Exploring Montréal Through its Vegan Poutines

Exploring Montréal Through its Vegan Poutines

Rankings as of October 30, 2019

  1. LOV
  2. L’Gros Luxe
  3. Copper Branch
  4. La Banquise
  5. Poutineville
  6. Panthere Verte
  7. Lola Rosa

Special mention: McCarold’s (off-menu daily special), would be #6.

August 20th, 2019

Where: La Panthére Verte, Côte-des-Neiges

What: Vegan poutine, size small. From the menu: “Poutine (vegan Panther cheese curds)”

Fries: Seasoned sweet potato fries, crispy and hot.

Cheese: Marinated crumbled tofu. The fauxmage was cold when added to the poutine, and was only warm where it’d been slathered with gravy. Kind of a weird choice for a product that has zero melting potential.

Gravy: Delicious savoury brown sauce, not sure what it’s made of.

Other toppings: None.

Gravy-to-cheese-to-fries ratio: Pretty good! I had enough gravy that I didn’t have any completely dry fries.

Score (out of 5): 

Would order again.

N.B. Recently ordered again; after trying some of the poutines below, I have revised this dish’s score from 4 to 3.5 and would not order it again.

August 26th, 2019

Where: Lola Rosa, Sainte-Catherine Ouest

What: Poutine Lola, full-size, vegan. From the menu: “Frites fraiches, fromage en grain du Québec, sauce brune aux champignons et herbes. Végétalien sur demande. Homemade french fries, Quebec cheese curds, with a fresh herb mushroom gravy. Vegan on demand.”

Fries: Loads of double-cooked fries, semi-crispy.

Cheese: A nutritional-yeast based sauce drizzled on with the gravy. While the concept seemed cool, poutine doesn’t feel quite right without the textural aspect of cheese – if I’d been eating with my eyes closed I wouldn’t have been able to tell cheese from gravy.

Gravy: A dark mushroom gravy – really delicious and flavourful.

Other toppings: Green onions.

Gravy-to-cheese-to-fries ratio: Not ideal. Because the cheese was a sauce too, I had a layer of delicious saucy fries on top and then a bunch of barely touched fries at the bottom. Also, this was entirely too big… I found myself wishing I’d gotten the entrée (appetizer) size with a side salad.

Score (out of 5): 

Would not order again.

September 5th, 2019

Where: Copper Branch, Côte-des-Neiges

What: Poutine, size small (but still a VERY generously sized portion). From the menu: “POUTINE WITH CREMINI MUSHROOM SAUCE: Oven-baked Copper Cubes topped with Copper Branch poutine sauce (non-GMO cremini and portobello mushrooms, tomato, garlic, organic buckwheat flour, organic cane sugar, non-GMO potato starch, non-GMO spices) and mozzarella style shreds

Fries: “Copper Cubes” are just roasted cubed potatoes – but they are perfect. Soft and creamy but with enough bite and yield to be delightful. Much moister than a French fry, albeit without the crunch factor.

Cheese: Daiya or a similar product, fairly bland, in shreds – but sprinkled on generously such that I had multiple “clumpy” areas of fauxmage. It also seemed to have been lightly broiled before the gravy was added because there were some crispy cheese bits.

Gravy: A truly delicious gravy with just a small amount of texture so you know it’s made with real mushrooms. Flavourful and very generously portioned, I enjoyed sopping/swiping it up with my potatoes.

Other toppings: None.

Gravy-to-cheese-to-fries ratio: Dare I say it… too much gravy? I am a LOTS OF SAUCE person so it was great for me, but it could be too much for others. I tried not to leave any in the bowl because it was so tasty. There was a perfect amount of cheese for me, just enough to keep things interesting without it overtaking the dish (since this Daiya-style cheese can tend to suck flavour out of a dish).  Not a dry potato to be seen.

Score (out of 5): 

Would order again and recommend to others.

September 7th, 2019

poutine la banquiseWhere: Resto La Banquise

What: La Véganomane Poutine, regular (as opposed to large). From the menu: “vegan cheese, vegan sauce

Fries: A healthy pile of delicious fries, just crispy enough – some small crisp pieces and some larger, longer fries, clearly made in-house from real potatoes.

Cheese: Shredded mozzarella-style vegan cheese. More substance/texture than Daiya. Melty under the gravy and cold/dry otherwise.

Gravy: A perfect brown sauce, exactly what I imagine when I think of poutine – smooth, flavourful, savoury.

Other toppings: None.

Gravy-to-cheese-to-fries ratio: This was a really good balance. Enough gravy to keep the fries from being dry, with a few dry fries left at the end (but I was full anyway). My main issue was that the vegan cheese, when not soaked with hot gravy, was dry and crumbly – not worth eating.

