A Canadian dish that includes everyone’s favorite — French fries — defines the cuisine at a new restaurant in Clovis.
The eatery is FRI Poutinerie, and it’s near Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 at Sierra Vista Mall.
Poutinerie is a French word for a place that sells poutines, which brings us back to the fries. Poutines are made with French fries and Wisconsin cheese curds, topped with a light brown sauce.
FRI stands for “For Real Indulgence.”
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Bryant Vick of Fresno said he likes to indulge because a poutine reminds him of chili cheese fries.
The restaurant opened on July 4, and many curious customers have come through the front door.
“I have to explain what a poutine is,” said manager Gus Cervantes. “I let them try it, and they’re hooked. They love the Smoked Meat Poutine.”
It is one of 12 specialty poutines. They all begin with the fries, cheese and sauce and then other ingredients — many of them meats — are added.
The Smoked Meat Poutine features Montreal Smoked Meat, a proprietary creation of the restaurant. “Customers say the meat is like pastrami or corned beef,” Cervantes said. “But it’s its own thing.”
The Montreal Smoked Meat is cured for two weeks and then smoked for a week.
Some of the other specialty poutines are:
▪ The Burg, featuring FRI’s seasoned beef, raw onions, diced tomatoes and pickles.
▪ The Taco Grande, which has seasoned beef, cabbage, onions, cilantro and salsa.
▪ The Supreme — a customer favorite along with the Smoked Meat Poutine. It features smoked bacon crumbles, sour cream and green onions.
▪ The Chicken Fajita, which has seasoned grilled chicken, onions, red pepper, salsa and sour cream.
▪ The Meat Lover featuring ground beef, smoky bacon, pepperoni and Italian sausage.
▪ The Pizza, which has sauteed pepperoni, mushrooms and marinara sauce.
Traditional poutines (no meats) come in three sizes: Nice ($3.99), Good ($5.99) and Bad ($7.99). The names correspond to small, medium and large.
The specialty poutines come in two sizes: Good ($7.75) and Bad ($9.99).
Raymond Prime of Fresno owns FRI Poutinerie, but he has Canadian roots — hence his interest in bringing poutines to the Clovis-Fresno area. The dish is believed to have originated in the Canadian province of Quebec in the late 1950s and is now a popular dish across Canada.
In a sign of that popularity, poutines are sold in fast food restaurants in Canada.
FRI Poutinerie also serves two sandwiches — the Smoked Meat and the Smoked Meat Reuben. Both have the Montreal Smoked Meat. They come in Good, Nice and Bad, with the Smoked Meat starting at $7.99 and the Reuben at $9.50.
Vick, the customer from Fresno, said the Reuben is “the best I’ve ever had.”
Doug Her, also of Fresno, said a generous serving of meat comes with his favorite sandwich — the Smoked Meat.
Breakfast is served all day, and the restaurant offers three poutine/egg dishes — Eggs Benedict, Canadian Benedict and Chorizo. The prices are $7.75 and $9.99, depending on size. The Canadian Benedict has Montreal Smoked Meat.
In keeping with offering something new to customers, the chefs at FRI Poutinerie wear fedoras while they work. The hats make a statement: This is an interesting place.
FRI Poutinerie is at 1200 Shaw Ave. south of Sierra Vista Cinemas 16. The phone number is (559) 575-8201. The restaurant is on Facebook. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.