Cooking with Alison

Review of Poutine Place

In Reviews on October 27, 2010 at pm

Poutine Place, Kingston, ON is now Closed.

Poutine Place is one of two new poutine places and three new burger places to open in Kingston this fall, 2010.  (See my reviews of Smoke’s Poutinerie here, Harper’s Burger Bar here, and Five Guys here.)  The review below makes comparisons to Smoke’s Poutinerie.

When I first saw the Poutine Place sign, I quickly decided that I would never bother trying it.  The logo looks tacky with poorly chosen, mismatched font and bright, juvenile colours (red, green and yellow).  But I chastised myself for judging the store by its front when I saw their menu.  I had high hopes for their fresh, organic Canadian burgers and fruit smoothies.  When I heard a great review from a co-worker, I went a week later to try it.  I left regretful and taken aback by how different my experience had been from his.  It would only be fair for me to give Poutine Place one more chance (ie. when someone else is working) before giving the final verdict, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

Poutine Place Review (Kingston, On)

Menu: As I mentioned, I was initially impressed by the menu.  Poutine Place offers a vegan poutine option, fruit smoothies, and fresh organic Canadian beef burgers.  See the 2 part menu here.

Price: The portion sizes of the fries are substantial and filling.  They come in the same regular and large sized containers as Smoke’s Poutinerie, but cost a little bit less than Smoke’s.  The “palace burger” (which is just their patty and buns) costs $4.65 (+ tax).  They have a monster burger for $7.95 (+ tax) that includes two patties, 3 cheeses, bacon and toppings.  Keep in mind that these burger prices do not include a side.  You can save $1.25 if you purchase a burger, poutine, and drink.  Smoothies are $3.95 for a regular and $5.95 for a large (+ tax).

Food:

Fries: I had the “Canadian poutine” which is simply a standard poutine.  I liked the flavour and consistency (on the thin side) of their gravy more than Smoke’s.  But I don’t know if it’s homemade like Smoke’s gravy is.  The cheese curds were mild in flavour and nicely melty.  The fries, however, were soggy coming straight out of the fryer.  My co-worker said that the fries had a nice and crispy coating on them both of the times that he went (weekday, lunch time).  Mine did not.  But I think this was because the employee 1. put too many fries in one basket and 2. removed the fries from the oil too soon.  Smoke’s fries are the only fries that I’ve ever seen remain crispy until the bitter end in a poutine, so Smoke’s Poutinerie wins hands down in my opinion.  Furthermore, when the employee made another customer’s “meat lovers poutine”, he made the mistake of pouring on the gravy after he added the toppings.  This resulted in a visually less-appealing poutine and soggy bacon strips.

Burgers: I walked into Poutine Place with every intention of trying their organic burgers.  But I changed my mind after I saw the employee overcook two thin, crappy looking, burger patties on the grill.  I also watched as he flattened the burgers and pressed all of the juices out of them (it really annoys me when people do that).  On a positive note, he used D’Italiano burger buns.  Although he did not toast them, my co-worker said that they did it when he was there.

Smoothies: After watching the employee make two smoothies, I was grateful that I hadn’t ordered one myself.  For the strawberry smoothie, he simply blended ice with frozen strawberries.  I didn’t see him add anything else – no sugar, no milk or yogurt.  Then for the second smoothie, I watched him blend ice with an unripened banana and artificially flavoured peach juice. 

Customer Service: I went on a Tuesday night.  When I stepped in, the place was empty except for a family of four that was waiting for their order.  But since there was only one person working, I had to wait 5 minutes to place my order.  I was originally planning on getting a burger and a smoothie, but after watching the staff member prepare the family’s order, I settled for a poutine instead.  I had to wait at least 10 more minutes to get my poutine.

The person that was working there was clearly inexperienced.  It was evident that he had not been trained properly.  He struggled with the blender and couldn’t find plates to serve the burgers on (he settled for using the fries containers).  Furthermore, I observed poor food handling (ie. improper use of gloves and touching money and food without hand washing in between).  The fact that this establishment would leave the place staffed by only one, inexperienced, person within the first month of opening is a clear indicator of poor business sense.

Overall: It appears to me that poor management and inconsistency are major problems with Poutine Place. Considering the great burgers and/or fries places that have now populated Kingston, I don’t recommend spending your money at Poutine Place when the risk of disappointment (and food poisoning) is so high.

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