Score (out of 5): 

Would order again and recommend to others.

September 15th, 2019

Where: Poutineville, Parc

What: Custom poutine with “crushed” potatoes (house special), “poutine sauce”, and vegan cheese, regular size

Fries: I chose the house special potatoes – I had a choice of types of fries – and these were deep fried soft chunks of potato, crispy on the outside and mostly soft on the inside except for some sinfully overcooked tiny bits which felt like burnt leftovers from the deep fry basket.

Cheese: Shredded mozzarella-style vegan cheese, very little flavour, not particularly melted.

Gravy: A smooth classic brown sauce.

Other toppings: None.

Gravy-to-cheese-to-fries ratio: The balance was pretty good, but because the cheese didn’t have a lot of texture and flavour, it felt underrepresented. Some of the potatoes were a bit overcooked and it was difficult to use them as gravy vehicles.

Score (out of 5): 

Would order again in a pinch, but might try julienned fries.

September 26th, 2019

McCarold's "Mexican" PoutineWhere: McCarold’s Irish Pub – because my last attempt at getting vegan poutine had been foiled (shame on you for randomly closing on a Saturday afternoon, Dirty Pizza), I was excited when I stopped into this nondescript Irish pub near school for a pint and saw a vegan poutine on the board.

What: The Thursday special. From the spéciaux board: “Poutine Chili Végan – avec fromage cheddar de soja et guacamole”.

Fries: Regular pub fries, julienne cut.

Cheese: Shredded thick grocery store style soy cheese with a medium melting capability.

Gravy Sauce: A “chili” tomato sauce, with chunks of diced tomato and perhaps some onion and canned chilies.

Other toppings: Ground round/TVP, guacamole.

Gravy-to-cheese-to-fries ratio: Lots of sauce! Maybe too much – the fries were soggy and cold by the time I’d made any headway on this poutine. Because the cheese didn’t really melt, it kind of blended in with the ground round. Throughout this experience I’ve only been having the basic, classic poutines in the interest of comparing, so even though I’ve seen Tex-Mex style poutines on other menus, it was my first time trying one.

Score (out of 5): 

Pretty cool to find at a random pub, but would not order again or recommend unless I was really drunk and hungry.

October 23rd, 2019

Where: After a long break in poutines, I visited L’Gros Luxe – Plateau.

What: From the menu, “Vegan Poutine: Fries, vegan cheese, vegan poutine sauce and green onions.” I got a side poutine with a vegan chicken burger.

Fries: Crispy, delicious julienne-cut fries.

Cheese: This was a first! L’Gros Luxe uses the Gusta grating block. Gusta is a Montréal-based company, and their cheese is shaped like a sausage and designed to be grated and sliced. L’Gros had cut round slices of the cheese which were then broken up over the poutine for a more chunky feel than the typical shreds. Felt more texturally similar to cheese curds, and melted in the mouth (if not on the poutine).

Gravy: Glossy salty delicious brown sauce, and oodles of it. Not a fry was left unsauced.

Other toppings: Green onions.

Gravy-to-cheese-to-fries ratio: Almost too much gravy, but otherwise this was pretty perfectly balanced. I’d rather have too much than too little. I ate every single morsel of this poutine – unlike some others where I’ve left some dry potatoes, there was certainly not a dry fry.

Score (out of 5):  

Will definitely order again, will recommend.

October 25th, 2019

Where: Finally tried the poutine at Lov McGill. I had been saving my visit to this semi-fancy vegan restaurant for when I could go with my partner Amy. Poutine for your anniversary? Parfait!

What: From the menu, “LOV Poutine: Fries, miso gravy, vegan mozzarella”.

Fries: Delicious crispy julienned fries, definitely well-done.

Cheese: Little poutine cubes that melted in our mouths. I found myself wondering if these were the Nafsika’s Garden poutine cubes I’ve seen at certain grocery stores. If so, I’m buying them! They were delicious and were the closest thing I’ve had thus far to real cheese curds, both texturally and visually.

Gravy: Salty, savoury miso gravy. I’m partial to a miso gravy because it has so much umami oomph, and this gravy did not disappoint.

Other toppings: None.

Gravy-to-cheese-to-fries-ratio: Everything was perfectly balanced. Amy prefers less gravy and I prefer more, and we were able to split this poutine exactly how we wanted because the ratio was exactly right.

Score (out of 5): 

This poutine only lost half a point because it is EXPENSIVE! Sure, it’s a semi-fancy restaurant, but $12 for a poutine of this size (less volume than the side poutine at L’Gros Luxe) is hard to swallow. I would recommend this for poutine enthusiasts, but when at LOV there are so many delightful things to choose from that I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a must-order.