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Who makes the best french fries in Boston?

David Kahn Feb 7, 2012 03:51 PM

I'm looking for a Boston version of NY's Balthazar, if that's any help. Crisp on the outside, light and fluffy inside, freshly made, piping hot and perfectly seasoned. Does any place in town hit this dish out of the park?

  1. hounda Nov 25, 2012 08:45 AM

    2nd Uburger, right up there on the podium. Considering the deliciousness of the burger It is a wonder why Five Guys are sticking with their undercooked, over-sized, soggy fry recipe.

    1. alwayscooking Jul 11, 2012 02:35 PM


      They are the perfect accompaniment to their martinis!

      1. rlh Jul 10, 2012 11:21 AM

        I doubled checked on this last night and confirmed that my favorite long, thick, very dark golden brown and super crispy fries come from Drink - a large serving priced at $7 that takes a while but is so worth the wait with their aioli on the side for dipping - wow! These are even better than the stellar ones at Central Kitchen ages ago (I haven't been in long time so can't vouch for them now, but they seemed to be getting uneven).

        I tried 5 Guys recently and was really disappointed in their soft, undercooked but really fresh cut fries - didn't even want to finish the generous smallest size serving (and I did dump them out of the paper bag immediately, but they were never crispy at all and that can't be easily remedied).

        1 Reply
        1. re: rlh
          justbeingpolite Jul 10, 2012 12:37 PM

          You can ask for them well done at 5 Guys, and that improves them, but only somewhat.

        2. t
          thefoodster Jul 9, 2012 07:07 PM

          Russell House Tavern. I also enjoyed Marche fries back the in day when they were in the Pru.

          1. hounda Jun 30, 2012 07:14 AM

            Spots wifey and I find fry haven - The Local in Newton, Capital Grille, Garden at the Cellar, and oddly enough - The Boarder Cafe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hounda
              Gordough Jul 1, 2012 12:48 PM

              Second the Border Cafe fries. They are a huge guilty pleasure of mine. Very thin and very crispy. That's why I love the U Burger fries. The thinner and crispier the better.

              1. re: hounda
                phonelady Jul 10, 2012 12:11 PM

                2nd the Local

              2. g
                Guido Feb 12, 2012 02:19 PM

                I am a fan of Clover Food Truck fries. Nice rosemary - fresh. This is the actual truck, at South Sta. Got very little rosemary at the Kendall Sq truck last week. Have not tried the bricks & mortar ones.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Guido
                  catsmeow Feb 12, 2012 02:39 PM

                  The 1 time I tried them at SOWA last summer, they were very disappointing. They were soggy and limp without a hint of crisp.

                2. m
                  marais Feb 11, 2012 08:22 PM

                  To be honest, I was amazed today by the perfect frites I had with my hangar steak for lunch today at Petit Robert Bistro on Columbus. They were the right combo of crispy surface and soft interior, and soaked up the jus of my steak very well while maintaining their integrity. Lightly and rightly seasoned too. Frites from the Robert team in SE are definitely all that.

                  1. ebone Feb 10, 2012 10:02 AM

                    I have 2 entries and both are different in their own way (best french fry is definetly subjective and depends on personal taste):

                    Sel de la terre - perfectly crisp, thin cut fries w/ a hint of rosemary
                    Saus - beligian style, thicker than SDLT, double fried to provide a good contrast of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Also offer a variety of dipping sauces (I liked the vampire slayer, or killer, can't recall)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ebone
                      Science Chick Feb 10, 2012 10:12 AM

                      Just some info: I also enjoy SDLT, but folks may want to know that they are *frozen*, not handcut (I asked them). For handcuts, I prefer River Gods.

