HOME > Chowhound > Austin >

Discussion

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  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.
              Linda4bridge@yahoo.com

              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

                  2. I used to love the fries at the Capitol Brasserie.

                    Now my favorites are Enoteca Vespaio, Mandola's and Hyde Park.

                    1. Houston's has good thin hand cut fries. Also a place called The Hub has nice hand cut fries that are crispy. Unlike the ones at Hut's, say, which are limp and soggy, The Hub seems to fry them in hotter oil or something so they come out crispy and not greasy.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cstrombe

                        that's what I've been saying. Don't knock off Houston's right away just because it's a chain.

                        I enjoy their ribs and fries.

                        edit: quick note about their ribs. be warned that their ribs are NOT typical of the usual texas style baby back ribs.

                        Houston's ribs are super tender and literally fall off the bone. But personally, I enjoy this style. Many of my friends enjoy the tough, charred, "meaty" style ribs that other places offer like the salt lick or mesa grill.

                        To me, the ribs at mesa girll were just horrendous. Super tough, charred to the bone, I don't get why people like this style but then again they don't get why I like Houston's style so to each his or her own.

                        Anyways, juts wanted to warn you before you dropped $20 on a plate of ribs and fries that you might not be pleased with (if you already know beforehnad that you dont like that "super tender meat" baby back rib style).

                        one more edit: I am a big fan of ketchup with fries, and I'm not sure if Houston's offers any other dipping sauce. Theif default is always ketchup. If you decide to try the fries here, I would probably call in beforehand and ask about dipping sauces.

                        1. re: dcx1287

                          Houston's also has one of the best burgers around--cooked over hardwood, beef probably ground in-house.

                          1. re: cstrombe

                            Houston's grinds its beef in house and the french fries are created from potatoes in house (twice fried as well).

                            If you want another dipping sauce, ask for the buttermilk garlic dressing (once again made in house)

                      2. I have to agree about Crown & Anchor and even Nordstrom. Nordstrom suprisingly has amazing food all around. My husband didn't believe me until we went and he had their club sandwich and fries. He never orders anything else. I love their salads and soups. The french onion is sinful.

                        Though not reliably good, when Opal Divine's hits it right, their fries are great.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lhcaustin

                          I love Crown & Anchor's fries. Mmm, thin fries, where some are small and crispy with a few greasy ones thrown in.
                          Hyde Park's fries are too elaborate for me.
                          Does anyone remember the Belgian Restaurant on Bee Caves? The pommes frites were to die for.

                        2. Believe it or not It's Italian up on Bratton Ln. has some of the best frites I've had outside of Belgium. They double fry them just like the Belgians. I imagine they could whip up a sauce to go with them if you ask.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Joelle

                            I wanted to try It's Italian, but it looks like they're only open for dinner, and their online menu doesn't say anything about frites. Have they cut back on their offerings? Or just not listed everything on their website? I may try them one day for Italian food, but I don't want to go there craving frites and not be able to get them.

                          2. I agree w/ The Tres Leches, my SO has been on a fry kick on swears my the ones at Enoteca

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: gulch

                              in Austin I've found the only crave-able fries are at Willie O's in Cedar Park. They are spiral cut from a fresh potato, deep fried and then covered in your selection of the spices they carry made by Zapp's, the potato chip people.

                              1. re: ridgeback

                                I don't know whether they're hand-cut, but I think the fries at Mighty Fine in Arbor Walk are deeeelish. And the shakes are also good--real ice cream and all that. Too bad the burgers are so bland (as has been much boo-hoo'd elsewhere on this board) especially since they have such a limited menu. But I'll happily go just for a fries-and-shake break.

                                1. re: waldy

                                  I love the handcut fries at Kahuna's Icehouse in Bee Cave. Maybe I'll go get some tonight.

                                2. re: ridgeback

                                  Willie O's does cut their fries in house, but they are only fried one time. By being fried only one time, these fries are not crisp and tend to be greasy. To be fair I have only been one time and the fries could have been an aberration. I believe the Zapp's seasonings are for their potato chip-like offering which did have potential.

