Welcome back to school, everyone. As joyous as I am, and I know you are, to hit the books again, Mother Nature is regretfully still teasing us with the promise of spring. So, what better way to warm up than with a craft brew and … LOBSTER POUTINE!? Enough said; these magical words proved sufficient reasons to make the trip to Imbibe Food/Drink, conveniently nestled in Themuseum in downtown Kitchener.
From comfy couches and hipster mason jar light bulbs to the impressive collection of old beer taps over the bar, I felt trendier just by being there. The waitress, also cool, proved friendly and particularly knowledgeable of the six craft beers that Imbibe had on rotation, and I ended up ordering prosciutto flatbread and the obligatory beer, along with the lobster poutine, <em>obviously.</em>
Quick to arrive, the beer was unsurprisingly delicious (it was a Descendant’s Harbinger IPA beer — get it if you like Mill St. Organic) and we got to start on our very pretty entrees. Along with the prosciutto, house-made pesto, arugula, and goat cheese were also guest stars on the flatbread.
However, aside from the fact that the dough could have been a bit crispier, after a few bites I found the prosciutto increasingly overwhelmed by the intensity of the goat cheese and pesto. It honestly should have just been called “goat cheese flatbread,” which would have made it a lot easier on everybody’s expectations.
The addition of balsamic vinegar to the dish was a nice surprise, giving a nice tang to the saltiness of the cheese and cured meat (even if it did make it a bit oily). Unfortunately, I was left unimpressed by the accompanying limp salad, the only highlight of which were the sweet red onions.
Moving on to the good part, we find the lobster poutine. Covered in cheese, it was a delight when it first arrived. Under this oooey-gooey cheesiness were the glorious potatoes, highlighted by little nuggets of lobsters like buried treasure.
However folks, before I go any further, this is not your conventional poutine (i.e. the type you get at New York Fries or Smoke’s<em>)</em>. I myself wish I’d gotten this warning, because instead of fries we got more of a hybrid between wedges and scalloped potatoes. It certainly wasn’t a bad thing, it was just different.
Most importantly though, the lobster was a) well-cooked and b) plentiful. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being cheated out of delicious seafood. Also dear readers, I challenge you to find a decent lobster dish that’s $12 and not that horrible lobster roll from McDonald’s (if they still do that anyway).
Yet, while all the components were delicious separately, I oddly couldn’t make my mind up on the starch and seafood combination. As I ate, the potato would melt away until I was left with the chewy crustacean, making for a combination that didn’t quite gel. Aside from the cheese, some concrete sauce besides hollandaise was definitely required to pull the two dimensions together. Otherwise, the dishes were solid and great for sharing.
Upon final reflection, I definitely think that this place, like Beertown, shines when it comes to drinks, but as for food, meh. Maybe next time I’ll save my foodie excitement for someplace else.