                    2. m
                      meeps2002 Feb 8, 2012 07:56 AM

                      Edited top 1

                      BEST by far are the 28 Degree Fries - Truffle Oil - almost forgot of them

                      3 other good ones:

                      Post 390


                      Four Burgers

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: meeps2002
                        professor shorthair Feb 8, 2012 01:14 PM

                        My favorites in no particular order:
                        All Star Sandwich Bar
                        Il Cassali
                        Tavern at the End of the World (on the Somerville/Charlestown border)
                        Flat Patties

                        1. re: professor shorthair
                          digga Feb 8, 2012 06:59 PM

                          Il Casale has french fries? And good ones at that? Please elaborate. We're going Friday night (not for the first time) and have never had the fries.

                          1. re: digga
                            professor shorthair Feb 9, 2012 04:24 AM

                            We were sitting at the bar and I noticed someone getting the fries. They looked good so we ordered up. Maybe they are an app or maybe a side I can't remember. They are not your great greasy spoon or Boardwalk fries. I would say a yyppie version but they were excellant.

                            1. re: digga
                              Imby Feb 9, 2012 04:53 AM

                              Il Casale does have french fries, and they're superb. They're a side dish, listed as being topped with some kind of cheese, but I get them without.

                            2. re: professor shorthair
                              yumyum Feb 10, 2012 11:03 AM

                              I really enjoyed the Flat Patties fries yesterday. Much more so than the burger which I found to be flavorless. I really WANTED to like it, but didn't feel it. The fries are thin, crispy, skin on, and salty.

                              I also enjoy the fries at Tasty Burger, and at SDLT. I like thin and crispy, obviously.

                            3. re: meeps2002
                              opinionatedchef Feb 8, 2012 04:43 PM


                              1. re: opinionatedchef
                                meeps2002 Feb 9, 2012 05:39 AM

                                They are simple, yet I cant stop eating them

                            4. GretchenS Feb 8, 2012 07:31 AM

                              StripT's fries are amazing, hand-cut and properly double-fried. See StripT's Increasing Funkiness thread.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: GretchenS
                                grant.cook Feb 9, 2012 07:22 PM

                                Sample size of one, but my wife got an order of the moules frites at Strip-T's and they fries where HORRID - totally overcooked, really hurt her first impression of the place. We'll give it another shot, I am sure, hopefully it was just a rare off night..

                                1. re: grant.cook
                                  Dave MP Feb 10, 2012 12:17 PM

                                  I had the fries last night at Strip T's (in the poutine) and thought they were excellent. Definitely not overcooked, but still nice and crispy.

                              2. CocoDan Feb 8, 2012 07:17 AM

                                Really like BrasJo's, and it's pretty hard to beat 5 Guys fries. SDLT's a quite good also.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: CocoDan
                                  ChinaCat Feb 8, 2012 12:01 PM

                                  do the fries from 5 Guys vary by location? I've only ever been to the one in Marlboro, and I find their fries kind of soggy. They have good flavor, but no crunch to speak of. Not my favorite at all. But I've heard many people rave about them, so I wonder what I'm missing.

                                  1. re: ChinaCat
                                    Gabatta Feb 8, 2012 12:05 PM

                                    Agreed about the soggy 5 Guys fries.

                                    1. re: ChinaCat
                                      Jenny Ondioline Feb 8, 2012 12:57 PM

                                      Any fast food place will have consistency issues between locations, but the key to the 5 Guys fries is that you have to get them out of their incredibly stupid serving vessels immediately. Rip open the bag, dump the fries out of the Styrofoam cup. The sooner you do that, the better your 5G fries will be.

                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                        Msample Feb 9, 2012 07:13 AM

                                        Even when you dump them out of the bag ASAP, I find the Five Guys fries to be a tad undercooked. Good flavor, but need a bit more time cooking .

                                  2. opinionatedchef Feb 7, 2012 11:05 PM

                                    there are a number of threads on this topic if you do a CH search.

                                    All Star Sandwich Bar does perfect crispy double fried terrific fries and onion rings, very fresh. (Out of many visits, only time they haven't been tops was when we went late in the afternoon and the oil seemed too old/saturated.)

