March's Can't-Miss Dish

Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now—and something to sip alongside it. 

On the plate: Simple Poutine

Where to find it: With its suspended mannequin limbs and wall-sized Ouija board, you could easily be distracted by The Gallows’ macabre decor, tongue-in-cheek though it may be. But from your perch on a comfy bar seat, you observe that the guests at this South End pub are entirely focused on the stick-to-your-ribs comfort food in front of them. The Gallows, established in 2010 by the team behind Banyan Bar + Refuge, Blackbird Doughnuts, and Sally’s Sandwiches, stands the test of time. So does a dish that has been on the menu since day one.

Notes on the nosh: Simple Poutine, a delectable commingling of French fries, gravy, and ricotta-like fresh cheese curds is the enduring item we’re talking about. “It’s a staple at The Gallows,” says executive chef Dan Doyle, describing it as a “Quebec classic.” Doyle talks up the gravy. “It’s gotta be killer,” he insists, explaining that roasting chicken bones is the key to making homemade stock, an essential component. To prepare the gorgeous fries, he takes Idaho potatoes, cuts them into skin-on bâtonnets, soaks them overnight in water with a splash of vinegar, then fries them a first time. A second fry, right before serving, turns the potatoes extra crispy, sturdy enough to handle hot gravy and a shower of cool cheese curds. The chef is also known for his Out of Control Poutine. One week, he might top fries with shaved steak and Béarnaise sauce; the next, pulled pork in chili verde. “I try to be more outrageous than the last time,” says Doyle.

Sip alongside: Cozy up to a glass of red ($12 by the glass, $48 a bottle) called “Sidekick,” crafted by Iconic Wine. The 2017 pour is made from cabernet sauvignon grapes grown in California’s Central Valley. The bottle’s label sports a pony-tailed superheroine, arms akimbo, complete with mask and cape. This red is appealingly bright and juicy, full of blackberry flavors and a warm spice note from partial aging in French oak. Is it possible for poutine to have a crime-fighting partner? You bet. This wine is it.

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