It doesn’t matter who’s president, if aliens zap the planet into coffee grounds or a massive earthquake ruptures us like a molding melon, french fries will live forever. We will all die, and French fries will live on.
Fries are ubiquitous, but their execution varies around the Dallas area. They come in wildly different formats and file sizes and types, little potato columns or tiny waffles or “thrice fried” or in pentagon-like slices.
Some of Dallas' best fries aren’t a side dish, but a meal. It's easy to devour these fries without a burger because they’re good enough to hold their own. Then again, the term "loaded fries" doesn't necessarily mean great fries. Dallas’ best fried potatoes aren’t the best because they’re piled high with glorious cheese and green onions and sour cream. They are the best because the fries themselves are delicious, hot, crispy, salty and boldly potato-y. And some of the best french fries in Dallas are fried in liquid gold.
Short Rib Frites
Ten Bells Tavern, 232 W 7th St.
Ten Bells' short rib frites are a comfort Holy Grail. The fries are sprawled in a small cast iron dish, topped with shredded short rib and a curtainy, velvety Mornay (think a rich bechamel cheese) sauce drizzled with a warm, peppered gravy. On a good day, the short rib has blistered-to-crunch edges. Green onions, showered over the white cheese sauce, provide fantastic color and a rooty, herbaceous bite. Use the fries as edible spoons, scooping cheese and gravy as you go. Paired with a sour beer or cider, it’s the dining equivalent of easing into a hot tub.
Ssahm BBQ, locations vary
Odd things occur when you’re eating the kimchi fries at Ssahm BBQ. One forkful causes zips and zaps around you, like you’re a sock pulled from the dryer. Ssahm par-cooks the fries before frying, which helps them stay incredibly crispy under a layer of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, diced onion and caramelized kimchi. It’s all run through with a spicy mayo and cilantro for that herbaceous kick.
Luscher’s Red Hots, 2653 Commerce St.
Every Tuesday, Luscher’s Red Hots eases fries into a hot pool of liquid gold. By gold, we mean Local Yocal beef tallow, which is bubbling hot beef fat. The fries are blanched in oil, cooled, then fried in the fresh Local Yocal beef fat. It’s done to order, which makes for a side that could be the main attraction. If you’re in the mood, get the bacon fries, which get a drizzle of cheese sauce and crunchy bacon bits and green onions.
House Kennebec Fries
Front Room Tavern, 6101 Hillcrest Ave.
The Kennebec potato fries sing at the Hotel Lumen. The kitchen draws the starch out under cold water, blanches them, then fries the potatoes in oil to “golden brown delicious." After their oil bath, Kennebecs are tossed with salt, topped with chives and served with garlic aioli. And they are GBD as hell.
The Blind Butcher, 1919 Greenville Ave.
Fries are handled with grace and duck fat at Blind Butcher. The poutine is something primordial and beautiful. Soft, velvety gravy and cheese curds adorn the crown of crispy fries. The first people on Earth, the ones who paved the way for us, should try this poutine so that we may illustrate to them how modern people have progressed. It’s smoky and rich, without foodie-chef-driven pretension. The duck egg takes it into space.
C. Señor, 330 W Davis St.
If only your feet could be in the sand while eating the yucca fries at C. Señor food stand in Oak Cliff. They’re salty, buttery and tangy from a hit with chile-lime salt that crackles. Who knew a little paper sack could be filled with such crispy on the outside, creamy-soft on the inside not-potato fries? Dipping them into C. Señor's sweet mango ketchup is like taking a bite out of a bolt of Caribbean sunlight.
Smoke, 901 Fort Worth Ave. and 2408 Preston Road, Plano
Saddled with enough meat at Smoke, a spicy, smoky potato is just what the bad doctor ordered. With their burger, which is topped with a bacon slab and an egg fritter, fries are like exclamation points. It’s fun to eat fries at Smoke. They’re curtained in a barbecue pork spice that includes curry powder, dark chili pepper, smoked paprika, brown sugar, cumin and cayenne. Slap the condiments out of your hand. That said, dipping their barbecue fries in Smoke’s myriad delicious sauces is Christmas in July.
Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen, 216 W. Virginia St., McKinney
Some of the best things about a good pile of fries are those crispy slivers that come with it. In this particular fry pile, the crispy shards were a brilliant compliment to these mini skyscraper-shaped Idaho spuds. These are fries that salute their source — a crust on the outside and soft, almost mashed potato texture inside. Just the right amount of salt. A swipe in some ketchup and you’ll want to Instagram the hell out of these fries.
Uncle Uber’s, 2713 Commerce St.
Any list of guilty pleasures in Dallas needs to include the fries and heavily salted ranch at Uncle Uber’s. Uber’s is generous, too: They come in a double fist-sized pile, and they’re consistently crunchy all the way through. Don’t extra salt these or your feet will go numb. Oh, and get extra ranch.
Rosemary and Garlic Fries
20 Feet Seafood Joint, 1160 Peavy Road
It’s hard to believe, even with a basket in front of you, that the fries at 20 Feet aren’t fresh-cut. As we previously noted, chef Marc Cassel flashes them with herbs, which become crunchy and aromatic, and serves them with soft, roasted garlic and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Use the fries as mini buns around that creamy roasted garlic and you’ll refuse to believe anything’s touched a freezer.
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Snuffer’s, 3526 Greenville Ave.
How dare a best fries list not contain the cheddar fries at Snuffer’s? They've grown into the fabric of Dallas itself. Cheddar, somehow molten and stretchy and blistered-crisp all at the same time, blankets a dish of tender french fries. It's like a carb pie. Nodes of green onion, bright and crisp, are loaded up with enough bacon and addictive ranch sauce to cause doctors around the world to simultaneously drop their coffee cups whenever you take a bite, as if there was a disturbance in the force. There is — you’re eating cheddar fries at Snuffer’s.
Maple & Motor, 4810 Maple Ave.
One of the best trays of hot, straight-forward French fries in Dallas is at Maple & Motor. Some may say Off-Site Kitchen, but give me these smoking-hot, crunchy fries with sprinkles of black pepper at M&M any day, anytime. Maybe it's that magic oil. Make sure to dine in at M&M to ensure you get them as hot as they should be. Pair these fries with the griddled crust of Maple & Motor’s burger or the superb BLT and you've got yourself a deeply satisfying food experience that’s better than any fast food joint could imagine.