Dump beefy gravy on hot fries, add cheese curds. Serve with cold beer. It’s a formula I’m seeing all over Tacoma.
My latest poutine sighting was at the Harmon Tap Room, which debuted a new menu about three weeks ago, including a half dozen skillet-baked nachos and totchos (think nachos, but with tots).
I ordered the BC spud ($8) and what showed up at my table looked like the love child of nachos and poutine. Not that I’m complaining, because the dish was a delicious collision of hot carbs and fat.
Hot steak fries came doused in a blanket of melted cheddar-jack, in lieu of the usual squeaky curds that poutine usually carries. A squiggle of sour cream and chopped green onions also gave me pause, but I stopped worrying once I jammed my fork deep beyond all that dairy and hit delicious, boozy gravy made with the Harmon’s porter beer. The beefy gravy pooled at the bottom of the skillet, soaking the bottom layer of hot fries.
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Totchos were good, too. Galloping Gertie ($8) was a skillet of fried tots covered with that same layer of melted cheddar-jack cheese, jalapeños and a kicky salsa verde.
Find the Harmon Taproom at 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma; 253-212-2725 or theharmontaproom.com.
In case you missed my poutine roundup back in April in this story, here’s a recap of where else to find poutine in the Tacoma area.
FRIES AND GRAVY POUTINE, $8
Bite at Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma; 253-591-4151 or hotelmuranotacoma.com/eat-drink/bite.
The Bite restaurant, located inside downtown Tacoma’s Hotel Murano, produces a poutine that has been my favorite in town for years. It’s a boozy, decadent mess of a dish because executive chef Matt Stickle starts his gravy with four bottles of zinfandel and finishes it with sauteed crimini and garlic. The gravy is a sticky glaze that superbly coats the thin-cut fries that are peppered with a choice of either crumbled gorgonzola (my preference) or Beechers cheese curds (the curds weren’t hot enough for me). These are so good, you’ll want to jam them by the fistful into your mouth.
PUB-STYLE POUTINE, $9
Gordon and Purdy’s, 17136 Highway 410 E., Sumner; 253-750-4756 or gordonandpurdys.com.
This pub poutine was just what I wanted with my pint of German brew at Bonney Lake’s newest addition, Gordon and Purdy’s, which opened in March in the old winery halfway up the Highway 410 hill from Sumner to Bonney Lake. This dish was well executed, although my visit was during the restaurant’s first few weeks of business. That’s why I won’t ding the kitchen for those cold curds, but at least they were Beechers brand ( that’s a Seattle cheese company). Thicker-cut fries had enough surface area to soak up the brown gravy, which was heavily seasoned, but not especially beefy tasting.
The Forum Tacoma, 815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-830-2151 or eatattheforum.com.
This was something I hadn’t seen before. Take curds, dunk them in batter, then fry them. That simple tweak changed the flavor and texture of the poutine at The Forum, a downtown Tacoma bar with an interesting cocktail menu. Instead of squeaky curds, they were molten cheese bombs. Fries were skin-on and thick cut, and quite tasty. Brown gravy ranked high for saltiness, but didn’t have much depth. Still, this dish was huge, cheap and built for sharing.