7.26.2005

The Anatomy of a Fry

A recent DCist post reporting on John Roberts' ruling in the case of Metro's juvenile delinquent fry eater had me thinking not about Roberts' fitness to serve on the Supreme Court but about french fries (it was getting close to lunch). French fries have proved their polarizing capabilities, witness the patriotism-gone-bad "freedom" fry fiasco and the case mentioned on DCist.

But politics aside, I'm more interested in the sides people take when it comes to the anatomy of a fry. Some people like their fries thick and meaty, with potato clearly dominating each bite (aka steak fries). I'm in the thin, crispy, fry-the-hell-out-of-em camp. Some douse them in tangy vinegar, some smother them in mayonnaise or classic ketchup. A little sprinkling of Old Bay never hurt a fry in my opinion.

There are a lot of sub-par french fries out there, so I humbly offer a few of my favorites here, in no particular order.

Amsterdam Falafel Shop: This friendly, late-night falafel joint opened last year, offering a beautifully simple menu of falafel and fries. The falafel's great but what had me oohing and ahhing were the piping hot fries, salty and crunchy and firm enough to stand up to the special Dutch mayonnaise offered for dipping. The secret to these (and most great fries) is the double dunk in the fry basket, rendering them golden and crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

Truffled fries: In a category all their own, truffled fries have stolen my heart with their earthy pungency and sensual smell. Both Poste Brasserie and Firefly offer cones of these gems, which are drizzled with truffle oil and sprinkled with parmesan. They don't even need any dipping.

I would mention Café Saint-Ex in this list for their browned, seasoned Brittany fries with housemade ketchup, but I fear the fries have been replaced by sweet potato fries, which last time I had them were too limp to achieve greatness.

I would also give a shout out to the fries at Belga Café, again thin, double fried and with that delicious mayo thing going on, but it's been more than seven months since I've been.

Where are your favorite fries? Are you in the steak or shoestring camp?

9 comments:

catherine said...

i was just at saint-ex for lunch, and the sweet potato fries are a side, but you still get regular fries with the burger. and they're yummy as ever.

Oliver said...

What's with all the hate for sweet potato fries? I understand the conservative need for classic boardwalk-style fries, but what's wrong with mixing it up now and then?

My favorite fries of recent memory come from the 45-year old stainless steel Summit Diner, just off the Somerset exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Thin and buttery, they melt in your mouth as you alternate between bites of BLT and sips of strawberry milkshake. mmmm.....bring on the yams...

The Ghost of Gordon Sumner said...

Fries are so 20th century. Tater tots are the new french fries.

Amanda said...

Ah, I presume you've been to Bar Pilar?

The Ghost of Gordon Sumner said...

Tonic (although the guy from Bar Pilar says he gave them the idea). Any place that puts mashed potatoes on a burger (or veggie burger) has the right idea in my book.

Anonymous said...

although i love st. ex's brittany fries and tator tots from tonic and bar pillar, i really miss the homemade ketchop which left the restaurant menu with the old chef.

Amanda said...

I'm glad to hear the brittany fries are still at st-ex but I agree with you about the ketchup.

Anonymous said...

Bistrot du Coin has admirable fries -- tender and salty, but crisp enough to stand up to being dunked into the restaurant's cauldrons of mussels.

Amanda said...

I just had Bistro du Coin's fries with the duck two nights ago, and they were the perfect vehicle for soaking up all the sauce...need to go back soon for some mussels now that you put the idea in my head.