Poutine is a classically Québecois dish of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Nope, its not the healthiest dish. Claimed to have been invited just outside of Québec City (the exact place varies), poutine is extremely popular in Québec. So popular that everyone has a favorite, and the Québecois will staunchly defend their favorite poutine. Do not get into an argument over which poutine is best. You will certainly lose. One thing, however, that is generally agreed (at least in Québec City): Québec City poutine > Montréal poutine.
While everyone has a favorite, a repeat favorite is the fast food restaurant Chez Ashton. Chez Ashton is a legit fast food restaurant – reminiscent of a McDonalds from the 1980s – and it has several locations in and around (and only in and around) Québec City. I tried Chez Ashton and it seems more nostalgic than delicious.
Now, getting on the the purpose of this post, I like my poutine a bit more edgy and exciting. So when I heard about Le Chic Shack, I knew I had to plan a meal here just to try their poutine.
Like Chez Ashton, le Chic Shack has a fast food feel, but more of a Five Guys feel than a 1980s McDonalds feel. However, unlike Chez Ashton, le Chic Shack specializes in “gourmet” burgers, poutine and milk shakes. In fact, I think they may have borrowed some ideas from NYC’s Shake Shack. Dan and I skipped the burgers on our visit and stuck to the poutine. We split two poutiness from a list of approximately 5 – all a take on the classic poutine. One very interesting fact about le Chic Shack’s poutine is that instead of french fries, le Chic Shack uses potato wedges . I liked this, but I am sure others strongly disagree. Dan did not love it.
We started with the traditional (la Classique) which, as expected, consisted of potato wedges, cheese curds and pepper gravy. The potatoes and cheese curds were delightful, but I was not a fan of the pepper gravy. I found it a bit too peppery and that it drowned the potatoes.
Other second poutine was much, much better – La Braisée. La Braisée consisted of roasted potato wedges topped with braised beef, parmesan cheese curds, pickled onions, horseradish aioli and fresh herbs. Surprisingly, both of us much preferred this dish to La Classique. I think the roasted potatoes worked well with the flavors here, and every element of the dish was prepared very well. I particularly enjoyed the horseradish aioli!
We had planned to leave after our poutine, but le Chic Shack offered a Salted Caramel Maple milkshake. WHAT?! I could not pass that up, so Dan and i decided to split one. Great call. Our nice waitress split it into two separate glasses with whipped cream and I still felt like I had a large. I maintain that this is the best milkshake that I have ever had! The milkshake was amazing.
I enjoyed le Chic Shack and would recommend it to those looking for a quick lunch or dinner near the tourist attractions, as the restaurant is located right in the tourist heart of the Upper Town between the Chateau Frontenac and the Tourist Office. Another point in le Chic Shack’s favor is that it offers vegetarian and gluten free options (including locally baked gluten free buns), as well as salads. On the other hand, if this is your sole opportunity to try poutine, I would recommend going elsewhere, as this is just not traditional poutine.
STEAL OUR LUNCH
Le Chic Shack – 15, rue du Fort, Québec, QC, G1R 3W9. T: 418-692-1485. No reservations required. Vegeterian and gluten free options. Salads also available. LCS serves alcohol, including beer from the local Archibald Brewery.
Chez Ashton – 54 Côte du Palais, Ville de Québec, QC G1R 4H8, Canada. Phone:+1 418-692-3055. Open daily 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m., and 4:00 a.m. Thursday – Saturday. Fast food casual and no reservations. Inexpensive. There are several locations throughout the Québec City area.
ON A BUDGET
Le Chic Shack was inexpensive and the portions were large. Open for lunch and dinner, this is a good budget option. Alternatively, Chez Ashton is cheap and pretty tasty.