I intentionally ate very lightly while traveling from Los Angeles to Montréal so that I would be prepared to gorge on poutine the moment I stepped onto Canadian soil. Packed in my bag were two lahmajoun from Old Sasoon Bakery and a container of slightly stale kale chips. I rationed my provisions throughout the long day on the road, and by the time our plane landed a little past midnight, my stomach was growling and begging for a caloric hit.
After our friend Nina picked us up from the airport, we zoomed to Restaurant La Banquise. Open all day and all night, La Banquise specializes in classic and outlandish varieties of poutine. When we arrived at the restaurant around half past one, a line of hungry revelers was snaking out the door. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones in town in the mood for a Québécois treat.
The menu at La Banquise features 25 varieties of poutine that build upon the classic. Between the three of use, we decided to order two small plates to share.
Sometime nearing 2 AM, our platters of poutine arrived. The “Poutine Kamikaze” ($8.35) included Merguez sausages, hot peppers, and Tabasco on top of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds.
I was completely sober when I dug into this and found it to be absolutely charming. The crisp and grease-less fries were an ideal vehicle for the avalanche of spicy, salty, and rich toppings. And best of all, the cheese curds actually squeaked.
The “Poutine T-Rex” ($8.55) was a meaty mix of ground beef, pepperoni, bacon, and smoked sausages. The toppings tasted slightly different than what I was anticipating—the pepperoni were more like hotdogs, while the bacon lacked smokiness. Even though some of the meaty items didn’t meet my expectations, the overall product was still quite appealing in that caloric bomb kind of way.
Indulging in poutine in the middle of the night was the perfect start to our Montréal adventures.
Restaurant La Banquise
994, Rachel Est, Montréal