In Honor of Canada Day: 6 Poutines Around Washington

Celebrate our neighbors to the North by digging into local versions of this most sloppiest of snacks.

By: Anna Spiegel

The weather isn’t exactly Québécois, but that won’t stop revelers celebrating Canada Day this July 1 with the province’s most famous export (not counting you, William Shatner): poutine. In its most traditional form, the boldly indulgent dish is made using dark gravy, fries, and cheese curds, but it’s one of those foods chefs love to put their own spin on, as you’ll see in the six versions below—some of the best we’ve tried anywhere.

Fries With Duck Liver Gravy at Green Pig Bistro

“We keep away from the French words, and luxury in general,” says Green Pig chef-owner Scot Harlan when asked why he doesn’t tout the foie gras in his heart-stopping take on poutine. To make it, Harlan cloaks his crispy fries with a Southern-style gravy made from duck stock and enriched with seared duck liver butter. The snack is finished with Tillamook cheddar, sliced chives, and a nugget of the aforementioned upscale organ, all for under $10.

Oh, Canada. Green pig's foie-gras-enhanced poutine. Photograph courtesy of Green Pig Bistro.


The Hangover Cure at Mintwood Place

Anyone who’s suffered a rough morning after in Montreal knows the healing power of poutine. Experience it yourself during a weekend brunch at Mintwood Place, where chef Cedric Maupillier dials up the excess by adding a hamburger. The dry-aged patty is topped with crispy bacon, fries, cheddar cheese, and a gravy of ranch dressing and runny fried egg yolk.

Mintwood Place's hangover helper. Photograph by Erick Uecke.


Disco Fries at ChurchKey

Disco fries, poutine’s Jersey-bred cousin, can supply enough grease to satisfy Snooki and the crew. Chef Kyle Bailey’s version at ChurchKey is more delicate than most, though still cheesy enough to down alongside a cold beer. Bailey douses hand-cut fries in breakfast sausage gravy with plenty of garlic and sage, and tops them with melty chunks of sharp Grafton cheddar.

Disco Fries at Cava Mezze

Well, it wouldn’t be a disco with just one dancer. At Cava, chef Dimitri Moshovitis gives the diner staple a Greek twist with a generous mound of slow-cooked veal ragout that acts as a meaty gravy, and crumbled kefalograviera cheese, a Parmesan-like sheep’s milk variety. The dish is one of the Cava originals, and still among the best.

Poutine Fries at the Black Squirrel

There’re no squeaky cheese curds that make it “authentic” poutine, but you’ll be too busy digging into the bacon-studded stack at Black Squirrel to care. Grab a beer from the extensive list and stick your face into fries decked out with veal demi-glace-based gravy and béchamel made with Parmesan, cheddar, goat cheese, Swiss, and taleggio (the same found in the bar’s tasty mac and cheese).

Duck Egg Poutine at Family Meal

Bryan Voltaggio’s casual Frederick diner Family Meal has only been open a few days, but the chef’s ode to Canada is already one of the most talked-about dishes. Housed in the breakfast-all-day category, it’s an entrée-size portion of potato hash topped with duck leg confit, cheese curds, and slow-cooked, oh-so-runny egg.