Poutine in San Francisco

I haven’t been to Quebec yet to try poutine in its place of origin. I’ve had it in three places in SF recently though and am not sure if the versions I’ve had are technically poutine.

Box Kitchen (SoMa, SF)
Got some takeout poutine from Box Kitchen, the food window attached to the Tempest bar in SoMa. It was one of the day’s specials. I guess not really a poutine as it lacked gravy and instead was topped with braised short ribs. It did have what looked like cheese curds or mozzarella though. Despite the lack of gravy this was actually pretty good. Tasted better than it looked. Box Kitchen makes good fries and the short ribs were also tasty. I didn’t like the cheese chunks that much though, just tasted like room temperature mozzarella chunks. I think they would have been better if there was some gravy to melt them a bit.

Zoe’s (Mission, SF)
Zoe’s version of poutine had blue cheese instead of cheese curds. Good gravy that was a little white colored, kind of like a sausage gravy - may have had some dairy in it. Had some mushrooms too. Blue cheese was an interesting topping. Some of it melted into the gravy. Gave it a funkier taste than what I’m guessing one would typically expect from a poutine.

Rosamunde Sausage Grill (Mission, SF)
Although known for its sausages, Rosamunde also has a poutine on their menu. You have the option of adding any of their sausages to the poutine but I just had it plain. Huge portion. Cheese looked like cheese curds, and some of it melted into the gravy. Fries were fine but I didn’t really like the gravy. It’s described as a green peppercorn gravy and had a few peppercorns in it. Gave it a weird tangy flavor that I didn’t like that much.

Has anyone tried the branch of Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley? They are a Toronto based chain. Anyone have a favorite place for poutine in SF or whereabouts?


I haven’t had Smoke’s locally, but didn’t think much of a Toronto location. That my first taste of poutine.

Gravy warning in mind, I may try the Rosamunde version.

It’s bizarre that places in Quebec using jarred gravy and limp fries do better jobs than gussied up versions here, which miss a textural and flavor component by not using cheese curds or ruin what would have been a fine take on gravy fries. Or maybe I haven’t consumed enough alcohol.

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You are right about Rosamunde’s version at least looking the park. Using tinned chicken gravy is de rigeur, in terms of authenticity, just as as using pre-sliced American cheese is in a grilled cheese sandwich.

I’ve had plenty of exposure to poutine in its native habitat and Jay Prichett says it all for me:


Awesome reference for the topic!!! LOL

Let’s face it, it’s greasy leftover duck on fries.

Cheese curds do look and smell like vomit, cause that’s where rennet comes from:

Poutine is not really something I think of when thinking gourmet, although I can see the appeal if you are really hungover. It seriously sounds like stuff somebody found in the fridge after a drinking bout, and just threw it in the microwave.

How regional things like this develop a caché beyond their point of origin is beyond me.

Too much Bourdain and Andrew Zimmer I suspect.

Nice try, but cheese curd itself does not taste or smell like vomit. It is a great food if eaten from hand the day it is made (which is how it should be eaten). Melting it atop French fries or breading it and deep frying it is only suitable for stale cheese curd (or Wisconsin cheese curd).

Many, probably the majority of cheeses these days, are made without rennet, or with vegeteble-based substitutes which make them vegetarian and Kosher.


Sorry, don’t mean to be difficult, but you can’t make cheese (except for certain soft cheeses) without rennet, it’s what makes the milk coagulate.

“Vegetable” derived rennets, which actually come from mold (mold are not plants) are less common and don’t work as well as animal rennets.

Most commercial cheese makers use animal rennet which has been cloned and grown in GMO’s. If you check I think you will find chymosin, the active enzyme in rennet, was the first GMO ingredient approved for food manufacture by the FDA in the early 1990’s.

As far as the vegetarian thing goes there has been a lot of debate about what constitutes “vegetarian” when it comes to cheese labelling, and big agribusiness usually drive the bus when it comes to labelling laws.

As far as the kosher thing goes I think they don’t count the animal origin of the enzyme as long as it is purified and there is a supervising Rev, but you would have to ask a Rabbi for sure.

Finally, I think the smell is a personal thing but cheese making always reminds me of what you smell when things come up unintentionally.

Wow, harsh. Guess you have something against this guy:

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Gareth Blackstock: That’s what cheese is - gone-off milk with bugs and mold! That’s why it tastes so good! Look, cows and bugs together have a good deal going down. Why can’t people grasp this?

Episode: The Big Cheese, 25 February 1993


I also live Stephen Fry on QI describing cheese as “a celebration of milk gone off big time stylie”

When you’re three months old, perhaps.

Not to boast, but I have a “refund” streak longer than Jerry Seinfeld’s (knock on wood) and the last time it happened it probably evoked beer and champagne.

I’m not a vegetarian, but if I were, I’m damned sure I would go along with whatever Rainbow Foods considers vegetarian in cheeses. Plenty of “success” there.

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Thanks. Had to set my VPN to a HK server to view it. Even a UK server wouldn’t let me see it though it advised of a BBC Fremantle copyright.

No, just biased. I grew up in New York State dairy country. My grandfather was a dairy farmer, and his cousin founded a cheese company (McCadam Cheese) which still exists and makes what many consider the best cheese curd in New York State (which, of course, means the best in the whole US).


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I see. I’m in Indonesia at the mo which is probably why I could watch it

Their reserve cheddar is good stuff, we find it frequently here in Jersey.

Goes really well with apples.

Can’t find it on the West Coast. For a while it was co-distributed with Cabot, but hasn’t been seen out here in years.

McCadam has frequently won awards for both for its cheddars and its muenster cheese.

As a native Montrealer, I assure you that none of the disasters above resemble anything close to poutine. :wink:


I’ve had poutine in Montreal that LOOKED like the picture for Rosamunde’s (but I’m not one you’d be likely to catch headed for La Banquise)


We have a saying in Montreal - Friends don’t let friends share MTLBlog articles.

That list should not be used as a reference.


I wasn’t using it for reference. To me all poutine sucks. I was presenting it to demonstrate that some Montreal poutine LOOKS like the version at Rosamunde’s, contrary to what @Oliverb says.

They make great French fries in PQ and the cheese curd there is the best in the world. To throw them together and drench them in gravy should be a capital crime.