Forget T.G.I.Friday's®: Nova's Smoked Salmon Potato Skins Rule

Potato skins really got a bad wrap. While the history of this iconic bar food is as debatable as the Genesis of buffalo chicken wings or the origins of the Reuben sandwich, it's impossible to deny the popularity of T.G.I.Friday's spin on the dish. It's a shame because their potato skins are terrible compared to specimens served in the Prime Rib, a popular steak house chain in Washington D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia, which also claims to be the creator of the ubiquitous bar snack.

At the Prime Rib potato halves are scooped impossibly thin, so the thinnest veneer of potato flesh remains, and then the shells are deep fried till they're crisp. From there, they're assaulted with cheese like everywhere else.

Here in Dallas, Nova's potato skins don't claim to be first anything, but do claim (and rightfully) to be good.

Smoked salmon as a topping might be innovation enough -- the lightly smoked fish plays nicely with its distant cousin, bacon -- but creme friache, lightly spiked with horse radish carries the theme of subtle refinement further, pushing this dish deeply into must-eat territory.

Nova has a fine cocktail selection and you should trust your bartender's skills but not with this dish. Potato skins, no matter how refined are a common man's bar food and no beverage paring will every trump a cold crisp beer.

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