A & W has been slowly revamping their menu at certain locations with slightly more “upscale” fast food offerings like yam fries and veggie burgers as well as adding actual dishware for dine-in to compliment their traditional frosted glass mugs. Their latest additions are various grilled cheese sandwiches and poutines which I set out to inspect. When I eat fast food burgers I go out of my way to pick A&W due to their beef now being hormone, antibiotic, and even preservative free, plus the fact you can choose a whole wheat bun at no cost (hopefully they take the health consciousness a step further and cut down on the ridiculous amounts of sodium they use). I picked the New Westminster Skytrain location, somewhere I eat fairly regularly and normally I find their staff quite friendly and have never had issues. Today was a different story with some horrendous service but I won’t get into it and will give them benefit of the doubt, assuming it was a new staff member. The place is clean and never so busy that you have much of a wait for your order, and the addition of an optional self serve kiosk for ordering and payment makes things even faster.
For the grilled cheese sandwich ($4.25) you first choose your bread from white or whole wheat, then two types of cheeses (they have mozarella, Balderson cheddar, and processed Armstrong jalapeno cheddar), an optional (free) slice of tomato, and whether you would like bacon for an additional 75 cents. Each sandwich comes with a pickle spear as well. I had cheddar and jalapeno havarti on whole wheat with a slice of tomato. With the cheese being of the single thins variety two types are just the right amount, and the jalapeno really had a nice bite to it. The tomato was a large slice and very fresh, and I found the bread had just enough butter on the outside so it wasn’t too greasy. Really enjoyable and I think the price point is pretty fair.
They have a few new types of meal-size poutines now to compliment their classic one. One was a cheddar bacon, one was a “works” poutine that seemed to be along the lines of a stuffed baked potato with its choice of toppings, and then this monstrosity. The Korean BBQ Poutine ($7.95). Traditional A & W french fries with cheese curds, breaded chicken slices, and iceberg lettuce, all smothered with Korean style BBQ sauce. The idea sounded fairly unappetizing but I gave it a go for fun, and I have to say I can’t see anybody ordering this more than once after the initial “fun” factor has worn off. To be fair the outside areas with minimal sauce weren’t too bad, but once I got to the middle and bottom parts the sauce was just way too overpowering. It’s thick and molasses-ey, both sweet and spicy. Not bad as far as BBQ sauces go, but as a gravy substitute it just doesn’t work.