In a downtown Spokane restaurant recently, I found myself in a conundrum. As I saw it, I had two options: Order a burger and fries, because all burgers are good, and I really felt like some fries. Or, order a completely different item on the menu: a Mexican dish that didn't come with fries, might not be good at all, but would allow me to tell myself that occasionally I, too, can try something different for a change.
It all hinged what kind of fries they were serving.
Were they steak fries that I could dip into tartar sauce? Shoestring fries that I could gobble up by the handful? Home fries that, as we know, are not really fries at all?
Good fries with a burger can make a fantastic meal. The wrong fries? They make a good burger forgettable. So I asked the waiter.
"Steak fries," he said.
Sold. I got the burger.
When the food came out, however, I felt duped. These were not steak fries at all! These were traditional, standard-cut fries with some seasoning. They were good, but not what I wanted that night.
This is a problem I run into often in Spokane. I always ask what kind of fries a restaurant has. Too frequently, the waiter is wrong, or tells me they're "just, you know... regular," perplexed that I would ask such a question.
No longer do they have an excuse for that answer. Here, we've rounded up a basic list of all the different types of fries to pair with a burger, and where to find them in Spokane:
The standard-cut fry: The most versatile of all the fries. All they need is salt. Some places load them with their own seasoning, and, hey, that's fine too. (Find them at Mary Lou's Milk Bottle.)
The beer-battered fry: My favorite fry. It's crunchy where you want it, soft where it counts, and full of flavor. (Satellite Diner and Lounge)
The thin-cut fry: The classic, golden, McDonald's-style fry. Not quite shoestring-width, but still easy to eat way too fast. (D'Lish's and Dick's)
The crinkle-cut fry: The Ruffles of fries — they have ridges! You must dip them in fry sauce. (Zip's and Bruchi's)
The steak fry: More potato for your money. (The Onion and Red Robin)
The shoestring fry: Small, and easy to grab a handful to stuff in your mouth. (Post Street Ale House and Steelhead Bar & Grille)
The waffle fry: Elusive, cumbersome, but so, so good. (Flamin' Joe's)
The garlic fry: A normal, run-of-the-mill, standard-cut fry with a garlic makeover. (Durkin's and The Blackbird)
The curly fry: Usually an alternative to traditional fries, but definitely more deserving of the spotlight. (Arby's) ♦