Lou Fast Food
Address: 30 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa
Hours: 11am – 4pm (Mon – Sat); closed Sunday (hours may vary during/after pandemic)
Website: Social media only – their Instagram is your best bet
Green factor: Styrofoam for burger and poutine, plastic utensils, paper for fries and sausage
Sometimes reviews get lost in the digital ether and/or to the wondrous mix of procrastination and anxiety. Who knows what caused the review I wrote for Lou Fast Food in 2018 to sit on the shelf since then, but I recently went back and had another go at both their food and this review.
Since my last time there, Lou Fast Food has expanded to two trucks in the downtown core and given each a fancy new wrap. They’ve also leaned into a few specialty poutines that make them stand out a bit from the rest of the chip wagon crowd.
On my first return visit, I went with a slightly altered version of my usual chip wagon measuring stick – a small fries and a cheeseburger. Lou Fast Food has the option to add bacon for $1.25, so I jumped on that.
Once I had my food in hand, I went down to the amphitheatre by the World Exchange Centre to eat al fresco and fight off aggressive pigeons.
The fries were spot on – golden-brown, with crispy exteriors and a fluffy, potato-y interior. The thickness of the fries was on the moderate side – not shoestring, but not quite thick-cut either. At $4 for the small, it was a standard amount of fries for a chip wagon and was one of the few items that hasn’t increased in cost since 2018.
Unfortunately, the burger hasn’t improved since my last time here. It’s still a from-frozen patty that’s dense and spongy, and while it may not be the worst frozen burger out there, it’s not the best either. Good burger fundamentals helped the situation though, with gooey, melted cheese and a toasted bun. The thick cut bacon was impressively good, but not enough to save the burger as a whole.
Visita numero dos
Normally I don’t bother with a second visit to chip wagons before doing a review, because after trying a burger and poutine, there’s rarely anything else on the menu that can set one truck apart from another. Maybe they use slightly better or worse hotdogs than others, but that’s grasping at straws, especially in a town that doesn’t have a hotdog culture.
However, Lou Fast Food’s specialty poutines piqued my curiosity enough that I sought them out when they returned from a holiday/lockdown #973 hiatus in mid-January. With indoor dining at restaurants still closed, my wife and I made a lunch date out of it one day when she needed to go downtown for work.
I opted for the popcorn chicken poutine ($15) and tacked on a bratwurst sausage ($5) since there were two of us, and I’d be sharing both the calories and the guilt from the poutine.
The bratwurst was finished on a grill and got a nice little of char for added flavour. I had it topped with mustard, relish, and onions, and they generally took over a lot of the flavour profile of this standard, inoffensive tube meat.
The popcorn chicken poutine was an impressive sight: topped with a generous portion of crisp balls of chicken and St. Albert’s cheese curds, all doused in gravy. The gravy was somewhere in the middle of the gravy-colour-spectrum, with a nice rich flavour, without being too salty. Both the gravy and the cheese curds were evenly distributed, and no fry went ungravied. This decadent delight disappeared quickly in the cold January air!
It’s been nice to see Lou Fast Food putting money back into their business, expanding to two trucks, and trying to set themselves apart from the competition. If you’re in the mood for some form of deep-fried potatoes, you’d be doing yourself a favour by stopping by.