While I was downtown for some christmas shopping, I wandered into the Davie Village to check out La Belle Patate. This was at the request of a friend, who is apparently a fan of poutine.
I’m going to preface this review by stating that I’m actually not a big fan of poutine. As such, I don’t eat it very often, so I’m not a great judge of the dish, since I have limited experience with it. I can’t tell say what is “proper” poutine should be like, only whether or not I liked it.
That said, here we go:
La Belle Patate is a small poutine joint in the heart of the davie village. It has the setup and feel of a sports bar.
The menu is pretty focused. They offer steamies (hot dogs), Montreal style smoked meat, and poutine with a wide variety of toppings. They also have an all-you-can-eat option.
For the uninitiated, poutine is french canadian “hangover food”. A big plate of crisp double fried potatoes topped with fresh cheese curds and brown gravy.
I ordered the smoked meat poutine, which tops the dish with chunks of montreal style smoked meat. And for the uninitiated, montreal smoked meat is the french canadian cousin to new york pastrami and irish corned beef. It’s a kosher deli meat made from brisket that’s cured and then smoked, and then steamed before serving)
The fries here are decent, in that they were crisp when first served, but quickly soaked up the brown gravy and became soggy within minutes. The cheese curd were generous and “squeeky” as a classic poutine would dictate. The gravy was okay. Thankfully, it didn’t have the chemical-flavor of a dried gravy mix, but it was a little flat. It seemed to be a little underseasoned. The chunks of smoked meat appeared to be end pieces and were firmer and chewier than I like.
My big hangup is the cheese curds. Not a fan of it. I prefer melty cheese, but that wouldn’t be authentic poutine.
In contrast, I recall the smoked meat poutine from Dunn’s as crispier (and more resilient; it stayed crisp even after bathing in gravy for 10 minutes). And their smoked meat was a fattier more tender cut from the center rather than from the end pieces.
My server was quiet pleasant and cheerful, but the service is pretty minimal: place the order and pay up front. And the server brought order when it was ready. The signage on the wall implied that customers clear their own tables when complete (although they’ll certainly clean up the table if the customers fail to do so).
The room is small but well lit. It looks and feels like a small sports bar, and the hours of business (open until the wee-hours on weekends) seems to support that notion.