Those three core ingredients are essential, Smolkin says. "Without them, you're definitely doing it wrong."
That said, adding to that trifecta isn't against the poutine rulebook, a move that Smoke’s is notorious for pulling. Smolkin notes that it loads the traditional poutine with "a limitless variation of toppings. We throw in everything, from chipotle pulled pork and double-smoked bacon to spicy Italian sausage and caramelized onions. We even throw on scrambled eggs, maple syrup, Tabasco sauce, and bacon."
Annie Barsalou, co-owner of La Banquise, a Montreal landmark restaurant famous for its poutines, local microbrews, and 24-hour service in the heart of the Plateau Downtown, can't stress the importance of the same three main ingredients enough.
According to Barsalou, "the three basic items are fries, cheese, and gravy. Of course, the classic would be with curd cheese, but is it the law? No way! You can do whatever you want as long as it is delicious." Poutine aficionados may disagree; many argue that the "squeaky" cheese is a necessity, but Barsalou is more lenient on the rules.