                                  I am really enjoying this topic and thanks for all of the participation, but for clarification I think it is important to mention that the majority of these fries are not "hand-cut" but rather fresh-cut or house-cut or made in house rather than "hand-cut".

                                  "hand-cut" denotes a cook cutting the potato with a knife. I believe the majority of these fries are either cut with a manual machine operated by hand or an electric machine.

                                  Possibly a restaurant like Chez Nous "hand-cuts" their fries, and generally only a higher end restaurant that could afford the labor and has cooks with the precision that can make it worthwhile (run-on sentence?)

                                  Sorry for the rant and thanks for all of the suggestions which I am now adding to my list of must-try's.

                                  thanks

                              2. Best: Central Market
                                Second Best: Hill Country Fare Seasoned French Fries (cooked at home in oil)

                                Worst: Hyde Park (because we don't have In & Out Burgers here in TX)
                                Second Worst: Steak & Shake

                                -sw

                                1. When they get 'em crisp enough, Mike's Pub. But it is hit or miss. I miss the REAL fries at Westgate Lanes. A couple of years ago they gave it up for frozen. Bummer. I agree with those who are not lit up by Hyde Park's fries. I also agree with those who like Enoteca. I used to think salt was salt. Not so. (maybe that subject deserves another thread on another board!)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                    This is going to sound lame, but I had some good hand cut fries at Wings-n-More. I've also had good wedge fries at Trudy's. In both cases, you have to ask for them to be cooked extra crispy. Mostly, either the Trudy's waitstaff doesn't relay the message to the kitchen, or the kitchen doesn't follow through with the request. But when they do, it is pretty good.

                                  2. I dig the fries at Flemming's but honestly, we always order the Flemming's potatoes instead. So freakin' good.

                                    As far as a good burger...I had an increadible one at the Sullivan's bar last night. OMG, I'm virtually always on a diet and, well, i ate this one like there was no tomorrow. The atmosphere at Sullivan's however was total cheese factory slash cougar den. Yuck. I just kept my head down and scarffed down the burger $5.00.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: chispa_c

                                      Urban cougars with a fistful of hot potatoes in one hand ,Cosmopolitan in the other?Plus 5 dollar burgers?I'm surprised there wasn't a line down the block.

                                      1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                        That's funny stuff! To clarify...the $5 burger @ sullivan's came with chips. The potato dreams are made at flemming's.

                                        I don't want to be considered an urban coug - i just wanted the good food.

                                        1. re: chispa_c

                                          mmmm - cougars. I used to love those when I was in my early 20s.

                                          Food speaking, what makes that particular burger good?

                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                            Before I answer I'll say that I didn't eat the bun. I try not to eat wheat. So, that being said, I'll speak to the burger itself. I ordered it medium rare and it was charbroiled on the outside, nice, tender and pink on the inside. The patty was thick and juicy. I would have to speculate that they grind their own meat there. It tasted very fresh and I liked that it wasn't so huge that I'd feel guilty for not being able to eat it all. It also had 2 generous slices off great cheddar cheese on top. Best burger I've had in a long, long time.

                                            1. re: chispa_c

                                              I have to back chispa_c up here: the bar burger at Sullivan's has been pretty good to me.

                                              1. re: tom in austin

                                                Anyone found duck fat french fries in area?

                                                1. re: familyof3

                                                  Good question - I had goose fat fries in Hungary that were probably the best I've ever had. I've roasted goose at home and made some very good potatoes roasted in the fat. Incomparable.

                                                  1. re: familyof3

                                                    Chicken fat works almost as good. I save up all my chicken scratchings (skins and cavity fat) to make cracklins and use the rendered fat for potatoes.

                                                    -sw

                                            2. re: chispa_c

                                              A $5 burger at Sullivans. Wow.
                                              I finally let my curiosity get the best of me and went to Red Robin, paid twice that much for a burger that wasn't as good as Dan's. Don't get me wrong, I like Dan's. I just wouldn't pay 9.99 for a cheesburger there, even if it did come with a "bottomless" basket of steak fries, not to mention the ambience of chotsky's.
                                              The steak fries were pretty good, though I suspect they were frozen. I ordered seconds, just to get my money's worth.

