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Jul 15, 2008 10:41 AM

Best French Fries in Austin

Strictly hand-cut please.

I was stunned on a recent visit to Parkside when the Fries that come with the Bar Steak came out of a bag.It's not hard to make Fries from scratch.Hell,Casino el Camino right down the street makes the effort.Perhaps the chef at Parkside should hit em up for some tips on cooking.

A recent visit to Railroad Barbecue in nearby Manchaca found me mowing down on dropdead delicious house cut potatoes.

I know Hyde Park's fries have their defenders but they're just not that good.

Which leads me to ask:What is your favorite source for French Fries in Austin?Even better if they have a sauce that complements the potatoes.Ketchup is disgusting so no accolades from the red corn syrup crew please.

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  1. Ate at Parkside for the first time Sunday and the fries we had came in a mini skillet and were among the best fries I've had in Austin. Nice seasoning, fluffy inside and completely crispy outside, and they stayed hot. Maybe we got lucky or maybe someone played a cruel trick on you. The donut holes ordered for dessert came in a little brown bag.

    My other nomination for a more affordable choice is Crown & Anchor. Hand cut, some of the skin is on but never too much of the taste. What I think makes them standout is that they almost always get the salt right. The taste of the potato and salt are integrated vs tasting like a fried potato with salt on the surface (if that makes any sense). And an added plus is plenty of great beer choices

    2 Replies
    1. re: rollledspleen

      Nordstrom's believe it or not. Thin cut fries sprinkled with a mixture of fine herbs. We love 'em.

      1. re: rollledspleen

        I replaced a very obscure item in Parkside last night just before a party of 130 was due to show up (not having this thing fixed would have been embarrassing for the patrons and restaurant). Based on this review I was just going to ask for an order of fries but the kitchens were in full swing trying to get ready and I didn't want to impose. So chef/owner Shawn gave me a future dinner for two with instructions to let him know when I'll be showing up. I'll definitely try the fries, and more :-)

        He was cooking several batches of awesome looking potato chips when I first arrived. These looked pretty darn good - nice even Maillard effect without being overcooked.. So yeah - I'd be really surprised if Parkside sold bagged food-service fries from Sysco.

      2. For my money, the best fries in Austin... and I know you're not gonna like the answer.... come from Chick-Fil-A.

        It sounds a wee bit snobby to say "hand-cut only"... if better fries can come from a bag (and not saying they all do, because for sure, most pre-made fries are indeed crap, but it is certainly POSSIBLE that they can be good)... then why not eat 'em?

        So, fine, Chick-Fil-A doesn't make in-store fries... but they did invent the waffle fry, and you know what? They're pretty good.

        7 Replies
        1. re: EricDC

          concerning the invention of waffle fries by Chick Fil A[arrrgggghh that those words ever left this pen].

          Waffle fries have been commonly found since 1935,well before the invention of the aforementioned chain.

          They've been extensively litigated as well.To wit:

          The district court's rulings of both obviousness and inequitable conduct depend on the court's application of the law of derivation, 35 U.S.C. § 102(f). The district court found that the prior art lacks a teaching, suggestion, or motivation to combine the references that are necessary to make the invention obvious,1 and then erroneously invoked § 102(f) to provide that motivation. The panel majority finds "motivation" simply in its observation that raw and fully cooked waffle-cut potatoes existed in the prior art, apparently holding that the mere thickness of these known products as compared with potato chips is the "motivation" that made obvious the invention of a previously unknown product, as described in claims 1 and 4 of the patent in suit.2 The panel majority holds that this new product would have been obvious, despite the failure of the industry to have produced it, the several years of experimentation and development incurred by Lamb-Weston, and the absence of teaching or suggestion in the prior art as to what to make and how to make it. Lamb-Weston's recognition of the potential of its proposed new product is not the teaching, suggestion, or motivation that precedent requires. See Uniroyal, Inc. v. Rudkin-Wiley Corp., 837 F.2d 1044, 1050-51, 5 USPQ2d 1434, 1439 (Fed.Cir.) (the prior art must contain the suggestion to make the specific combination that is claimed), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 825, 109 S.Ct. 75, 102 L.Ed.2d 51 (1988); In re Geiger, 815 F.2d 686, 688, 2 USPQ2d 1276, 1278 (Fed.Cir.1987) (obviousness is not established by combining the teachings of the prior art "absent some teaching, suggestion, or incentive supporting the combination."). Indeed, the long existence of raw and fully cooked waffle-cut potatoes if anything weighs against the obviousness of producing such a product in partially fried and frozen form. Commercial success, failure of others, and copying, are all evidence of unobviousness, not obviousness. See Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 U.S. 1, 17-18, 86 S.Ct. 684, 693-94, 15 L.Ed.2d 545 148 USPQ 459, 467 (1966); Cooper v. Ford Motor Co., 748 F.2d 677, 679, 223 USPQ 1286, 1287 (Fed.Cir.1984).

