Monday, July 20, 2015

Eat in Berkeley: Smoke’s Poutinerie

Traditional Poutine with Smoke's Poutinerie Signature Gravy and Wisconsin cheese curd

Triple Pork Poutine with chipotle pulled pork, double-smoked bacon, and Italian sausage

Chicken Chili Poutine with grilled chicken, homemade chili, and cheese sauce

Veggie Rainbow Poutine with Smoke's Poutinerie Veggie Gravy, Sriracha, cheese sauce, guacamole, and sour cream

I remember first hearing about poutine a few years ago, not quite sure what it was. It sounded like a frou-frou French delicacy that hadn't quite made it to the States. I later learned that this dish hails from Quebec and is essentially fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Since I've never tried poutine before, I was excited when Callie invited me to try a few varieties at Smoke's Poutinerie at their Berkeley location on Durant and Telegraph.

When I arrived, I was greeted by Danny and Kenneth, the franchise owners of this location. Danny provided me with a background about poutine, Smoke's, and their extensive menu. He even recommended watching Poutine Nation, a short documentary about the namesake dish. At Smoke's Poutinerie, all of their poutine start with the same base of hand-cut and custom seasoned fries, their signature gravy, and Wisconsin cheese curd. I tried four types of poutine during my visit: Traditional Poutine, Triple Pork Poutine, Chicken Chili Poutine, and Veggie Rainbow Poutine, with a bottle of Jones Crushed Melon Soda on the side.

The Traditional Poutine came with the base of their signature gravy and Wisconsin cheese curd. I've never had cheese curd before, but theirs was really good. The mild flavors of the gravy and the cheese curd blend well together. This dish is perfect for poutine neophytes such as myself. I then tried the Triple Pork Poutine, which comes with chipotle pulled pork, double-smoked bacon, and Italian sausage. It would not be an understatement to say that this is a meat-eater's dream. The pulled pork is tender, the bacon is crispy, and the sausage is tasty. The flavors of the different kinds of pork are complemented by the gravy and cheese curds well.

The third dish was the Chicken Chili Poutine, which comes with grilled chicken, homemade chili, and cheese sauce. The chicken is tender and the chili is flavorful. Like in the Triple Pork Poutine, the ingredients combine to create a flavorful dish. The Veggie Rainbow Poutine was also quite a treat. The fries were topped with their signature veggie gravy, cheese curds, Sriracha, cheese sauce, guacamole, and sour cream. The Veggie Rainbow includes every topping you'd want in one place.

Overall, I had a great experience at Smoke's Poutinerie. The staff is helpful and attentive. They have a fun atmosphere and the shop has a sleek, efficient design. It's the perfect spot for a late night snack, especially for college students looking for a break. I'd like to thank Callie, Danny, and Kenneth for giving me this wonderful opportunity to try Smoke's Poutinerie.

If you've visited Smoke's Poutinerie, what do you recommend trying?

Smoke’s Poutinerie
2518 Durant Ave., Unit A, Berkeley, CA 94704
Open: Daily 11am - 4am

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