Full disclosure: This was my first visit to Swiss Chalet. Not just the Fredericton location, but ever. It’s nowhere near my house, and my parents are a little bit insane about dining out, so I never got to go when I was growing up. Case in point: I was 18 before I visited a burger place that wasn’t McDonald’s, and my mother insists to this day that KFC’s chicken is too spicy. You can’t make that up.
The Contender: Swiss Chalet, 961 Prospect St., Fredericton, New Brunswick
When were you there? November 19th, 8:00pm
How much? I don’t know! Keep reading for the explanation.
The Experience: So, it turns out 8:00pm on a Thursday is not an optimal time to go to Swiss Chalet. When we arrived there was a server sitting at a table near the door rolling cutlery into napkins, a sure sign it’s closing time. The posted hours say they’re open until 10:00, so whatever.
We were seated at a booth next to what turned out to be a very drafty window, and were subjected to way-louder-than-necessary holiday-themed pop music. (“Is this Justin Timberlake?” “I dunno, I think N*sync had at least one Christmas album, so maybe it’s that.”) Ugh all around. The whole place is basically a slightly classed-up fast food restaurant, but I guess that’s what Swiss Chalet is all about.
I was disappointed to note poutine isn’t listed anywhere on the menu, not as a stand-alone dish, nor as a side. I’d heard Swiss Chalet served it, but saw no direct evidence to support this. I ordered the much-hyped Festive Special, and enquired whether poutine on the side was an option, and the waitress confirmed it was. Okay, we’re in business!
The poutine ended up being the best part of my meal. The fries were fresh-cut style, but definitely weren’t fresh out of the fryer. The gravy was warm-ish and not over-salted like what you seem to get at many restaurants. The cheese curds weren’t fresh at all. They were ice cold and had a slightly sharp taste to them similar to medium cheddar, which says to me they’d been sitting around for quite some time. Suggestion: maybe if poutine was listed on the menu, they’d sell more of it and wouldn’t wind up serving old cheese.
The Verdict: This definitely isn’t the worst poutine I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t great either. Deluxe is right across the street, I suggest going there for your uptown Fredericton poutine needs instead.