What’s warm, crispy, covered in oozing gravy and curds of cheesy goodness? You guessed it: Poutine! But this ain’t your typical poutine joint. The Spud Shack Fry Co. takes poutine to a new level of perfection. Aside from a fabulous menu of 10 unique poutine items, this unreal poutine place dishes out burgers, sandwiches, salads and much more. Like Frite’chos – a fun take on nachos with fries in place of nacho chips. Pair any of these mouth-watering items with a cold, craft beer, and you’ve got a new favourite poutine spot.
I was lucky enough to sit down with the owner and inspiration behind The Spud Shack, Dan Close, who not only provided me with an assortment of goodies to taste, but gave me some insight on the ins and outs of his booming business.
We all know poutine is a staple item for Vancouverites; I definitely appreciate a hefty plate of fries and gravy. So, as a disclaimer I have to say I rank The Spud Shack number one in my heart (and belly) for the best poutine I have ever had. I base this statement on three key factors: The Taste – which is flawless, The Atmosphere – which feels like home, and The Beer – which is carefully selected by Dan himself. As an added bonus, any restaurant that the owner personally takes the time to get to know his customers is a gem in my eyes.
Dan is more than just an owner. He had a vision of taking poutine to the extreme by adding unexpected flavours to a classic dish – and he completely nailed it. I was honoured to taste three fabulous food items including The “Baked” Potato and The “Night Market” poutine, as well as the Effing Good Burger. Of course, I had to treat my thirsty side to a beer flight, which is always a good accompaniment to fried food.
Each dish tantalized my taste buds and kept me asking myself, “Why have I only just found out about this place?” Here’s a breakdown of each item:
The “Baked” Potato
Just like it sounds, but a thousand times better than you can even comprehend. Let’s start with the foundation: Each fry is made from 100% local Kennebec potatoes and cooked in gluten free Canola Oil, then perfectly seasoned with Italian sea salt. Cue the bacon. And not just tiny, insignificant bacon bits like most poutine places throw on their dishes. This bacon comes in strips of sizzling, brown pieces that lay beautifully on top of a pile of crispy fries. A heaping dollop of sour cream perches itself atop the meat with a garnish of green onions…is your mouth watering yet?
The “Night Market”
Imagine taking a trip to the Richmond Night Market simply by ordering a poutine. Instead of spending $5 on ten pairs of baby animal socks, you can spend the same amount of money on a small (it’s actually huge) poutine that tastes better than anything you can buy from the market. This bad boy features succulent ginger beef, kimchi, crispy wontons, green onions and sesame seeds. To finish it off, a homemade spicy mayo is drizzled all over to give this poutine an unbelievable kick.
The Effing Good Burger
Need I say more? This burger completely lives up to its name. It’s simple: An all-beef burger topped with bacon, lettuce, pickle and Monterey Jack cheese. But wait! The sauces are truly what make this burger effing good. There’s a smoked onion mayo accompanied with barbeque sauce and a tomato jam smothered all over the buns. As a side note, I never eat pickles. And since I mistook the little buggers for green tomatoes, I ate them in my burger and was in shock at the taste. Dan told me they are specially made, like everything on their menu. Any food place that can make a pickle-hater like pickles deserves an award in my books.
The Craft Beer
Craft beer is so trendy these days, yet it’s hard to find the perfect pair for a specific type of food. The Spud Shack did this effortlessly. Dan assured me he ventures out to brewery and picks only the best beer to pour for his customers.
He brought me a fleet of four flavourful beers:
- Whistler Powder Mountain Lager – A lightly hopped North American style lager that goes fantastically with anything, really
- Steel & Oak Red Pilsner – A full-bodied Pilsner with a floral aroma, caramel malted taste that leaves a sweet bitterness in your mouth
- Moody Ales Brown Ale – A light, dark beer with crisp, big malted tones with a hint of toffee and chocolate flavour (my personal favourite)
- Yellow Dog “Play Dead IPA” – A medium body with a fruity aroma and a tropical fruit taste, with light caramel malts and a slight bitterness, but not overwhelming
I did not want the tasting (and beer) to ever end!
To make things even sweeter, The Spud Shack has teamed up with Loyal Tree app to offer a fabulous loyalty program to returning customers. Just by signing up, you’ll receive 20 points (which gets you a free drink). 50 points gets you a free small poutine. Trust me, it’s worth signing up!
And if you’re looking for the best deal on a Monday, The Spud Shack offers Monday Madness: ½ priced poutine and $5 pints. Finally, a reason to love Mondays again.
The Spud Shack is the perfect place to unwind with friends, snack on a powerfully-flavoured poutine, and even watch the game (yes, they play hockey!). The ambiance is hip and relaxing. And the price is unbeatable for the quality. Needless to say, The Spud Shack has rocked the poutine world.
As a self-proclaimed poutine connoisseur, I give The Spud Shack five fries way up! I’ll be returning soon with a hungry belly and a happy heart.
Shout out to Dan the man for the wonderful tasting experience!
The Spud Shack Fry Co.
352-800 Carnarvon Street
New Westminster, BC
(@ the New West Skytrain Station)
The Spud Shack Food Review Written by: Crystal Scuor