Where To Find The Best Poutine In Los Angeles
Poutine, with all its cheesy, carby, gravy-drowned sloppiness, isn't a dish we associate with fine dining. The French-Canadian spin on loaded fries has spent the 60 or so years since its invention as a hangover cure and hockey rink snack. But the unassuming street food has grown in stature in recent years, both as a totem of its native Quebec and as a new comfort food favorite of the international culinary scene. Here in Los Angeles, poutine is having a deep-fried, stains-on-the-shirt moment. The diverse and delicious versions available at these seven city eateries prove that.
At the center of the Santa Clarita Valley's recent culinary renaissance are a slew of elegant, paint-by-numbers gastropubs. The most unassuming of these, Bricks, also boasts the most daring daring menu. It features fancy spins on bar staples such as chorizo tots and blistered shishito peppers. No dish better exemplifies that ethos than its poutine, with an artful sprinkling of gravy and buttery, golden, fried housemade cheese curds. Rarest of all, it has a spacious and navigable parking lot, where available spots always outnumber the seating inside.
23820 Lyons Ave., Santa Clarita. 661-286-1091.
On The Thirty
It takes more than a soupçon of arrogance to call your poutine "The Real Deal" when you're serving it 2,800 miles from Montreal. But On The Thirty's lovingly named "An Ode to Montreal" earns the title. A beautiful if expensive homage ($16) to traditional street eats, this upscale hole-in-the-wall's poutine is plated instead of bowled, gravy-drizzled instead of drowned and garnished with fresh herbs. Like many of On The Thirty's best items, it's as much an objet d'art as it is a foodstuff, but that doesn't make it any less decadent.
14622 Ventura Blvd. #112, Sherman Oaks. 818-788-0330.
BADMAASH has been at the center of a wave of hoopla -- every ounce of it deserved -- since opening the first of its two L.A. locations in 2013. This endearing mini-chain is a reflection of its owners, brothers Nakul and Arjun Mahendro and their father, head chef Pawan. BADMAASH's genre-busting chicken tikka poutine emerged from Pawan's adventurous life in India, Canada and ultimately the U.S. Few dishes offer this mix of tastes. The gravy's goopiness is infused with spice while soft bits of cheese give way to chicken in every bite. Hearty and heavy, it's the height of comfort food.
108 W. 2nd St., Downtown. 213-221-7466.
418 N. Fairfax Ave., Hollywood. 213-281-5185.
Poutine Brothers Food Truck
Try getting a lock on the Poutine Brothers Food Truck's schedule and it gives you the slip. That and the long lines are the downsides of this superb mobile poutinerie. Thankfully, the pros far outweigh the cons. Chris and Matt Urakami's handsome smoked pork and short rib poutines are understandable best-sellers while the delicate "parm" cauliflower vegan version offers a more idiosyncratic option. Cauliflower and fries are doused in house gravy then loaded with vegan mozzarella and dusted with chives and a variety of chili powders. It's worth the effort to catch the brothers somewhere on their "Poutine Routine."
Various Locations, Los Angeles and Orange County. 213-437-3599.
Although it's hardly a year old, Sauced Up has already become a required diversion for travelers visiting Cerritos. Chef Romeo Manzano's intercontinental poutine experiments are so innovative they might scare a native Quebecker. His lechon kawali offers a Filipino twist with 12-hour-roasted pork belly and Mang Tomas hot sauce mixed in with gravy, cheese and fries (make them Cajun fries for an extra 50 cents). The breakfast-friendly loco moco puts the gravy over an angus beef patty while the "poketine" is buried beneath ahi tuna, masago and other poke bowl standards. There's nothing typical about Manzano's creations so don't bring your snooty poutine traditionalist BFF.
11308 South St., Cerritos. 562-403-6200.
Fresh On Sunset
For vegetarian travelers to Toronto (as well as the Duchess of Sussex), Ruth Tal's Fresh restaurants are already must-stops. Now Tal and Shereen Arazm Koules of Terroni have transplanted that concept to their first stateside brick-and-mortar in Serafina's old West Hollywood digs. Fresh on Sunset wasn't conceived as an Ontarian eatery but its vegan poutine with fresh "cheese" sauce is a superior example of Canadian cuisine. You can replace the regular fries with sweet potato fries for a sugary counterpoint to the housemade mushroom gravy, which has so much umami it can be overpowering. If possible, catch a rideshare to Sunset Blvd., where parking is never not a nightmare.
8768 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. 310-432-5199.
There's something charmingly antique about the Prohibition-style bank building that houses The Federal's flagship Lankershim location. Its menu, on the other hand, is decidedly forward-looking, the better to stand out in NoHo's overcrowded nightlife scene. No other bars in the area (or around The Federal's popular Long Beach location, for that matter) offer poutine with sweetly braised short ribs and a peppery fried egg. Even if they did, it would be hard to beat this one, which blankets its thick-cut, scratch-made fries and browned curds in a protein-heavy puddle of gravy. The Federal is also a working performance venue, this isn't in the spot for a quiet meal. Plan your visit for a quieter weekday evening if you want a calmer vibe.
5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. 818-980-2655.
102 Pine Ave., Long Beach. 562-435-2000.