                                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                                if i recall correctly, the happy hour has actually a few dishes for $5 including the burger. i wish they wouldn't upcharge for substituting the chips for their shoestring fries. Tues-Fri 430-630 and Sun-Mon all night. They might have changed though.

                                        2. Nobody's mentioned Dirty Martin's. Hand cut, well-done fries. They can be a little greasy, but potatoes without fat are illegal.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: sqwertz

                                            I like their tatertots better than their fries. They are pefectly crisp. I also really dig their limeade; tart and bubbly with that really soft and crunchy rabbit pellet ice.

                                            1. re: chispa_c

                                              Interesting factoid I read recently: the average American consumes about 28 pounds of french fries annually.....

                                          2. Man, I'm on my way to Moonies. Those sound awesome.

                                            I like the fries at Scholz Garten. The cheeseburger there is deeee-lisch too.

                                            I've tried to make sweet potato fries by roasting them in the oven at home - no luck so far, both attempts came out mushy. I get the sweet potatoes from the HEB on McNeil and they don't say what variety they are. I think I need to head to Whole Foods and try the Garnet. I understand there is a difference betweeen a sweet potato and a yam and that the garnet is a good candidate for fries.

                                            Anyway, also love the garlic fries at NXNW. O

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: mwreese

                                              I went to Moonies. I did not love their fries and it's hard to explain why. I want them to be carmelized on the edges so that I can see the "seams" down the sides where the corners come together. If that makes any sense? Maybe that means I want hand-cut? Anyway, these seemed previously frozen or somehow prefab to me. OTH, compared to many places they were definately decent. But for my french-fry quest, they just don't do it for me. The place was really cute. Seemed kind-of Mom & Pop with mom working the register and pop+kids slinging food. Also, a nice childrens play area that I would totally have appreciated when my kids were younger. I hope they make it. They're an order of magnitude better than Lone Star Cafe was.

                                              1. re: mwreese

                                                I agree. I don't their their fries are homemade. If you like your fries with good seasoning, next time in CP try Willie O's (behind the new Target on 1431) fries and get the curly cut or whatever it's called.

                                                Also, a new burger place is opening in town and they are famous for their cajun fries - 5 Guys. It's going to be on Guadalupe near 35th.

                                                1. re: ridgeback

                                                  Interesting news re Five Guys. Any idea when they will be open?

                                                  1. re: ridgeback

                                                    We're getting a Five Guys? Awesome! When?

                                                    1. re: mkwng

                                                      they have a sign on thw window but no date is written on it.

                                                      1. re: moosy

                                                        I emailed them and just got this response:

                                                        It does look like we will have a store to be located at; 3208 Guadalupe Street in Austin, TX .

                                                        Its projected opening date looks to be on or around the first week of November.

                                                  2. re: mwreese

                                                    mwreese, you're right. Moonie's aren't hand-cut. They aren't terrible, but not my favorite kind of fry either. They are those uniformly golden colored, inside the consistency of mashed potatoes, outside crispy, but flavored only with salt and grease type of fry. I like the taste of salt and grease. But, I also like to taste potato, which you can't in this type of fry, I think because they've been frozen. They serve the exact same type of fry at Hoovers, only Moonie's usually gets them to you hotter and crispier. (I ended up at Hoovers for dinner one day when I'd been to Moonies for lunch the same day. Not realizing they were the same, I stupidly ordered fries again. The resemblance was uncanny.)

                                                2. I had some of the best fries of my life at parkside last week. i don't know if they came from a bag or not and frankly don't care. they were perfect. as was the steak they were served with.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ieathereforeiam

                                                    I had the steak frites at Parkside the other night, and the fries are pre-fab indeed, but they do fry 'em ultra-crisp, and they're well seasoned with salt, garlic & parsley. Pre-fab, but as good as pre-fab can be. Tri-tip was well-executed and quite good. I just hate it when my steak comes pre-sliced. I'm a grown up boy fercrissakes !

                                                  2. We had a tremendous meal the other night at Olivia and that meal started out with, believe it or not, some of the best french fries any of us had ever had. And, they're served with a delicious homemade ketchup and a garlic aoili that was perfectly crafted. I'm usually irritated by homemade ketchups because they're usually not very good, but Olivia has it down. WOW.

