Poutine at Leopold ($8)
It’s all about the gravy. In this brilliant take, the standard culprits of cheese and fries are brought together and heightened by some ethereal gravy. The combination of dark lamb stock and merguez-spiced ground lamb meat makes for one of the most delectable gravies that I’ve ever tasted.
House Poutine at The Gage ($8)
It’s like a potpie. The confited pork shoulder is the highlight of this poutine. The crispy fries and cheese curds are doused with a pork gravy, while the thoughtful addition of stewed vegetables is reminiscent of a potpie-of-sorts. It’s the perfect meal in a bowl, especially when negotiating the crowds on the Magnificent Mile.
Montreal Poutine at The Bad Apple ($7)
As close as it gets. With perfectly prepared hand-cut fries and plenty of squeaky curd cheese (there’s even some hidden under the fries to ensure the perfect potato-to-cheese ratio), this is probably the most traditional rendition of the Québec classic. The only deviation lies in the gravy, which, while authentically chicken stock-based, is also heavy on the onion. Regardless, I’d happily trek to North Center any day to enjoy a little taste of home.
Headcheese Poutine at The Barrelhouse Flat ($13)
Pork is king. This very unique take on poutine includes headcheese, chicharrón, caramelized onions, brunoised root vegetables, and cognac-infused black currants. Ballsy, yet surprisingly appealing, especially with a signature cocktail in hand.
Kimchi Fries at Del Seoul ($6.95)
A Korean and a Quebecer walk into a bar. Without gravy and curd cheese, this doesn’t technically classify as a poutine in my book. However, this poutine/nacho/bibimbap-hybrid topped with sautéed kimchi, onions, pork belly, scallions, cheddar, and sour cream deserves a little limelight. The sad news is that this item may not be available for much longer (they’re re-working the recipe to appeal to more customers), so get them while you still can—it’s definitely worth a try.