Poutine at Potato Champion

By Camas Davis May 19, 2009 Published in the December 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

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Snack on this: French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy

Image: Kim Nguyen

IF AFTER A LONG DAY spent chopping and dicing and roasting and sautéing, a chef is in need of a hearty meal in Portland, this late-night fry shack is where he or she goes. Why? Because chefs understand the allure of poutine (pronounced poo-TEEN): Belgian-style fries that have been fried twice and topped with a meaty, creamy gravy … and cheese curds. Yes, cheese curds. But let’s get into the details first. Double-frying potatoes keeps the outside crisp while the inside remains soft and pillowy; the gravy is made with free-range chicken stock; and the cheese curds hail from Oregon’s own Rogue Creamery.

It’s utterly unrefined and over-the-top heart-attack food at its finest, making it an excellent way to cut through all those Bud Lights you drank. That may explain why this little shack—which also serves regular fries with myriad dipping sauces, for the fainter of heart—is open only from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. (Wednesday through Saturday). Get thee in line. Get thee a fork. Ask for extra gravy, even, and don’t look back. Then eat your grapefruit and yogurt in the morning.