inventive dish with cool ingredients? My taste buds don’t care either way. (Erik Leijon)


Burgundy Lion Pub (2496 Notre-Dame W.)

Watership Poutine (braised rabbit with grainy mustard and honey gravy)
This was the most disappointing dish in my poutine expedition. What I was expecting: delicious mouthfuls of rabbit with a sweet, almost honey mustard-esque gravy, seeds intact adding to texture. What I got: maybe 10 bites of meat, a gravy that I’m told had honey in it (but I couldn’t taste it), visible mustard seeds that I had to drag my finger through the dregs on the plate to taste, and even then, just barely. My companion and I both had a pretty fatty bite of meat and considering that it’s not a generous portion, it added to our disappointment. They did build a nice poutine vessel though. Had there been more rabbit, it would have paired up with all the fries. (KMH)

Icehouse (51 Roy E.)

Donuts and Coffee Poutine (potato donuts, red eye gravy, smoked ham, cheese)

Icehouse (600x341)A different take on the traditional poutine, Icehouse’s donuts and coffee poutine delivered its own spin to late-night comfort food with potato donuts, homemade red eye au café gravy and pieces of smoked ham and cheese. The potato donut had a texture that reminded me of breaded pineapple chicken balls, but they still maintained their sweetness like a donut. There was a strong smoky taste in the pieces of ham and melted cheese. I wished there was more of the red eye gravy to balance the flavours more, however the pieces of fried pork added a new, unexpected twist to the dish. (Cindy Lopez)


Royal Phoenix Bar (5788 St-Laurent)

La Royale (pulled pork, red cabbage and green apple coleslaw)
This sucker continues to be my personal favourite. If you approach this bowl correctly, every forkful can carry all the delicious ingredients to your mouth. The fries are crispy, never mushy, even when you reach the very bottom. The very generous portion of pulled pork is slow roasted, full of flavour and never fatty. This one is also all about texture, and the crunchy red cabbage is really what makes it stand out — coleslaw, fries and cheese really do belong together. But the green apple is probably the best part; anyone that enjoys a sweet and savory pairing will want to try this one out. The Royale also manages to avoid being greasy, the trait that generally triggers that mid-poutine, “what have I done?” gluttony guilt. (KMH)

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