I used to be a picky eater. My preferences were a little unusual, though. I survived most of my adolescence on microwave chimichangas, top ramen, hot sauce, pepperoni, and pastrami sandwiches. I liked bold flavors, but heaven forbid you put a mushroom on my dinner plate.


When I stopped by Quality Athletics the other day to try their Al Pastor Fries, Chef Daniel Cox let me know he was offering a special for the next week using some house cured/smoked pastrami. This hit home for me, and I knew that I had to try it. Ordinarily I don’t sit down and eat two massive plates of loaded fries for lunch, but sometimes I have to sacrifice for the benefit of my readers. This plate of Pastrami Poutine was well worth the sacrifice.


Like I said, Quality Athletics cured and smoked the brisket for their pastrami. They then cubed it and caramelized it with the sauerkraut and onion. This is comfort food at its best. It’s heavy, but the tang from the sauerkraut keeps your palate fresh and ready for more. These toppings came off as a much more natural french fry topping than a lot of loaded fries I’ve had, and they reminded me quite a bit of well-made pierogies. The crispy pastrami and sour accompaniments made an excellent pairing for the deep and rich Gruyere gravy. The Russian dressing gave it a bit of color as well as another pop of briny decadence. Chef Cox has great presentation instincts.


While I ate both the Pastrami Poutine and the Al Pastor Fries during the same sitting, they couldn’t have been any different. However, I’m giving the Pastrami Poutine the same 9 out of 10 on my rating scale that I gave the Al Pastor. It was extremely satisfying, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this combination makes its way back onto the menu in the fall when Seattle starts craving hearty comfort food.


As a side note, I’ve been asking different restaurants to make a version of loaded fries inspired by a Reuben sandwich for years. This is proof to me that it’s a good concept.

Sampled June 29, 2018