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Canada's national dish

Old-school poutine is the only poutine Add to ...

Globe readers voted poutine their favourite national dish. What we want to know is, which poutine? The haute-cuisinization of this one-time working-class dish has turned it into a pricey treat. Poutine de foie gras, my arse.

True Montrealers know that old-school poutine is the only way to go, preferably devoured after a night of clubbing, your mind hollowed out, ears still throbbing with techno echoes - time to replace that fading chemical high with a greasy one.

I go to the Rapido because it's on my way home from the clubs, an essential element for any diehard poutine fan. The St-Denis-Mont-Royal location is primo. It's open all night long (poutine at 1 in the afternoon just doesn't taste the same), full of exhausted partiers, and its méga-poutine is classic: crispy-outside, mushy-inside fries wallowing in a stew of veal gravy and cheese curds so fresh they moo.

The decor has recently been updated, the greasy-spoon look replaced by a kind of generic sleekness, which initially depressed me. The waitresses remain cranky and aloof (a time-honoured Montreal serving style), but on a recent late-night visit, I must have been looking particularly bedraggled as one actually sang me a Russian lullaby. With that and the warm, heavy weight of poutine in my stomach, I rolled home for a good day's sleep.

Restaurant Rapido du Plateau, 4494 rue Saint-Denis; (514) 284-2188; Métro stop: Mont-Royal.

Author Will Aitken has tried poutine in its various guises all over the continent.

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