Taste test: Mercadito's poutine taco

What happens when poutine meets tortillas?

Mercadito is offering poutine tacos throughout December.

Mercadito is offering poutine tacos throughout December. Credit: Paul Tanguay

Last winter’s trendy Canadian comfort food poutine is showing up again this year just as frigid temperatures begin to set in. Not familiar with the dish? The popular bar snack is composed of deep-fried potatoes, rich meaty gravy and a handful of squeaky-fresh cheese curds. Quickly becoming a new cult favorite, the dish is still popping up on menus across the city, has its very own festival (disclaimer: we’re the organizers of Poutine Fest), and is even appearing as a take-home freezer meal-in-a-bag from Trader Joe’s.

During December, Mercadito is throwing their gravy boat into the ring with a rather unusual spin on poutine for their Tacos for Strength campaign, which donates 5 percent of sales to Share our Strength, an organization focused on ending childhood hunger. This month’s unholy taco combination is the brainchild of Paul Tanguay of Tippling Bros., who has worked in many of Quebec’s best restaurants. We headed in to find out what happens when you combine the cuisines of our country’s neighbors to the North and South.

A corn tortilla is folded around a heap of braised beef and topped with bits of fried potatoes, cheese curds and serrano gravy. The ratio of traditional poutine is turned on its head, with the majority of the filling consisting of beef instead of fries. The tacos turned out to be surprisingly tasty and reproduced all the gooey flavor of poutine in an easy-to-eat taco package. We wouldn’t have minded getting our hands a little dirty in exchange for more of the serrano gravy, as the dish lacked a decent level of heat and the rich, slow-cooked wholesomeness of gravy. The poutine tacos come four to an order at dinner ($16.50) and three during lunch ($12.50). 

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)