                                                    Also, on the subject of sweet potato fries, Galaxy Cafe has some pretty tasty ones.

                                                    I also love the french fries at Jo's on 2nd and Hut's. Oh, and we just tried Mighty Fine Burgers for the first time and their hand-cut crinkle fries are pretty darn fabulous.

                                                    (Know that in order for me to love fries, of course they must be hand-cut/homemade. All the ones I mentioned are homemade.)

                                                    Yum...now I'm starving and need fries!

                                                    1. Opal Divine's fries are pretty fantastic on their good days and I would say the best in town. Crispy on the outside, the right size - not overly large, and well seasoned. I'm surprised there isn't more mention of them here.

                                                      1. scrumptiouschef... are you the 'hound that coined the phrase "fries that were potatoes earlier that day" somewhere else on this board? I loved that line!

                                                        I'm such a french fry nerd, I've kept a list, and am up to 53 different Austin restaurants where I've ordered fries. (I've only lived here three years, or it would be higher.) Out of those, only 8 were definitively hand cut. I had a question mark about a couple. Not to dis Austin, but it is so much harder to find hand cut fries here than anywhere else I've lived or visited.

                                                        Anyway, the top 8 fries (so far), all hand cut, are...

                                                        The Hub (already mentioned by cstrombe), unfortunately, the burgers are unremarkable.
                                                        Katz's - unfortunately the order is too small
                                                        Dirty Martin's (already given a shout out by sqwertz)
                                                        P. Terry's
                                                        Louisiana Longhorn Cafe (Round Rock), food wasn't as good last time we went, though.
                                                        Shady Grove
                                                        BB Rover's, service sucked and we haven't been back in awhile
                                                        Mighty Fine (already mentioned) again, burgers are unremarkable.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: stephanieh

                                                          Stephanieh
                                                          How about your bottom 8? Also,have you visited Railroad Barbecue in Manchaca,Poodies in Spicewood and/or Casino el Camino?Chez Nous also gets the frittes part of the equation correct with house cut fries perfectly cooked.

                                                          1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                            Scrumptious,
                                                            I haven't made it to those places yet. I got my husband to the door of CelC once (he has traffic & parking issues with downtown), just to find they didn't open until 4pm. That makes Chez Nous kind of a long shot for me, as well. But, I've moved these places further up “the list” on your recommendations. We went to R.O.'s Outpost a couple weeks ago, but now I'm wishing we'd tried Poodies instead.

                                                            Oh, and since my last post, I've added another “true fresh cut” to the list. Mangia, believe it or not. When I ordered fries there, I was told they had three kinds. Their “Mangia Fries” are hand cut then battered twice(?), they also have “Fresh Cut”, and something else... maybe Waffle? She had me at “Fresh Cut”, so that's what I ordered. And I'll probably go back and try the battered fries another time. One note about these, I got them to go, and they were crying out for salt, which I didn't have access to. If I were an old lady, I'd steal salt packets and always have some with me. I'll be 42 on my next birthday. Maybe it's time to start carrying a larger purse. One more thing, though, if limp fries are an issue, you might want to ask them to cook them crispier. I opened the container immediately when I got to my car, and they were pretty limp already. I'm not one that thinks "limp" is a bad thing, though (in fries, I mean). I guess I'm just grateful for "real".

                                                            For the Worst... to name a few...

                                                            Monument Cafe – these get the “most disappointing” award, because I liked the rest of my food. I've since read the other thread about Monument that said they were “hit or miss”. I'll believe that. Just know that the “misses” are almost inedible. They came to me lukewarm and tough. I ate about three of them, then decided I'd enjoy the rest of my meal more than the fries.

                                                            Nuno's (on Mopac) – these get the “most angering” award, because not only were they bad, but they cost me a $2 upcharge with my sandwich. They really push their homemade potato chips there. The first time I went, I was trying to decided between fries and chips and the guy told me the chips were the best, and then said "we fry them fresh in-house". And the smart alec in me said to him "you mean your french fries aren't fried here?" He ignored that comment and pushed the chips again. So, I caved to pressure and ordered the chips, which weren't bad, but not special. Second time I went, I ordered the fries, and I'm here to tell you, those weren't fried there. They were fried at my old grade school cafeteria, then re-heated at Nuno's.

