In my opinion, poutine should be a food group of its own. If you don't know what poutine is, it's a simple dish of fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy originating in Quebec. Though simple, it's ridiculously awesome. Poutine in its basic form is also often used as a blank canvas for a plethora of different toppings. In the September 2012 issue of Esquire, Chris Jones is quoted saying, "If bacon ate, bacon would eat poutine." Genius. Now that you know how much I love this Canadian export, you probably have an idea of why I went to Gregoire solely for their poutine.
When one thinks of this quaint North Berkeley landmark, one thinks of potato puffs. Oh yes, those lightly crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside treats...a must have for sure. But for the month of February (oh dear, this post is late), they had poutine.
Upon seeing the poutine, the pretentious foodie in me cringed a tad bit. The fries were yellow. If you know a thing about poutine, you know that the fries are typically orangish-brown. Once I suppressed the monster that resides in me, I dug in. Pretty good. The fries were perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside (seems to be a winning combination for potato based foods). The gravy was salty and peppery, very reminiscent of KFC gravy. That's no insult either. Darn good. However, the cheese curds were a bit disappointing. They were crumbly rather than being solid with a "squeaky" tooth-feel. They also pretty bland. Overall, not bad. There's a sore lack of poutine stateside, so any poutine I can get my hands on is appreciated.
On a side note, the Empire Cola was fantastic. You get the great classic cola taste without all the sweetness.
An obligatory photo of their legendary potato puffs. Seriously, you have to try these before you die.
Gregoire 2109 Cedar St Berkeley, CA 94709 (510) 883-1893 www.gregoirerestaurant.com