Big Cheese pleases

My husband fancies himself a poutine aficionado so I was at his mercy on our recent trip to one of Calgary’s latest snack spots: The Big Cheese Poutinerie located in the old Nellie’s location on 17th Avenue. S.W.

The space is fully revamped and looks great with lively vintage photography a fantastic reclaimed wood counter and a mosaic tile feature wall. Seating is limited but there’s enough for about 20 guests so you likely won’t have to wait very long.

The best thing about Big Cheese is that it’s a fun place to be as ’70s rock music blasts from the stereo. City folk seem very pleased that Calgary finally has its own poutine shop.

Just before the eatery opened I spoke to co-owner Jackie Zuber to get the lowdown. Apparently there has been a lot of anticipation surrounding the opening and calls were pouring into the shop.

After a trip to Montreal Zuber’s boyfriend and business partner Travis Burke decided a poutine spot was exactly what the city needed and without hesitation the pair began making plans for Calgary’s first all-poutine restaurant.

The result is a menu loaded with more than 25 designer poutine options plus a menu of ingredients for custom-built poutines.

On our visit we try the traditional poutine buffalo chicken and peppercorn beef selections. Starting with the traditional ($5.49/$6.99) my husband immediately dives into the curds. He notes “They’re fresh they stand up to the heat and they aren’t melting.” His mouth issues a smile of approval.

He also likes the poutine sauce and tells me it’s the real deal — a Quebec poutine sauce. Lastly he gives a nod to the fries. They have a nice medium thickness and they’re crisp. I wipe my brow with relief.

From the chicken category of the menu (you can choose from chicken beef pork and vegetarian poutines) we decide on the buffalo chicken ($6.49/$7.99). The dish features shaved grilled chicken breast tossed with Frank’s RedHot sauce with baby green peas fries curds and poutine sauce. It’s awesome. The chicken breast is tender and the heat of the Frank’s adds a little kick to the dish without overwhelming it.

Our last sample of poutine is the peppercorn beef ($7.99/$9.99). I really like the green peppercorn gravy and caramelized onions but I’m not as crazy about the shaved AAA roast beef. There’s nothing wrong with it but I wish the pieces were smaller and more thinly shaved. Otherwise it’s a nice combination of flavours.

We wash it all down with a Pop Shoppe cream soda and a root beer ($3 each). I haven’t had a cream soda in years and I’m feeling wonderfully nostalgic as AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap blares over the speakers. My husband is smiling too though I think it’s because he’s feeling nostalgic for his time spent in Montreal. Either way it looks like we’ll be back again and again to Big Cheese Poutinerie. It was well worth the wait.