So I'm cruising back to my office in Old Montreal from Verdun yesterday and for some reason I decide to cut up Charlevoix to St-Patrick from Wellington.
My tummy grumbling, I see a casse-croute on a corner and hit the brakes. I consider myself a pretty savvy Montreal eater, but I had never been to or heard of Paul Patate! What a great little experience this turned into...
I walked in, sat down and ordered the classic combo - 2 steamé alldrèsse avec poutine. The girl behind the counter brings my poutine - it was classic and simple - fresh cheese curds, hand-cut and lovingly double-fried fries...and classic quebecois style 'sauce BBQ'
Just as I'm savoring my first bite, she brings me a very plump and fresh looking steamed hot-dog. 'I ordered 2' I say to the girl. She says I know, but we serve them one at a time - when you're done that one I will bring you the second. GENIUS! The second will be as hot and tender as the first! (no brainer...can't believe I never thought of it before...)
Poutine: Very good - the fries really make it shine. Caramelized flavour - that slight sweet taste of 'we don't change our oil very often' in every bite. Honestly some of the best fries I have tasted. The sauce was very typical, nothing outstanding, but trhe fries really boost the whole plate - overall a very good poutine.
Hot-dog: Having grown up here you grow accustomed to the average steamy - wet, dummy bread, regular size hot dog that's been kept warm too long, and cole-slaw that is bordering on kim-chi as far as how long it's been sitting in the same bowl.... Well let me tell you - this place really lifts the bar - the bun was freshly steamed, warm and just ever-so slightly moist. The sausage was plump and tender - not overcooked - just perfect. (I didn,T thing to ask what brand they use...I will next time) The mustard and relish were stock, but the cole-slaw was fresh, cold and just the right acidity - piled neatly on top.
I should add, though I see it is mentioned in other posts, the legendary spruce beer of Restaurant Émile Bertrand formerly on Notre-Dame is served exclusively at Paul Patate. I tried it - It's an acquired taste. But it sure adds an aura of authenticity to the place.
One last funny anecdote about my visit - Sitting at the counter and half way through my poutine I got this strange feeling I had been in this place before. Apparantly I had quite the puzzled look on my face because the girl behind the counter asked me if everything was OK. I innocently told her what I was feeling and she answered 'television.' '
What?' I asked.
'Television' she repeated. 'This place is on TV all the time - this is the casse-croute in Taxi 22.'
I couldn't help but laugh out loud - I was a big fan of Taxi 22 in its first season - a very funny Quebecois comedy starring Patrick Huard.
It turns out I had been sitting with my back to a wall that is plastered with newspaper clippings and pictures of Patrick Huard and the owner of Paul Patate. (Not to mention a signed picture of Martin Brodeur!)