Comprehensive Guide to the Best Poutine in San Francisco
3. Wayfare Tavern: $14
Seemingly switching between being an off-the-menu item to an on-the-menu item and vice-versa depending on the day, the Wayfare Tavern poutine builds on their terrific French fries by adding various types of gravy depending on what's available in the kitchen. The poutine I had the night of my visit used braised lamb neck and mirepoix for the gravy, giving some texture and bolstering its flavor. A little on the runny side, it makes the fries at the bottom of the stack soggy as it pools in the serving dish. The Mozzarella curds are melted on top of the dish, making it resemble a snowcapped mountain of fries. The much maligned 2,4-dithiapentane (aka truffle oil) is drizzled on the fries to add an extra oomph in flavor, but with truffle season upon us, the poutine now comes with shaved truffles to accompany the oil. Rumor has it Tyler Florence has plans on making the poutine available year round, swapping out ingredients to make it seasonally appropriate, such as using oxtail or fava beans.
The Dapper Diner Wayfare Tavern's poutine changes depending on what's in the kitchen.
2. Citizen's Band: $6
A base of crispy fries topped with a brown, umami-rich wild mushroom gravy, the Citizen's Band poutine is generous in size and flavor. While the gravy's flavor reminds me of an earthier version cream of mushroom soup, it has a perfect medium consistency and pairs nicely with the massive pieces of delicate, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly which tips this from the realm of a snack to a full-on course that will sate your wintery hunger. The soft cheese curds are made in-house using the magic of milk and citric acid and the whole thing is covered with a light shaving of pecorino.
The Dapper Diner Citizens Band's poutine uses mushroom gravy.
1. Per Diem: $12
The best of the bunch I tried, this poutine is centered around fries that are fried slightly more than the restaurant's regular fries, allowing them to stand up better to the oxtail gravy. The rich gravy is thickened by the meat's collagen and fat and is good enough to eat alone with little tender shreds of meat adding a depth of flavor. It manages to straddle the line between being too thin and runny and too thick and gelatinous; it's able to move between the fries to coat various layers in the fry pile, but it also does not migrate completely to the bottom of the serving dish. The crumbled curds come from Petaluma's Achadinha Cheese Company and soften the right amount from the heat of the dish while still retaining a nice squeak when bitten.
The Dapper Diner Per Diem's poutine is the winner.