Everyone like French fries, but what about poutine? Unless you live in Canada, this fry extravaganza is incredibly underrated. In fact, plenty of Americans have never even heard of it! Poutine, Wikipedia explains, is "a Canadian dish, originating in the province of Quebec, made with French fries & cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy." I don't even like gravy, you guys, but my God, do I love poutine.
Enter Banter, a semi-recent addition to Cleveland's Gordon Square neighborhood, to cater to all my poutine needs. Er, "needs."
Banter is equal parts bar, restaurant, & beer/wine shop, decorated in a stark, white, minimalist style
with a few high-top tables. They serve a handful of craft beers of draft, or you can purchase bottles from their booze shop. And their food specials? Poutine & sausage. Separately or together. Any way you like 'em. Seriously.
I've tried a few things so far, including the basic poutine, the fried malt liquor cheese curds, & the Banter Salad, made with shaved Brussels sprouts, Ohio apples, & a cider vinaigrette. Who gets salad at a restaurant that specializes in poutine & sausage? I know, I know. But even that was A+-level delicious. And I bet the poutine, even the basic version, gives Canada a run for its money.
Want to get more creative than I did? Banter also offers options topped with foie gras, rabbit stew, Chicken Paprikash, & pastrami. They even have a version called the Vladimir Poutin, which boasts lamb stroganov & borscht gravy.
Mike is enamored of their breakfast sandwich: Ohio maple & sorghum bratwurst in a French toast bun, topped with blueberry mustard, bourbon bacon, shaved maple, & a fried egg. I don't like bratwurst, mustard, or eggs, & even I practically died & went to heaven when I tried it. A French toast bun, did you hear me? Their other sausages include basics like pork & kielbasa, but they also step it up with duck sausage, fried chicken sausage, merguez, & even a vegan black bean sausage.
I'm not a big sausage person (TWSS?), but the last time we went was during the height of RNC hype, so I decided on a special called the Hillarywurst: a house-made hot dog topped with razorback pulled pork, "Benghazi BBQ sauce," and apple slaw. The reasoning behind the sauce is obvious, but the first & last ingredients are clever hat-tips to Hillary's stomping grounds of Arkansas & New York. Get it?
If you're a Trump person,
Banter isn't paying me to write this blog post. The folks at Banter don't know who I am. But I'll be damned if I wasn't going to tell you about one of the coolest restaurants in town. Poutine & sausage, OK? That's all you really need to know. Go to Banter. You're welcome.