Poutine isn’t exactly a staple food in my diet, though I’ve had some good stuff (hearty potatoes, plenty of cheese, flavourful gravy) and some terrible poutine too (floppy fries, runny gravy, too much salt) over the years. Even McDonalds is now serving poutine. (I haven’t tried it yet, but heard it’s more of the later than the former….) The Big Cheese on 17th Avenue has been on my ‘yeah, let’s go there some day’ list for a while, but honestly there are so many amazing places to eat on 17th Avenue, that I just didn’t get there.
A friend (who lives nearby) said that she didn’t like The Big Cheese, but I still figured I’d give it a try for myself.
First up, the menu seems a little overwhelming – there are just so many flavours to choose from. I guess when poutine is all you do, you have to mix it up for sure! They use “locally grown Yukon gold potatoes, authentic Quebec cheese curds, and poutine sauce” according to their menu. I’m not really sure what ‘poutine sauce’ is though – since it’s supposed to be gravy!
I ordered the donair poutine, pictured above. This is from their Beef Menu, and includes “Authentically seasoned beef and caramelized onions”. Of course, I said skip the onions. The meat was ok – though it tasted and looked a lot like donair meat that was pre-chopped and packaged rather than donair meat off the rotating spit like a donair shop. I would have liked a few other flavors in it too – I always get my donair with tomatoes and pickles along with the cheese and meat. They also had a sweet sauce in this poutine, which got to be a bit too much for me after a while.
My companion opted for the Yamtastic poutine from their Traditional Menu. The only description is “Our best, only better” – just their regular poutine but with yam fries instead of Yukon gold potatoes. I had a taste, and the yam fries were good, but it really wasn’t anything extraordinary. My companion found the same problem I did – he got tired of the flavour half-way through the dish.
We both had the small sizes of the poutine we ordered, but found it was a bit too much. Not just because we got tired of the flavours, but also the quantity was just a bit too much for what we were in the mood for. It basically served as our lunch while we were out and about on 17th Avenue.
The restaurant itself is quite small, and seemed cold (it was a pretty cold day mind you). The counter clerk was friendly, but seemed overworked, since the counter was also serving as a place for all of her paperwork. The poutine was served in brown paper take-out containers that seem to be the staple of Calgary Food Trucks.
I’m glad we went to Big Cheese, but I probably wouldn’t make a point of going back again. If I did, I’d probably split an order of something with my companion instead – not just because of the quantity, but also because I got tired of my poutine before I was done.
What about you?
Have you been to Big Cheese on 17th Avenue before? What did you think? Where is the best place in Calgary for a plate (or take-out container…) of poutine? Let us know in the comments below!
Big Cheese Poutinerie
738 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2S0B7