Smoke’s Poutinerie is a Canadian chain that specializes in non-traditional poutine. To date, there are 7 locations in Toronto with additional locations in Tremblant, Ottawa and London. To my excitement, they opened for business in Kingston, Ontario on Monday September 20, 2010. The week they opened, I went with Ed and co-workers to try it.
I was impressed by their food and customer service, but even more so by the fact that they started the World Poutine Eating Championship (more on that below).
Review of Smoke’s Poutinerie (Kingston Location)
Menu: At Smoke’s Poutinerie, you can order a customized poutine by choosing from their meat and vegetarian toppings, or you can select from their long list of poutine meals (> 20 options). Their menu is very vegetarian friendly. The 2 best sellers, chain wide, are the traditional poutine and the pulled pork poutine. Some of the meal options that caught my attention include:
- Montreal Poutine (Montreal smoked meat, dill pickle and mustard)
- Hog Town Poutine (double smoked bacon, italian sausage, sauteed mushrooms and carmelized onions)
- Philly Cheese Steak Poutine
- Bacon Double Cheeseburger Poutine
- The outrageous Triple Pork Poutine (photo below)
Photo below: Large size triple pork poutine (pulled pork, double smoked bacon, and sausage)
Food: They claim that their fries are hand cut daily and that their gravies are homemade. (Note: I recently heard from the owner of Harper’s Burger Bar that Smoke’s Poutinerie in Kingston actually makes their gravy from a powder.) So I ordered the traditional poutine (regular size) to test the quality of their starting base (photo below, left). Ed ordered the regular size pulled pork poutine (photo below right).
The poutines come in two sizes and the portion sizes are substantial. The regular was more than enough to fill those of us who were hungry. Of all of the men from our group that ordered a large poutine, only one was able to finish it. The toppings were generous, except for the cheese. I thought the ratio of fries to gravy was great, but that more cheese was needed.
I have to say, these may have been the best fries I have ever had. They stayed crispy right down to the end. This is something that I had not thought was possible! Well done, Smoke’s! The gravy had great colour and consistency, and I loved that it wasn’t too salty. The cheese curds were melty (not squeaky). Ed’s pulled pork poutine was very good. The sauce was sweeter than I had expected but it worked well with the fries and gravy. I was very impressed with the large pieces of crispy bacon that I saw in other peoples’ poutines. From what I saw, the ingredients that they use seem to be very fresh and of good quality. The double pork, triple pork (photo above), bacon double cheeseburger (photo below left, large size), nacho grande (photo below right, regular size), nacho veggie, and veggie deluxe, all received great reviews from the people I was with.
Price: I find the prices to be Very reasonable. The most expensive large sized meals are $9.99. As I mentioned above, the portion sizes are generous and the toppings are delicious. However, I want to remind people that I went the first week it opened. I am curious to see if the portion sizes or quality will change (ie. decrease) over the next few months.
Customer Service: Since I was bringing in a group of 20 to a place that only seats 20 over lunch time, I spoke with the owner ahead of time. It was a pleasure dealing with him. He was personable, accommodating, well-organized, and professional. The manager that took our orders was friendly and pleasant too. On average, we each waited about 6 minutes from the time we placed our order. I found this to be acceptable considering how fresh the food was and how busy it was when we were there. To me, customer service is just as important as the quality of the meal, and I was impressed with both at this place.
World Poutine Eating Championship
When I found out that the owner of Smoke’s Poutinerie, Ryan Smolkin, was the genius behind the World Poutine Eating Championship (WPEC), I knew that this would be my kind of place 🙂 On May 22, 2010, the first ever WPEC was held in Toronto, ON. The competitors included professionals from Major League Eating and The International Federation of Competitive Eating. The winner ate 13 pounds of poutine in 10 minutes! Here’s a link to some great photos of people stuffing their faces with gravy slathered fries. Be sure to check out the photo of the awesome trophy.