                                                            Boulevard Bar & Grill - We used to frequent this place on 2-for-1 Burger nights. It's actually not a bad burger. They have sweet buns there, which I like. But, the fries are really, really bad. Frozen, not cooked well, no seasoning, just plain bad.

                                                            Bakehouse - It's been quite awhile since we went, but my notes say "really bad steak fries". (Steak Fries are my least favorite cut to begin with. And the ones I've had have all been from the freezer. Yuk.)

                                                            I could go on, of course. But, those are the worst of the worst.

                                                          2. re: stephanieh

                                                            Have you been back to the HUB recently? They added a bunch of new burgers and changed up the ones they used to. You should try to Mac Attack if you want a good burger with the CHEESE FRIES

                                                            1. re: wow08

                                                              I really, really wanted to like The Hub, as I live in the land of the bland and it's close to my house. I was wholly unimpressed...and it was one step away from being the romper room Waterloo Icehouse has become. Is it really worth another try?

                                                          3. I had the best french fries I've had in the 5 yrs since I've been in Austin at Mimi's Cafe, of all places. They were sublime. Perfectly thin and delicate skin, balanced saltiness, crisp but not greasy, perfect thickness... I can't say enough. I was very, very surprised.

                                                            1. I just visited the Five Guys on Guadalupe...WOW!!! The hand cut fries are one of the bests around. As soon as you walk in you are greeted with a huge row of potatoes (telling you they are cut fresh everyday), then as you get to the register there is a sign stating where the potatoes are coming from (Sugar Land, Idaho today)...

                                                              I watched them prepare the fries and noticed that they precook their fries for approx. 2 1/2 minutes, then let them drain for about the same amount of time, then do a final cook for up to 3 minutes, which to my surprise, came out perfect...then you add the Cajun seasoning...PERFECT!

                                                              Of course, it helped that it complimented an extremely juicy, and messy burger, which was cooked well done, but extremely juicy, as is it was Med Rare!

                                                              Five Guys has my vote!

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: bkotrba

                                                                We tried Mooyah the other day the fries were great. Love the seasoning. These were the best fries I've had in quite awhile and the burger was darn good too. Cucumber-y pickles. yum. The fries were fresh house-cut and I believe they did the fry2x thing because they weren't mushy on the inside nor greasy on the outside. They do 'em well done here so for me they were crispy enough (finally, that is usually my biggest complaint). $9.28 for a double-patty cheese burger, small fries (still a generous portion) and a medium drink. In the same shopping center as Trudy's on Burnet/183. I'll definately go back.

                                                                1. re: mwreese

                                                                  Mooyah update: went back the other day and the fries were less crispy and less seasoned. The latter I can tolerate in the absence of the former. bummer. I guess I need to ask for crispy and well-seasoned next time. We all seem to want crispy, I wish more places would just err on the side of crispy.

                                                                  I think Centerpoint station is on my radar for Wednesday...

                                                                  1. re: mwreese

                                                                    Give Five Guys a try. Just went there this weekend for the first time. Fries were good--crispy, not soggy (my Mooyah fries were limp on my one visit). And plentiful--they dump extra fries in your bag. Pic of Five Guys fries attached.

                                                                     
                                                                2. re: bkotrba

                                                                  I ate at Five Guys on Friday too.

                                                                  Fries were awesome and definitely the best part of the experience. Large Cajun Fries resulted in an overflowing cup and another two handfuls in the bottom of the bag. Also was glad to see they had malt vinegar.

                                                                  However the burger was a little lack-luster. It just didn't really do it for me. I guess I'll skip out on the cheese as that seemed to be part of it.

                                                                  I'll definitely be back for the fries at the very least!

                                                                  1. re: nk.

                                                                    Guess i will have to give them another try some time. 5 guys is near my place but the fries were soggy limp oily and unflavorful. the hamburger was nicely greasy but otherwise unremarkable.

                                                                    the note below recommending p terry's made me laugh. glad someone checked out the post count on the source.

