With my week off from work winding down, I spent Friday just walking around Toronto. I got this crazy craving for good coffee and a poutine – an itch that needed to be scratched and I knew where to scratch them – Manic for a delicious Americano and, upon the suggestion of many, Caplansky’s (12 Clinton St. – just south of College) for a poutine which is just a few blocks south west of Manic and, conveniently enough, on my way home.
Walking into Caplansky’s I had no idea what to expect as I had heard various contradicting descriptions of what I was about to have in front of me. Without even looking at the menu I ordered the poutine. A few short minutes later, Adrian, the kitchen whiz kid, delivered it with an eager smile.
First things first: I’m not a big meat eater. I don’t really eat meat at all save for the occasional morsel, but I’m no stranger to broths and (of course) gravies. I’m basically a part-time vegetarian (read: not vegetarian, just a pussy). However, as we can see above this is clearly a dish with chunks of Caplansky’s specialty; smoked meat. I was a little apprehensive and weary of diving in, but hey, no guts no glory. How am I ever going to find the best poutine in Toronto if I don’t occasionally take one for the team?
Hey – maybe if I keep telling myself that maybe I’ll start to believe it.
In any event – Adrian advised me that he was no stranger to the blog and he was anxious to know how I felt about the dish…
At the base we have fresh cut fries which are not only cut but are also cooked to perfection. These might seriously be the best poutine fries that I have had in Toronto so far. We also have serious cheese curdage which, as you know if you either a) know anything about poutine or b) have read this ridiculous blog before, is nothing less than crucial. It’s also worth noting that the poutine smells fucking phenomenal. There is no two ways about it.
My only beef with this smoked meat poutine (pun fully intended – I’m sorry … I’m not sorry) is that it’s not traditional. The thick chunky gravy with bits of smoked meat floating is not really on my radar for a poutine. However! This gravy was no less than mind blowing. So rich and smokey and delicious. This dish was so delicious that I took my girlfriend back the next day to try it. I thought that she was going to get the borsche (which is also really good) that I recommended but she got the poutine and also agreed that while not traditional, totally delicious and leaves you quite satiated.
Because I was too busy shoveling this little $6 bowl of magic into my mouth on Friday, on Saturday we were able to snap a shot of Adrian’s intricate layering…
All in all, I will obviously go back and eat it as I have already had it twice in as many days. However, I stress that this may not be right for you if you’re looking for something traditional and/or if you’re not into bits of meat.
On Saturday, Zane (the big cheese) came out and talked with my girlfriend and I and asked how we enjoyed everything and we started talking about poutine and what not – he even suggested a couple spots that I check out! I was explaining to him that I really enjoyed it but, to be frank, it lost points for not being traditional. Not surprised by my comments, he then began to tell me how they make the gravy. To be honest, it basically starts out as something that would be spot on for a traditional poutine, but then he throws a couple curve balls to put his own spin on it – dude knows what he’s doing. I honestly don’t blame him for making something original which is (hopefully) paying off.
Both Zane and Adrian were awesome to my girlfriend and I – as well as the waitresses on both Friday and Saturday. It’s a great feeling to go grab a bite to eat and you’re surrounded by nothing but smiles and positive attitudes by both staff and patrons. I sincerely urge everyone to check out Caplansky’s – try the poutine, get a smoked meat sandwich or even the borsche. I cannot see how this place can disappoint. I’m bringing my parents there when they come to visit next month.