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Jun 29, 2008 12:58 AM


There hasn't been anything new on this subject which is near and dear to my tum-tum.

From the Chowhound I discovered "Oinkster" in Glendale. The food was generally pretty good, but the french fries were simply outstanding.

My other favorite are the fries at Hal's in Venice.

I think Hal got it from the West Beach Cafe - both WBC and Rebecca's had the best french fries, now gone. Bruce Marder (West Beach) owns part of the Broadway Deli - which are good, but not very good, and not great.

Any other recommends?

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  1. OK, I know it's a burger stand and not the revered original location. But I recently stopped into the Tommy's in Santa Monica, on the west side of Lincoln at Pico, for a quick lunch. Ordered my fries well done and they came crisp and extremely hot, a very generous order, and not burnt or brown. My chili-cheeseburger was good -- the double I ordered on my return trip was a better proportion of meat to chili and fixin's -- but the well done fries were the clear highlight. Thicker than most, obviously from frozen, not too much salt, and not crinkle cut. Best I've tasted recently, expecially for less than two bucks.

    Now, I do admit I dearly miss Benita's Frites, which served them properly double-fried. Those were amazing. But if they couldn't make the business model work with all of the foot traffic on the Promenade and even on City Walk, I just don't see that level of care and excellence surviving at a reasonable price point.

    7 Replies
    1. re: nosh

      I think the Benita's Frites concept is worth another shot, but in another location. As much foot traffic that the 3rd Street Promenade gets, I don't think the profile of the average pedestrian hoofing it through there fits the profile of one who could truly appreciate a fantastic frite. I'll be the first to admit that when they first opened, I was totally ignorant to the wonders of what their concept was. I remember walking up the first and last time, and taking a long look. "Hmmm... french fries - that's all they have is french fries, and darned expensive ones too. What the heck am I going to have my fries with? Geez - I don't get it. Pass..." I think this was the general concensus over the years as Benita's faded into one of many failed storefronts along this walk.

      I think times have changed. The appreciation for good food - I mean food prepared with much greater focus - is being embraced by so many more people now. This I feel is due to two major forces. One is the somewhat recent increasingly progressive societal views in urban and suburban SoCal and many other places in our country. Part of this is accepting if not embracing contributions from other cultures. Another part of this is the ever-changing immigration patterns over the past decades that have created huge shifts in how and what we as eaters define as food.

      The other major force is the fluidity of information dispersal. TV shows, newspaper sections, and particularly internet activity such as this site that have a razor sharp focus on food create a synergism for what I call food envy.

      In my opinion, In N' Out probably has the worst fries that receive the most accolades by its cultists. Okay, I know like everything else about food, one can argue that what one looks for in a perfect fry is purely subjective, and if one feels a limp anemic fry is worthy of placing it on an alter worshiping the the great Kahuna of burger chains just because it is born from a freshly cut potato that is oozing of starch literally minutes before it is immersed in boiling bubbling fat, then so be it. Like the framers of our Constitution most likely intended that this vital transcript be a living document, maybe the original creator of the fry intended this sorely misunderstood delectable to morph into whatever we the people preferred it to be, whether by definition, intention, or result. But my definition of a perfect fry is probably the polar opposite of what the In N' Out camp hale as being the epitome of a proper fry. Like you, I prefer a fry to be like James Gandolfini. Imperfect in shape and character and fresh off the streets. A crisp exterior with hard salty edges but with a soft fluffy heart. It has to be so good that it takes no prisoners - none. Otherwise, in my mind, fuggitaboudit...

      1. re: bulavinaka

        Wow. That last paragraph is just fantastic. Hey, if you ever do find French fry nirvana in SoCal, please let us know. I suspect we like the same fries.

        You really did miss out with Benita's; the only thing that would have made them better would have been frying in an animal fat.

        1. re: bulavinaka

          Actually, if In 'n Out is frying freshly cut potatoes, you may have put your finger on the problem. As nosh notes, double frying is an important step in making good french fries.

          1. re: a_and_w

            Another problem is the fact that they are freshly cut and I don't think they're rinsing the exposed starch off, which would then require at least one additional step which is drying them off. The starch sucks up the oil and leaves the soggy mess that their fries are. There's at least two more major (time-consuming) steps as well. One is freezing, and the next is refrying the frozen fries at a higher temp. The freezing prepares the fry for the final frying - this protects the interior of the fry from cooking any further, leaving it to remain soft and fluffy. So in theory, their fries are really only a quarter of the way done - basically it's blanched sliced potatoes. I enjoy their burgers but their fries? I'll sub the calorie count with a shake.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              All these negative comments re: In 'n Out's fries are well taken and should convince me to stop eating them. However, there is something about the flavor of those fries that knocks me out. I'm the first to admit that they're a textural nightmare. But, I still find myself picking up 12 at a time and scarfing them down. They just have an amazing flavor to me. Go figure.

              1. re: SaltCod

                With a handle like SaltCod, no wonder you might like salty fries!!!

                1. re: SaltCod

                  If I eat at In'n'Out, which is quite rarely, I always ask for my french fries to be "well done". They keep in the fryer longer and they come out crispy and golden.

        2. taste on melrose had some of the best fries i've ever had

          1 Reply
          1. I have a soft spot for Carney's fries. But I haven't tried Oinkster or Hal's.

            1. I agree with you about Hal's. Also, try 26 Beach. They fry them in rice oil (or at least they did). I also like the fries at Canter's (ask for them well done), the Blue Plate, Father's Office (no ketchup available, which is ok with me, but not most folks), Literati 2 (they fry in peanut oil), the Grill (steak fries or shoe strings), a little cafe in the Palisades where Terri's used to be (but can't remember the name of it) and they have both regular and sweet potato fries, 17th Street Cafe on Montana for both regular and sweet potato fries . . . .

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bite Me

                I forgot about Canter's. A pastrami on rye and steak fries from Canter's is nirvana.

              2. I could almost swear that the fries at Brass Cap in Pacific Palisades are double fried--even if they are not, they are soo delicous, I am not sure what they do to them, but they are perfectly golden and crisp. oh yum... I could blame a few ounces of extra fat on my body to them... so worth it!

                1 Reply
                1. re: kathryn7673

                  The secret to BrassCap's fries is that they are fried in lard. That's what makes them so delicious