                                                                3. Wow 61 replys and only one small mention about P Terry's you guys are sleeping on the best fries and one of the best burgers in Austin!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ballamatic

                                                                    You're kidding right? This is your only post, so I'm not sure if you joined just to weigh in on this topic, but the fries at P. Terry's are not even in the top half of the fries in Austin. ALWAYS limp, over-browned, and in need of salt, those fries do not even qualify as good. I truly hate to rag on the place, because I'm actually a fan, and I like their burgers OK (for fast food), but those fries just aren't up to snuff. They start with fresh potatoes and cut them by hand, so they've got all the basics down, and are halfway to a great fry, but then they apparently fry them once in oil that is not hot enough, and leave them in the oil until they change color. What you end up with is a bitter, over-browned, very greasy, entirely limp fry. Nobody is ignoring those fries--they have been discussed at length on this board and others, and the consensus is...not good.

                                                                    1. re: angusb

                                                                      I actually have to agree here. I live closeby and I don't go into P Terry's. I find the fries to be adequate, but not very good. If I need fries close to P Terry's, I go to Green Mesquite and order theirs "well done." If you don't, I think they are gross, but excellent when cooked longer.

                                                                  2. What is the name of the burger stand behind Star Bar? I was there a few weekends ago and a friend ordered a burger and fries from the trailer located directly behind the bar. The burger was good quality meat, bun was toasted, veggies looked to be very, very fresh. The fries where cut very thin and a bit greasy but good none the less. I can't comment on the price because i didn't order anything, but good for those guys for starting small with quality product.

                                                                    1. I liked the fries at Shuggie's, but they have a very light breading, which helps them remain crisp. For fries without breading, I had some astoundingly good fries on Saturday at the Alamo Drafthouse on S. Lamar. I didn't expect much, but they were near perfect, the best I've had in a long time.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: michaelch

                                                                        What style were the fries at the Lamar Alamo Drafthouse? The reason I'm asking is that I've had the fries at Alamo Lakeline and the Alamo on Anderson and they were completely different types of fries, which surprised me. The fries I had at the Lakeline Alamo were wedge cut, like the fries at Fudd's, and were seasoned with something that smelled pretty strongly like cumin, maybe? The fries at the Alamo on Anderson were a more traditional cut (that medium sized commercial fry that a lot of restaurants have), but they were very heavily seasoned (not cumin-y) and super hot when I got them, which made them pretty darn good. I've been curious if each Alamo has their own way of doing things, or if they changed fry providers in the months between my Lakeline sampling and my Anderson sampling. I need to go back and do more research, but we always spend a stupid amount of money every time we go, and there hasn't been anything showing that we're dying to see lately.

                                                                        1. re: stephanieh

                                                                          Stephanieh,I'm still waiting for your James Clavell length opus on French Fries.There's clearly a market for it.Next time you and the spousal unit are down south head on over to Railroad Barbecue in Manchaca http://www.rrbbq.com/locations.html

                                                                          These,along with Mike's Pub downtown have two of the best versions in the area

                                                                          1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                                            Scrumptious, you made me look up James Clavell *wink*. It's true, I could go on and on about the twice-fried, hand cut golden wonder that is a real french fry. But, I'm not as sure as you are about the market for it.

                                                                            I pushed Railroad BBQ on Saturday, but lost to Pluckers in a game of rock/paper/scissors/spock/lizard with the spousal unit. At least I had the chance to revisit their ranch dressing, which was as near transcendent as it gets here in Austin. I don't know if I've been too far removed from the really good ranch, thus making this taste better, but Saturday's Plucker's ranch was very flavorful, even a bit salty perhaps, and had traces of real chive in it (one that hadn't gotten chopped as finely, so I can attest to the authenticity).

                                                                            Since I last waxed on about potatoes, I've had the chance to try Five Guys. I didn't want to like them. (I'm not as anti-chain as some of the uber-hounds, but liking Five Guys seems so pedestrian.) Anyway, the fries were perfect. They fry them crispy, salt them well, and they have the most potato-y flavor of any fries I've had outside of my own house. Another plus for me is that they're accessible and I can sneak over there without involving the spousal unit and childhood games.

