La Belle Patate is a little hole in the wall restaurant at 1215 Esquimalt Road a half-block past the Civic Center and Esquimalt’s original strip mall.
Their specialty is Montreal smoked meat sandwiches and Poutine. For the uninitiated, Poutine is a dish of French fries, topped with a thick beef gravy and a macadam of cheese curds. And for those who feel that this might not be the most healthy combination of ingredients – They are completely ignorant to the fact that Poutine is a cruise missile with your arteries in the cross hairs.
Yes. It is that good.
And today we actually ate there. Ok. Here is the story:
Baker/owner of Bubby Roses Bakery, Mark Engels, has been singing the praises of La Belle Patate for some time now – and although we did drive by a couple of times, noting that the general feeling of the neighborhood is not unlike some calmer parts of East L.A. – we swallowed our fear, renewed our life insurance and pulled into the parking lot – a parking lot that served a Thai restaurant, a beauty salon oddly called The Daisy Pot and god knows what else.
Walking through the doors we were greeted with a hearty Hello there! from the owner and staff – We ordered a smoked meat sandwich, a hot-dog and a small order of Poutine. This would turn out to be particularly bold for me… and challenging.
Their Montreal smoked sandwich is a perfect balance of meat (about 6 to 8 ounces) on two cardboard thin slices of perfect rye bread – braced on a paper plate with a pucker inducing pickle. The hot dog is steamed and served on the standard bun with cheese, onions and any assortment of common condiments. The Poutine, which arguably should be served on a skull and cross bones patterned plate, is as described above; fries, gravy, cheese curds… is so comfort food that every bite is yummy inducing. We washed it all down with a tin of Nestea Iced tea – but opted to get a bottle of Spruce Beer on the way out the door – Spruce Beer is non-alcoholic and its flavor (carbonated) defies explanation – you either love it or hate it. We love it.
Lunch for two with more protein that is socially responsible: 22 dollars.
Would we return? In a heartbeat. That is, of course… if my heart keeps beating.