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Canadian Cuisine

Ask Mr. Gold: Poutine in Los Angeles, or The Endurance of Boy Food

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Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge the invisible restaurant critic - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • the invisible restaurant critic

Dear Mr. Gold:

Is there anywhere local that serves poutine? I have seen pictures of the dish, which apparently includes fries, cheese curds and gravy, but I have never seen it in a restaurant. Have you ever tried poutine? It looks like a french fry sundae.

--Elmer

Dear Elmer:

Have we ever tried poutine? Don't come around here much, do you? Poutine was a key dish of the Boy Food movement that seems to have crested last year, an astronomically caloric dish that rewards high-toned substitution. (The first poutine we ever tried was at an extremely expensive bistro in Vancouver and came with foie gras on it. We were rather fond of it.) At one point in winter 2010, there may have been a dozen places serving it, although the local climate is really more conducive to the fish taco. But poutine endures. Dusty's, in Silver Lake, is a branch of a Canadian bistro and practically specializes in the dish. Rockwell, kind of a Lemon Drop bar behind Vermont restaurant in Los Feliz, serves poutine, too. Tuesday at Rockwell is Cosmo night: Service both the yin and the yang.

The most famous poutine in town at the moment is probably the oxtail one at Animal, which substitutes good cheddar for the cheese curds. It's an improvement, and kind of awesome, with the intensity of a Big Island loco moco but even more staying power -- drunk food with a graduate degree.

But we probably would be remiss if we didn't mention Frysmith, the wandering monks of the New Age of Poutine, a well-regarded food truck that marshals throngs of restless, fry-loving devotees whenever poutine happens to make it into its tweets. Purists may recoil on Frysmith's heretical variations on the Montreal standard, but not the other 200 people in line, waiting for the blessings of red wine and bacon poutine, braised short rib poutine and even a vegetarian poutine with porcini instead of the meat. The website promises an upcoming dessert poutine. Is that shuddering we feel, or is it Quebec winter around here?

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