Diner food shouldn’t be fussy. Especially not cheap diner food. Lost Lake Café & Lounge is the exact combination of greasy spoon and late night hang out that I lived for as a theatre nerd in high school. We didn’t have a unique 24/7 option in my neck of the woods so we’d crowd into our local Denny’s in the middle of the night before, after, or while making trouble. Lost Lake is similar in function to Denny’s, but with a local twist.
Most of the visits I make to sample fries or beverages are well researched and often coordinated with the management to ensure a representative experience. This was not that kind of trip. I had an appointment up on Capitol Hill in Seattle, was hungry, took a short walk through the neighborhood while glancing at menus in windows. Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge had poutine on the menu so I decided to roll the dice.
From the description on the menu it’s obvious that they’re serving a traditional poutine. Brown gravy, cheese curds, and fries. Fin. The rest of the menu featured burgers, breakfasts, and other short-order specialties. For $10.50 I thought I was going to be either surprised with an exceptionally crafted plate of fries or ripped off with a generic attempt at Canadian comfort food. Turns out it was a bit more of column B than A.
Here’s the deal, even if this was horrible, it wasn’t a reasonable quantity of food for $10.50. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t good enough to justify those prices. In comparison, I got a better poutine at Costco in Vancouver for under $4. These were generic bagged french fries, a generic beef gravy (possibly powdered), and cheese curds. I think. They say that they’re cheese curds but when they arrived they were completely melted into a homogeneous lump.
Am I done complaining? Almost. I was only upset because I was being charged a gourmet price for an average (or less) plate. Much like pizza, even bad poutine is still pretty good. I found the dish to be salty, gooey, and comforting. The fries were soggy, bland, and under-seasoned. I ate them all.
Ultimately, food is worth what you’re willing to pay for it. I was willing to pay $10.50 for these fries, but I wouldn’t do it again. I wouldn’t recommend that you do it, either, but it’s your money. During happy hour they’re cheaper. Your call. The Cafe had a cool diner vibe that I found very welcoming and a wait staff with the right amount of indifference for a greasy spoon. Service is not fast, the menu is not trendy, but if you’re hungry for a burger, eggs benedict, or chicken fried steak at 3:30am you could certainly do worse.
I came for the poutine and left disappointed. You might come for the $2.99 burger and fries and leave elated. I give the poutine a 6.2 out of 10. If you’re curious what that means to me, please check out my rating scale here.
Visited on 1/13/2017