                                    All Star Sandwich Bar
                                    1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                                      Gabatta Feb 8, 2012 04:07 AM

                                      2nd the ASSbar fries and rings, which are both excellent. I have given up on the other items there though. I find all the sandwiches to be meh. The fries may be a bit dirtier or darker than the OPs reference fries from Balthazar, but they deliver on the double fried flavor and texture.

                                      1. re: Gabatta
                                        opinionatedchef Feb 8, 2012 04:41 PM

                                        well. gabatta, once again you express my food thoughts. the last few visits, things just haven't been delicious. too many toppings, too messy. Many times they need to stop 2 ingredients short.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                                          Blumie Feb 9, 2012 09:27 AM

                                          I'm a big fan of ASSB, although I agree that many (most?) sandwiches have an ingredient or two too many. I've taken to ordering my hell fries with the inner beauty on the side; the fries stay crispier that way.

                                          (BTW, and further OT, I had some leftover inner beauty in my refrigerator, which turned some nearly inedible and ridiculously expensive mac-n-cheese from whole foods into a delicious treat!)

                                    2. barleywino Feb 7, 2012 07:21 PM

                                      Craigie (although I'm not sure whether the fries are available as a separate side, without the burger). The burger can be hit or miss but the fries are very consistent.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: barleywino
                                        CookieLee Feb 7, 2012 07:49 PM

                                        A burger that costs over $20 is hit or miss? Wow, I think I'll just give it a miss! The Cognac Burger and frites at Cognac Bistro is fabulous. It's a lamb burger.

                                        1. re: CookieLee
                                          barleywino Feb 8, 2012 03:53 AM

                                          i think it's $18 ($21 with bacon)-- i only say "hit or miss" because i like it rare, and it doesn't always come out that way after I request it, although when it does, it's fabulous. Thanks for the tip on the Cognac burger. Try the Pigalle burger sometime (with or without fried oysters).

                                          1. re: CookieLee
                                            BobB Feb 8, 2012 06:53 AM

                                            Agreed - the fries at Cognac Bistro have gotten steadily better and better since they first opened and are now among the very best in the area. However, while I do enjoy their lamb burger from time to time, I really wish they offered a beef version as well. Doubly frustrating as they have a beef slider on the bar menu, but they won't serve the bar items in the dining room.

                                            1. re: CookieLee
                                              jgg13 Feb 9, 2012 01:34 PM

                                              The main differential that I've noticed on that burger is whether or not they have tomatoes. It's noticeably better in the late summer.

                                              IIRC It's $18, not "over $20"

                                          2. Trumpetguy Feb 7, 2012 04:17 PM

                                            The Druid.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Trumpetguy
                                              newhound Feb 7, 2012 04:46 PM

                                              Are River Gods' still good?

                                              1. re: newhound
                                                Science Chick Feb 8, 2012 07:54 AM

                                                last time I had them they were awesome.

                                            2. Matt H Feb 7, 2012 04:01 PM

                                              I have a few favorites; Radius, UBurger, Sel De La Terre and Brasserie Jo.

                                              17 Replies
                                              1. re: Matt H
                                                devilham Feb 7, 2012 05:14 PM

                                                gotta second Brasserie Jo, underneath a steak frittes, meat juice and melted bleu cheese butter soaking into them.....it's fucking heaven.

                                                Uburger is also a pleasant surprise...and I will also add Five Guys (very simular) as their fries tend to be solid too

                                                1. re: Matt H
                                                  hotoynoodle Feb 7, 2012 08:09 PM

                                                  plus one on the last 2.

                                                  esk also very good.

                                                  sigh. i need a fix from duckfat in portland.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                    pollystyrene Feb 8, 2012 12:00 PM

                                                    I second the Eastern Standard ones. My favorite.

                                                    1. re: pollystyrene
                                                      justbeingpolite Feb 9, 2012 08:30 AM

                                                      As ESK kind of has a Balthazar vibe overall, I bet the OP would be happy there.

                                                    2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                      tamerlanenj Feb 9, 2012 05:59 AM

                                                      Duckfat=downhill, sadly.

