There is nothing, and we mean nothing, like the perfect French fry.
We spent the last eight weeks tracking down our top picks. Greasy, salty, rough-cut, thin-cut, slathered in cheese and bacon.
(Please imagine us doing a juice cleanse from now until Christmas.)
You may agree with our final picks. You may not. But we guarantee there's something here for everyone.
OUR TOP PICK: 4505 BBQ
A contentious choice. Maybe the line's wrapped around the block; maybe your sausage — so f-ing delicous when it's, you know, hot — arrives at your table lukewarm, as it did on our last Saturday lunch outing. But the fries, man, the fries, served in a chimichurri sauce with a garlic aioli. You gotta eat ’em quick, before the sog factor sets in — but until then, this is the Platonic ideal of the French fry.
HOGS & ROCKS
Fact: The whole reason we reached out to Hogs & Rocks chef Pierre Tumlin for his Meal Plan is because we're obsessed with his Kennebec fries — half spicy, half egg yolk-glazed. (You can opt for one or the other — we prefer the latter.)
We've been fans of Aaron London's now Michelin-starred Valencia Street joint since it opened in 2015 — and devotees of his pickled French fries (the one that sent Bon App into paroxysms of delight) just as long.
Just a normal French fry, is how we like to think of these, though fans will note that they're double-fried in rice bran oil, delicious inside that slightly crispy exterior, and served alongside a tasty malt vinegar mayo.
They're terrific paired with the wood-grilled hamburger, but we prefer them on their own, served with whichever dipping sauce is currently on the menu — for the moment, it's a red pepper feta dip.
The luxury option. The ($14) fries are served with shaved black truffles, plus the option to dip into a soft-boiled egg dusted with caviar. Why not?
And here, the extravagant option: The gamja fries at this family-run Korean/Californian come with "kewpie, teriyaki, gochujang, kimchee relish, bulgoki beef." The fries aren't even exactly the focus — they're sort of the foundation for everything else. It's a dream; it's a meal.