There’s debate over whether the name for the Canadian comfort-food classic poutine is derived from the English word “pudding” or a Quebecois slang term meaning “mess.” If it’s the latter, untidiness translates to finger-licking deliciousness.
With the arrival of Ontario-based chain Smoke’s Poutinerie at Downtown’s new Pawn Plaza, there might not be a better spot in Las Vegas to score a plate of the gravy-soaked, cheese curd-covered French fries. Smoke’s has more than 30 variations of poutine on its menu, and you should start with the original. Potatoes are hand-cut every day—you can taste the freshness—and the spuds manage to stay crisp, even through the layers of gooey, salty cheese and Smoke’s bold and flavorful brown gravy.
But once you’ve gotten a taste of the OG ($5.99-$10.99), don’t be afraid to branch out to more imaginative creations. I recommend the Vegas location’s current best-seller, bacon cheeseburger poutine ($9.99-$12.99). In addition to the traditional ingredients—all variations start with that base, unless you customize—this flavor-bomb loads on a tasty, tangy cheese sauce, prime ground beef and crumbles of double-smoked bacon. Is your mouth watering yet?
Diners can also make their own messy masterpiece from scratch, using different gravies and meats and other toppings like sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and baby green peas. Smoke’s founder Ryan Smolkin says his last calculation stood at 8.75 billion different possibilities. Time to get to work.
Smoke's Poutinerie Pawn Plaza, 702-823-4555. Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.