I hope this isn’t a trend

French fries, cheese curds and gravy. The dish that made Canada great.  Not my photo.


Fads come and go in restaurants, as they each chase the latest big thing to satisfy increasingly sophisticated and jaded customers.

A few years ago you couldn’t get a salad without warm goat cheese.

Then beets came, then beets went.

Figs were all the rage for a while. then brussels sprouts.

Sweetbreads are hot lately.

The newest thing I’ve seen, though, is terrifying.

Poutine is a bid deal in eastern Canada.  Take a dish of french fries, cover it with cheese curds (clotted, unaged cheese.  Kind of a tasteless cottage cheese without the liquid) and drown the whole mess in gravy.  After eating, sit in a quiet room and listen to the fine crackling sound of your arteries hardening.

Last night at Revival Bar + Kitchen, there was poutine on the menu.  All fancified and California-ed up, of course.  Fries topped with lamb chili and feta cheese.  It must be popular, we tried to order it but they were sold out.

Tonight, we went to Gail’s favorite, Va de Vi, sitting at our usual seats, K1 and K2, the first two seats at the chef’s counter in the back where we can watch the cooks work.  Surprise, they had poutine on the menu as well, although their iteration was tater tots with house-pulled mozzarella and beef gravy.

I’ve never had this dish, so naturally we had to try it.

Let me save you the trouble—don’t.  It’s ghastly.  Not poorly prepared, not poor ingredients, the entire conception is an abomination to the idea of fine dining.

I told the waiter that the dish wasn’t up to the standards of Va de Vi, and he said it was his favorite thing on the menu.  “A big greasy gut-bomb” is how he described it.

If I wanted a big greasy gut bomb, I’d be eating at Nations Giant Hamburgers, thankyewverymuch.  I go to good restaurants to eat good food, not a heart attack on a plate with no texture or flavor.

One restaurant, maybe they were experimenting.  Two hip restaurants in two days with the same bizarre dish?  I pray to God this isn’t a trend, a move away from the light, crisp, fresh, healthy food Alice Waters pioneered 40 years ago towards heavy dishes of heart attack on a plate.  I’ve already had my double bypass, I don’t want another.


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