                                                                            I'll get back to you when I've won the RR BBQ battle. Thanks for the recommendations!

                                                                            1. re: stephanieh

                                                                              stephanieh
                                                                              Bear in mind that Railroad Barbecue has no dipping sauce for the fries.Last time I went I took a little carafe of Cholula Ranch from my home kitchen.The barbecue sauce is disgusting[all corn syrup and liquid smoke]but the fries......

                                                                              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                                                *clears throat*, "is this thing on"? I will now read to you from the sequel to my first opus. I call this one "Fries 2: Electric Boogaloo". Oh, I'm such a dork.

                                                                                I have been busy lately, out eating fries, natch. I've finally made it to Railroad Barbecue and it was certainly worth the trip (42 minutes from my door to theirs in minimal traffic). I'll drive anywhere for good food, but unfortunately this won't get in the rotation as frequently as I'd like 'cuz of the distance. I live in such an uncool part of town.

                                                                                What I loved about RR... first off, the sheer enormity of the order. They filled one of those styrofoam takeout containers that usually holds a whole meal. (My sandwich came separately in a brown paper bag). I actually couldn't finish the whole order. Moment of silence for discarded fries. They also had intense potato flavor. I've wondered, even among other fresh cut fries, why some are more potato-y than others. Is it the oil they're fried in? The potato variety? I read once that Belgian frites are made from potatoes that have been cellared awhile to let the starches build up. Perhaps that has something to do with it? Anyway, these fries were sublime.

                                                                                I've also now tried Casino El Camino, and they were phenomenal. The basket is huge, and I was able to share them with hubby without fighting over the last ones. ;-) They served them super hot... I burnt my tongue on the first bite, and went straight back for another. No pain, no gain. Thanks to this board, I knew they also had non fresh cut, so when I ordered I made sure to request the fresh cut.

                                                                                I used to be grateful just to find someone who served fresh cut fries. But, I'm finding myself to be a little more discerning among the fresh cut now. I had Green Mesquite's fries not long ago, and they tasted really good and I enjoyed them. But, am I wrong for letting it bother me that they were served in one of those tiny beige bowls that usually contains cole slaw or beans? The fries actually didn't fit in the bowl either, so they kind of just sat on top of the bowl and spilled over. Mine were a side with the bbq, but my husband ordered the CFS, and his side of fries were on his plate (and he got more). And, while my fries were too long for the tiny bowl, they weren't as long as the ones from Railroad or Casino El Camino, and, in my book, longer is better. Why? I don't really know. I just know what I like.

                                                                                Anyway, I'm sorry I have no new places not already mentioned in this thread. I'll keep searching and report back. So many fries, so little time...

                                                                      2. Here's my list:
                                                                        1. Houston's
                                                                        2. Peche
                                                                        3. Enoteca Vespaio
                                                                        Link: http://foodtouring.blogspot.com/2008/...

                                                                        p.s. Everything at Hyde Park is terrible -- including the fries.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. Has anyone tried the fries at TRIO? I saw them one t he menu but have not has them. My hubby is on a fry kick. His favs are at Enoteca. Did not care for the ones at olivia. We were at Fearings in Dallas this weekend and did not care for their's either. They were shoe string style like at Houstons. Happy Thanksgiving and I'll report back if I have any fabulous ones.

                                                                          1. Stick a fork in me - I'm done. Ate at 5 guys today. My fry quest is over. These are perfect. I believe peanut oil may be the secret. Burger was lackluster - waaaay too much ketchup and mustard. Pickles were standard crinkle-cut dill slices (I like Mooyah's pickles better). I've been back to Mooyah's a few times and they seem to have consistency issues. The first time I went, I loved the fries. The second time they were undercooked. The third time I asked for extra crispy and they just weren't "right". Can't explain why. I should also mention, the fries I had at 34th street cafe the other night were darn good (but it's an upscale place - so I expect that). I looked up french fry recipes in my favorite cookbook (little yellow farmhouse) and he advocates the double fry method w/ peanut oil. It's a pretty dated book so I'm not sure why restuarants are just now clue-ing in. Anyway, 5 guys is my current favorite cheap/fast french fry source.