Northwest eateries put their spin on poutine, a Québécois dish of french fries, cheese curds and brown gravy

click to enlarge Poutine at Lost Boys' comes either as tots or fries. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
Poutine at Lost Boys' comes either as tots or fries.

May marks the start of the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs, and even though the Seattle Kraken are out of the trophy hunt, we're celebrating the team's first season anyway. And we're doing it with a year-round favorite dish frequently identified with hockey: poutine.

Québéc is the widely accepted birthplace of poutine, which is pronounced poo-teen and loosely translates to the word "mess."

Beloved well beyond Canada, poutine's basic form includes french fries — crisp and thin versus chunks or wedges — topped with white cheese curds and brown gravy. And while purists might scoff at the infinite variations on poutine, from added or different cheese varieties, or gravy to unusual toppings, we say vive la liberté! Here is a roundup of dishes we tried:

LORD STANLEY'S
108 N. Washington St., 509-443-5023; open Sun-Thu 11 am-midnight, Fri-Sat 11 am-1 am

What we got: Traditional poutine ($13), barbecue poutine ($16)

No article about poutine (or hockey) would be complete without referencing Lord Stanley's, the hockey-themed bar and restaurant that opened in downtown September 2021. With 16 TVs and a full bar, this is the place to cheer on televised sports, especially the Kraken, but also to try any of five poutine variations. We were hoping for crisper fries and found the gravy on the traditional poutine a bit salty. The barbecue poutine with pulled pork (or beef brisket), pickled red onions and jalapeño was a better dish, although still salty enough to make us want another round of drinks. Hmm.

LOST BOYS' GARAGE
6325 N. Wall St., 509-443-5023; open Mon-Thu 11 am-9 pm, Fri 11 am-10 pm, Sat 8 am-10 pm, Sun 8 am-9 pm

What we got: Poutine ($11)

Lost Boys' feels like the kind of place you could wander into and feel instantly welcome with its retro vibe, friendly service and huge menu of comfort food with names paying tribute to car culture. Considering poutine likely originated as a bar snack, it's a perfect fit for Lost Boys' menu. Choose between tater tots and fries — we chose tots — and be prepared for a large bowl of crispy nuggets, gooey melting curds and flavorful, but not too salty, gravy. We happened to arrive during happy hour (Mon-Fri from 4-6 pm; all day Sun) and added to our poutine order with pickle fries and the Tennessee Clucker fried chicken sandwich for a hearty shared meal.

MIDTOWN BLUEBIRD
816 N. Fourth St., Coeur d'Alene, 208-665-3777; open Tue-Thu 11 am-9 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am-10 pm

What we got: Tater tot poutine ($12)

While it may not be the traditional take on the classic poutine, everything about Midtown Bluebird's version is delightful, from the crispy tater tots to the savory pork belly to the gooey Cougar Gold cheese. And as if that isn't tempting enough, Midtown does a froufrou version (add $5) with additional bacon, caramelized onions, blue cheese crumbles, jalapeño and a fried egg. This and a stout cup of coffee or your favorite craft beer plus Midtown's eclectic bistro vibe makes for a perfect meal with plenty to share or take home.

click to enlarge Pint House's poutine - CARRIE SCOZZARO PHOTO
Carrie Scozzaro photo
Pint House's poutine

PINT HOUSE BURGERS & BREWS
3325 W. Indian Trail Rd., 509-290-6937; open Mon-Thu 3-10 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-10:30 pm, Sun 11 am-9 pm

What we got: Poutine ($10/half, $16.50/full)

Tucked into a neighborhood shopping center anchored by Yoke's Fresh Market, Pint House Burgers & Brews is an ideal spot for friends, families and large gatherings. Service was a highlight, here; when our otherwise very tasty traditional poutine arrived less than the promised "piping hot," that was quickly remedied. By the time you read this, Pint House's new Spokane Valley location (9214 E. Mission Ave.) might be open if you're craving poutine but don't want to drive to the North Side.

WATTS 1903 SPIRITS & EATERY
1318 W. First Ave., 509-279-2334 open Mon-Thu 11:30 am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11:30 am-10 pm

What we got: Tater tot poutine ($12)

Watts 1903 is a fun place with a full bar, a standard menu and frequent specials to suit a range of appetites. The tater tot poutine was by far the spiciest stop on our poutine journey with the unmistakable chili flavors of Buffalo sauce. Although we would have liked crispier tots, the dish arrived hot with melted cheese, cubed ham and a perfectly fried egg. The addition of green onion helped cut some of the richness, and there were no complaints about the abundance of this dish, which was more than enough for two to share. ♦


MORE POUTINE

TRADITIONAL

24 Taps Burgers & Brews
825 W. Riverside Ave ($9/half order, $16/full)

Backyard Public House
1811 W. Broadway Ave. ($11)

Noah's Canteen
610 Bunker Ave, Kellogg ($13)

Prohibition Gastropub
1914 N. Monroe St. ($15)

Shawn O'Donnell's Irish Pub
719 N. Monroe St. ($12)

South Perry Lantern
1004 S. Perry St. ($14)

The Filling Station
306 N. Spokane St., Post Falls ($12)

VARIATIONS

Baba Spokane
1242 W. Summit Pkwy. ($14)
cheese gravy, garlic, feta cheese, labneh, fried egg, tahini yogurt

Birch & Barley
1360 Bishop Blvd., Pullman ($15)
Cougar Gold cheese, Guinness gravy, bacon, green onion

Knight's Diner
2909 N. Market St. ($14)
fried egg

Little Euro
517 N. Pines Rd., Spokane Valley, ($13)
smoked brisket, fried eggs

Litz's Pub & Eatery
204 E. Ermina Ave. ($13)
corned beef, Guinness gravy, jalapeño, cheddar cheese, green onion

Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese
735 W. Kathleen Ave., Coeur d'Alene ($8/half, $15/full)
white cheddar, braised beef short rib, fried cheese curds, beer-battered fries, roasted shallot and shitake mushroom gravy

Morty's Tap & Grille
5517 S. Regal St. ($18)
roasted potatoes, onions, bell peppers, whiskey peppercorn sauce, steak bites, Gouda cheese, fried eggs

Nadine's Mexican Kitchen
8016 Main St., Rathdrum ($8)
creamy green chile sauce, chipotle cream, queso fresco

The Ref Sports Bar
14208 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley ($8)
Indian butter chicken, cilantro, green onion

Yards Bruncheon
1248 W. Summit Pkwy. ($15)
sausage gravy, cheddar, candied bacon, fried egg, green onion

Sandpoint Farmers Market @ Sandpoint

Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Wednesdays, 3-5:30 p.m. Continues through Oct. 15
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About The Author

Carrie Scozzaro

Carrie Scozzaro spent nearly half of her career serving public education in various roles, and the other half in creative work: visual art, marketing communications, graphic design, and freelance writing, including for publications throughout Idaho, Washington, and Montana.