Friday Five: Fries

SenateThere is nothing, to me, more perfect than a potato, deep-fried and seasoned to crispy perfection.

There’s also nothing more disappointing than a fry that lands flat. I’ve had so many bad fries– so frozen I could taste the freezer burn, limp, undercooked, overcooked– that when I find a good one, I tend to become obsessed. To me it’s almost inexcusable that a fry be bad– it’s not difficult to make good fries, but many restaurants just don’t take the time. So, in no particular order, five great fries in Cincinnati.

1. Penn Station (various locations). I know, I know. It’s a local chain (founded downtown in 1985), and they’re proof that if a fast-food restaurant can make great fries, anyone can. No excuses for the frozen ones, folks! They’re made fresh to order, fried in peanut oil, and skin-on, which is my favorite style. There’s a good mix of extra-crispy ones and ones that are just firm, so there’s some variety. They’re great.

2. The Bistro (Downtown).  I dream about these fries: frites-style, tossed in Parmesan and powdered duck fat, salt, and parsley.  Addictively good: their side portion is $3.99 and enough for four people to share, easily.
3. Honey (Northside).  I love the honey fries– sweet potato, yukon gold, and idaho potato fries served with chili lime honey.  They’re perfectly cooked and I love the chili-lime honey, which is different and delicious.
4. Senate (Over-the-Rhine).  These are The Better Half’s favorite.  Though the duck fat fries are what they’re most famous for, we usually order the truffle fries, which have a touch of truffle oil and thyme, and are served with a slightly spicy aioli.
5. The Rookwood (Mt. Adams).  Grippos fries.  What could be more perfect? Spicy, sweet– I’ve been thinking about getting them again since I got them two weeks ago.


Which fries are your favorite in Cincinnati?