This was my second trip to Port Angeles, and my second visit to the Next Door gastropub. Port Angeles is a small city and while it wouldn’t be fair to say there’s a lack of good food, Next Door’s menu sets it apart from the crowd of diners and fast food joints. Once again, Port Angeles was not my destination. This time I was headed to the coastal town of La Push for a weekend getaway. In addition to being a convenient stop for lunch there was also a national park visitor center we had to visit so my kids could get started on their Junior Ranger badges for the Olympic National Park.
Next Door is the kind of gastropub that serves burgers taller than they are wide. Everything has a sort of upscale touch, be it a local cheese, a special rub, or a creative pairing. My black and bleu burger hit the spot, and the moroccan spiced fried chick peas were ridiculously good. It’s the kind of thing I’d order every time I visit.
For an extra $3 they let me upgrade the fries that came with my burger to a side of poutine. If poutine isn’t your thing there are several other topping variants you can put on your fries. I was tempted to add beef tips or an egg to my poutine but getting enough calories was not the problem of the day.
The fries are cut in house to approximately 8mm (medium thick) with a bit of skin remaining. I found them to be either slightly under-fried or left under a heat lamp while the rest of the order was prepared. My guess is the latter. Regardless, they were a bit soft. I expect that a bit with poutine, but considering that the gravy wasn’t poured over the fries it’s not quite as excusable.
To elaborate on that, this was the first time I’ve had gravy served on the side of my poutine. At first impression I liked the idea, but I think that it actually created an issue with texture of the cheese curds. The curds were creamy and tasty at first, but without a blanket of liquid heat (gravy) it quickly cooled and epoxied around any fries within its reach. It wasn’t ideal. The gravy, or demi-glace was nice. Maybe a bit salty, but even just dipping my fries in it I found it to be not quite enough for the quantity of fries.
It’s hard to fault the presentation, and maybe had I only ordered poutine the fries would have been crispier. Or had I added an egg the dish would have seemed more complete. As they were I’d have trouble giving them more than a 6 out of 10 on my rating scale. They’re not bad, but they could have been more.
My poutine rating should NOT scare you away from this gastropub. It’s a phenomenal place to stop for lunch or dinner on your way to the peninsula (the Hoh Rain Forest was incredible), or out to Victoria. Or maybe you’re just visiting Port Angeles for the sake of visiting Port Angeles? That’s fine, too. If you do stop by, make sure you order the Moroccan Chick Peas. They’ll rock your world.
Visited on June 15, 2017