“The casse-croûte as we know it is embedded in [Montreal’s] culture,” says Michele Forgione, owner of Montreal’s Chez Tousignant — a classic casse-croûte, or snack bar, in the city’s Little Italy. “Every little town or little village has their casse-croûte; [they have] sandwiches, hot dogs, and poutine.”
At Forgione’s version we’re finding all of those classics, but he’s mixing a high attention to quality with childhood nostalgia. It’s worth taking a minute to talk about the poutine here, that classic Montreal dish that consists of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. It would be more accurately described as a civic institution than mere food; and the version at Chez Tousignant is some of the finest I’ve had — perfectly soggy fries with salty, meaty gravy, and loaded with cheese curds that give a satisfying squeak between the molars. Don’t neglect the burgers either, particularly the Big Mike: a satisfying tower of meat, cheese, pickles and sauce.