When it comes to indulgences, I like to make sure that it’s worth the calories. Like, if I’m going to suffer afterwards by working out extra hard and eating healthier to make up for it, I’m getting my money’s worth. It takes a lot of effort to keep the figure trim, especially as I get older, but I do like to indulge in the finer (and fattier) things in life. Because everything tastes better when deep-fried. Let’s just be real.
One of my ultimate favourite and most comforting indulgences is poutine. As a proud Canadian, I’ve consumed my fair share of poutine over the years. I grew up on this stuff. Sure, it’s not the super authentic Quebecois poutine… after all, I grew up in Small Town Alberta. But my Small Town Alberta did poutine pretty well. I remember the (often drunken) late nights out capped off with a steaming serving of poutine that would almost work like a pre-emptive hangover cure. Had too much to drink? Fill yourself up with some poutine and get a good night’s rest. That was the formula and it worked pretty well.
I would never call myself a poutine aficionado; I just love it so much. How could you not? Fries, gravy, cheese curds. It’s a trinity of holy deliciousness and a mountain of calories that are so worth every single last one. So when I heard about Smoke’s Poutinerie, I knew I had to get there ASAP to try it out.
Smoke’s is actually a franchise joint with locations all across Canada. The Calgary location is a bit hard to find, however – we got lost trying to get there. I thought it was along the main strip on 4th Street, but it’s actually tucked away down a quiet street that I’d never noticed before, even though I drive along 4th Street frequently. Good thing for the signs pointing to Smoke’s, otherwise we might’ve never made it there.
The interior is quite fun and a mix of modern and retro. The smiling Smoke’s face actually reminded me of Robert Redford, circa “The Spy Game” (am I the only one that sees this?). When we arrived, only a couple of tables were occupied and the place was otherwise quiet. It was around 2:30pm, however, not exactly prime dining time. After a quick scan of the menu, we ordered our items and they were ready within minutes.
I went with the Traditional Poutine. The mark of a good poutinerie is how well they do the most basic and classic kind. Now, I’m not a poutine purist like some (who lose their heads if it’s anything but the traditional kind), but I do prefer the classic goodness of the traditional fries, gravy, and cheese curds combination. Smoke’s version is fantastic. The size of the regular box is misleading; it doesn’t look that big, but it’s packed full of goodness. The fries held up really well in the rich gravy that permeated every bit of the box. The gravy was the perfect consistency – thick, but not overly so, savoury but not overly salted. The cheese curds were appropriately squeaky and melted so well with the hot fries and hot gravy.
Mark chose the Pulled Pork Poutine (chipotle pulled pork). It came with a generous helping of tender, melt-in-the-mouth pulled pork in a sweet and savoury chipotle barbeque sauce. Quite an interesting take on the poutine that worked really well. Definitely another winner.
We could barely finish off our poutines because the portion size is very generous. They even have a “WOW” size which is probably best for when you’re really, really drunk and your stomach is suddenly 10 times larger in capacity.
They have a variety of different poutines on the menu that I’d love to try (Bacon Poutine, anyone?), so I’ll definitely be back to Smoke’s when I’m feeling like I need another nostalgic hit of poutine indulgence.
111, 1800 4th Street SW
Calgary, AB T2S3B1
Phone: (403) 245-2873