                                                      1. re: tamerlanenj
                                                        Bellachefa Feb 9, 2012 08:25 AM

                                                        How is that possible. Duckfat had the perfect formula. Although last time I was north 555 had equally perfect fries. I am a fan of Aquitaine with truffle vinegrette.

                                                        1. re: Bellachefa
                                                          opinionatedchef Jul 8, 2012 10:40 PM

                                                          man oh man, you too? I make sure to ask very sweetly for a ramekin of that truffle vinaigrette to go w/ my fries there; it is just stellar. they actually sold me some once but it is wicked exp, and for good reason.

                                                          I do like the Duckfat fries but they only use 25% duck fat and it just isn't enough imo.

                                                        2. re: tamerlanenj
                                                          hotoynoodle Feb 9, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                          say it ain't so? we haven't been in a while.... my b/f will be destroyed.

                                                          1. re: tamerlanenj
                                                            LeoLioness Feb 9, 2012 10:25 AM

                                                            Noooo! I love that place!

                                                            1. re: LeoLioness
                                                              kimfair1 Feb 9, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                              Perhaps you should retry it for yourself before worrying about it. Everyone has an opinion, it is tamerlanenj's that it has gone downhill. Maybe, maybe not, but I'll find that out for myself next time I'm in Portland. Many others have said they didn't like Duckfat, or found it overrated in the past, yet it's been great each time I've been (last time I went was in August, and it was still great then,IMHO).

                                                              1. re: kimfair1
                                                                Matt H Feb 9, 2012 12:10 PM

                                                                I last was there in October and it was as good as ever, but as you said everyone has their own opinion of the place. We make a trip up to Portland a few times a year just to eat and Duckfat is and will remain on the rotation.

                                                                1. re: Matt H
                                                                  tamerlanenj Feb 9, 2012 01:00 PM

                                                                  There are so many amazing places to eat in Portland. Duckfat just doensn't do it for me anymore. When you can get an knock your socks off tasting menu at Hugo's for $40, why bother with Duckfat!

                                                                  1. re: tamerlanenj
                                                                    Gabatta Feb 9, 2012 01:08 PM

                                                                    To clarify, are you talking about Duckfat in general being downhill, the fries, or both?

                                                            2. re: tamerlanenj
                                                              nightsky Jun 30, 2012 10:33 AM

                                                              Was there in April and I thought the fries were outstanding. Sad that rents in Boston prohibit that kind of small place. I also like that they have a few well-chosen varieties of beer, as opposed to this weird trend of having hundreds of beers on tap (and they cannot be keeping all those lines as clean as they should).

                                                              1. re: nightsky
                                                                bobbert Jul 10, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                For those who frequent Duckfat, thought I'd give you a little update. It's owned by chef Rob Evans who Also owned and operated Hugos. He sold Hugos to a couple of his employees who are doing well and have opened Eventide Oyster bar next door which is a great addition to the Portland scene. This has allowed Evens to concentrate on Duckfat. For those of you who have express concern of a drop off, I think its as good if not better than ever the past few months.
                                                                In addition to the fries there's some pretty amazing Hugos quality sppecials at really low price points.

                                                            3. re: hotoynoodle
                                                              southie_chick Jun 30, 2012 02:27 PM

                                                              Gotta agree with Uburger - they're my fave Boston "regular" fries now. For "high end" fries, I like the truffle fries fries at Capital Grille - I've only had them at the Burlington location but they do have a location in Boston. Don't have a fave in the cheese fries category yet, & I have to give a "shout out" for fave 2AM/after bar/hangover cure fries to South Boston Chinese for their french fries & gravy (BEST crab rangoons in Southie too). Looks like I eat I LOT of fries to able to sub-divide them into categories! : )

                                                            4. re: Matt H
                                                              mkfisher Feb 8, 2012 05:34 AM

                                                              Sel de la Terre's are about as good as it gets. Love the rosemary.

                                                              I also really enjoy Les Zygomates. They kind of remind me of McDonald's fries.

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