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            I had to google this.

            #1 vs. #2 potato companies; whether a company that passed on buying the waffle-fry automation machine could then come out with its own "process" to steal that machine's technology, then flash-freeze the fries, thus essentially circumventing the patent by "inventing" a whole new process.

            Patent by cheaters: denied. Go, justice!!!

            But, ScrumptiousChef, I got a question for you. Do you like waffle fries? Hate waffle fries? You no doubt know a whole helluva lot about the whole fry game... but I wanna know if you like the crazy-cut S.O.B.'s!!!

            1. re: EricDC

              I LOVE Sweet Potato Fries....Please tell me where I can find them.

              1. re: Linda4bridge

                Galaxy Cafe has sweet potato fries. They're pretty good, as far as sweet potato fries go.

                1. re: TroyTempest

                  Also... Hill's Cafe, Phil's Icehouse, Moonie's (Cedar Park), and Threadgills all have sweet potato fries. Hill's are really good if they come out super hot, but aren't as good after they've cooled. Moonie's has gotten them right when I've ordered them. They're always super hot and freshly fried there. I remember liking Phil's, but haven't had them in awhile. Ditto for Threadgills.

                2. re: Linda4bridge

                  phils icehouse on burnet has sweet potato fries and really good burgers. another plus is there is an amy's ice cream attached to it.

              2. re: scrumptiouschef

                Also, do you like Sweet potato fries? Because I sorta consider those to be superior to regulars... curious if you do, too. I could certainly start pointing you to sweet potato fry joints...

            2. egans. big and potato-y! Some folks love the curry dip they come with.......but Me? No....i just like 'em plain.

              1. Scrumptiouschef, get yourself to Moonie's Burger House in Cedar Park and order their Crispy Fries.

                Call them first (512) 249-5214‎ to see when they have the soulful country duo singing about how many women who broke their hearts for the full effect of a Texas burger house.

                Moonie's "Crispy Fries" are the best fries I've had on the planet, including the ubiquitous french fry stands in Belgium whose owners claim theirs is best in the world.

                Crispy and flavorful on outside, potato-y inside, I'm speaking from a single visit experience. Prefer to recommend only after 2 good experiences, but hey, you started the topic.

                Don't recall if they are hand cut.

                Their burger buns are sweet and delicious.

                I wish I could be as positive about their burger patties. I ordered their regular cheeseburger. It didn't have a good sear or much griddle flavor. If I can't restrain a french fry craving, I'd definitely get one of their 'buffalo burgers' or something else with extra fixin's to help up the flavor quotient.

                And, they give real crushed ice with their sodas.

                The Crispy fries, the delicious bun, the real crushed ice, and the excellent overall Texas vibe the country singers added to the already very Texas interior make it a fun experience. It's the kind of place I would love to take my favorite aunt if she were still alive.

                My second fave is Central Market's french fries. Similar to Moonies, but a notch less crispiness and flavorful.

                I would guess that both places do that 2-step process of how to achieve crispy fries with a delicious coating (first blanch in 325 degree oil, then crank it up to 375 for the golden-brown-and-delicious effect). Not sure when the extra coating is applied to achieve that part of the effect. (before step 1 or between step 1 or 2)

                In contrast to Moonies....
                when my burger choices at 8:45pm leaving Georgetown/ North RoundRock seemed to be Monument cafe or Steak n Shake, I opted for the Monument. (home of the most delicious Chicken fried Chicken dinner). I enjoy the Monument as they care about their ingredient choices a LOT, and usually prepare them very well. Had never tried their burger + fries. Monument burger was good (great for me would be with charcoal flavor also).

                Monument's fries DID seem hand-cut, but, they tasted just OK. Like how I made them before I heard about how the perfect crispy fry is fried in 2 steps to get the outside crispy and with the right contrast to the inside.

                You could turn the trek to Cedar Park into a fun weekend afternoon if you also go to the nearby Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery, where they have an awesome selection of outdoor water fountains. The decorative parts are outside for you to design your fountain with, and the guy advises you which hidden components (tray and pump) to get from the inside store.

                1. Some of the best fresh hand cut fries (and best burgers for that matter) can be found at Centerpoint Station in San Marcos right across the highway from the outlet malls. Easily a regional top 3 burger and fries.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: achtungpv

                    Centerpoint station is very good. I like their burgers and fries and make it a point to stop there when visiting the outlets