If there’s one international food item whose arrival in New York in the past decade or so has been a mixed blessing, it’s poutine, the Montreal snack of fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy.
Why mixed? Well, on one hand it’s a bowl of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy!
On the other hand, it’s a bowl of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, and it’s really freaking bad for you. But when the craving hits, nothing will satisfy except for this Montreal import. Truly great poutines start with well-made fries that retain their crispness even when covered with delicious homemade gravy, and fresh, high-quality cheese curds, and these six spots serve New York City’s best.
Best known for its twice-fried Belgian frites and legion of dipping sauces, it’s often forgotten that Pommes Frites (which was destroyed in an explosion in 2015 but re-opened the following year) also serves great poutine, as the name suggests. The ratio of fries to real English gravy to curds is spot-on, and it’s even served in a Styrofoam cup, as it is at many places in Montreal.
The shop that started the poutine craze in New York is still serving the dish in its finest iteration at both its Brooklyn and Manhattan locations. Fries are super-crispy, the brown gravy is homemade, and cheese curds are from Maine’s Silver Moon Creamery. Amply portioned, super-fresh, properly proportioned, well-sourced, and topped with freshly made Montreal-style smoked meat if you want it (you want it), it doesn’t get any better than Mile End, at least outside of Montreal.
Great poutine starts with great fries, and this Lower East Side Belgian fry shop certainly has that covered: They’re using fresh-cut Idaho potatoes, fried three times and sprinkled with French sea salt, as the base for their unique “Swedish Poutine.” These fries are topped with Swedish meatballs, gravy, fresh Cheddar cheese curds, and a dollop of lingonberry jam.
This unique Long Island City steakhouse is the brainchild of chef Hugue Dufour, who honed his chops at one of Montreal’s finest restaurants, Au Pied de Cochon. So as expected, his poutine here is spot-on. Super-crisp fries are topped with a classic Montreal gravy mix combined with pork shank stock and a slurry of burnt flour and black pepper as well as cheese curds from the legendary Murray’s.
The poutine served at this street food-focused Indian restaurant is about as outside-the-box as it comes, but it’s ridiculously delicious. This “Desipoutine” starts with crispy fries, but the similarities end there: They’re doused in creamy tikka masala sauce, shredded fresh paneer, and Indian spices. It’s the perfect drunk food.
Yes, hiding in this legendary hole-in-the-wall’s sprawling menu is a stellar bowl of poutine. Super-crispy fries are doused in brown gravy, topped with cheese curds, and finished off with three poached eggs. It is truly a thing of beauty, served at the best restaurant for breakfast in the city.