Saturday, April 28, 2012

Badhappy Poutine Shop

Depending on who you talk to, poutine is either Canadian or strictly Quebecois street food.  In its simplest form, it consists of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.  It is considered low end food and very much a guilty pleasure.  There have been a few places in Chicago that have been serving higher end poutines (including elk or boar ragout or pulled pork) and those people that have tried it generally like the tasty mess that it is.  Recently, Badhappy Poutine Shop, a restaurant specializing in poutine opened up in the Gold Coast of Chicago.  On the menu are 8 different poutines, besides a couple of burgers, 2 salads and frites.  They also have a couple of very good milkshakes; a chocolate peanut butter and a birthday cake.  While it isn't open late, you can stop by for lunch or dinner.  The menu is the same for both but on Sunday, they become a BYOV (bring your own vodka) brunch place and if you bring the vodka, they will supply the bloody Mary mix. I took the day off a few days ago and stopped by for lunch. The restaurant is small and is located in kind of a backwater area (for River North or the Gold Coast).  It is located on the edge of what used to be the location of one of the most notorious housing projects in the city (Cabrini-Green).  The dining area is black with a bar that you can sit at dividing the open kitchen and a few tables that will seat about 30 people.  When you walk in there is a rack of menus on which you write your name and make your choices.  You then hand it to the waitress, find a seat, and wait for your food.  I was told by a friend that I wanted to order a shake so I got the chocolate peanut butter shake.  I also ordered a Filbert's Ginger Ale because I knew that a shake wasn't going to quench my thirst.  I had never had Filbert's soda before despite the fact that it is a Chicago company and I've been here for 15 years but it was pretty good.  It had a strong ginger flavor kind of similar to Vernor's Ginger Ale and very unlike Schweppes or Canada Dry.  The shake was very good. with a cup lined with peanut butter, filled with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, and topped with chocolate cookies and whipped cream.  It was very good but not ggood enough to make me ignore the poutine I ordered.

A friend of mine nicknamed the poutine that I ordered the Clint Eastwood.  The actual name was The Good, the Bad, and the Happy and was the top of the line of the poutines served at Badhappy.  It came with a $2 premium.  In addition to the fries, it came with Fromage Beaucronne, the Quebecois version of cheddar cheese, Pork Belly, Braised Veal Cheeks, Truffle Mayo, Foie Gras Mousse and Gravy, and a Sunny Side Up Egg.  This tasted as good as it was decadent.  It had a wide variety of flavors that all went together well and it was very filling.

Badhappy does poutine well and there is enough variety in the poutines to get me coming back several times.  The restaurant is very low key but it doesn't matter because poutine is not fine dining.  I will definitely be back several times because there are many more poutines to try.

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