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The Dish: County Fair Poutine

Where to Get It: The Commodore Public House & Kitchen, 1100 P St. NW; (202) 234-6870; commodoredc.com

Price: $13

What It Is: Chef Travis Weiss raises the poutine bar by swapping in a savory potato funnel cake for the traditional French fry foundation. The funnel cake itself stands out because it’s flavored with Right Proper beer, dry mustard, and Tabasco sauce. Weiss also adds potato starch for crunch and buttermilk for lightness before frying it in pieces instead of in one big disk, making it easier to eat than the state fair original. It comes topped with Virginia white cheddar cheese curds, duck confit, mushroom-brandy cream sauce, and arugula.

What It Tastes Like: It’s rich, salty, and savory, but a little heavy for this time of year unless it’s paired with a cold beer on The Commodore’s patio. Diners seem to agree, because the hearty appetizer remains popular despite the heat. Weiss recommends washing it down with a 3 Stars IPA, which pairs well with salty dishes. While poutine purists may bristle at the liberties taken with this interpretation, this ain’t Quebec. I welcome the chef’s culinary touches to the humble-jumble dish and don’t miss the fries one bit. 

The Story: Weiss characterizes poutine as this year’s fried chicken sandwich—at least in D.C. Plus, he’s been toying with adding a savory funnel cake to the menu for a while. “I’d done [a savory blue cheese] funnel cake once for a tasting when I was applying for a job, and it went over really well,” he says. “I always kept it in the back of my mind to do again.” Did he get the job? “Yeah,” he says, laughing. “That’s when I applied for Mad Fox.”

Photo by Rina Rapuano