Happy Hour: Coterie Room poutine is far from routine
The poutine at The Coterie Room in Seattle is the best in town, says Happy Hour columnist Tan Vinh.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The poutine purists would not be pleased. And the health-conscious set would certainly wag their fingers. But for a minute, can we just acknowledge that those artery-clogging fries with roasted pork at The Coterie Room are the best poutine in Seattle?
Poutine, the Quebec staple of fries with fresh cheese curds and gravy, can be found on many bar menus around Seattle now, served as happy-hour or hangover food. It's "a beer sponge," as The New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin put it.
Skillet on Capitol Hill does a crispy poutine of enormous proportion. Hunger in Fremont does a $6 happy-hour brunch poutine topped with two eggs sunny-side up, a play on Spain's "broken egg" dish.
But none is as addicting as chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough's meaty interpretation, served in an oval iron skillet, enough as an appetizer for two or dinner for one. It's featured on The Coterie Room's happy-hour menu for $9.
The Coterie's is a highbrow spin on a lowbrow dish. In lieu of traditional thick, brown gravy, the chefs did a pork demi-glace to bind the starchiness. The fries are tossed with rosemary oil and salt. The Beecher's cheese curds get battered and deep-fried. Shreds of tender, slow-cooked pork shoulder are thrown in and topped with raw scallions, herbs and lemon juice to cut into the richness — a creamy, porky, salty delight.
It's not drowning in gravy like many poutine, but gluttonous all the same — not to be eaten weekly or even monthly, and certainly not during bikini season.
The Coterie Room, 2137 Second Ave., offers happy hour daily 5-6:30 p.m. and again 10 p.m. to closing with 20 percent off on small plates and $2-$4 beer, $5 wine and $7 cocktails (206-956-8000 or www.thecoterieroom.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or email@example.com. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.