Monday, May 31, 2010

Rant: Why So Limp?

It is easy to find crisp French fries, in a wide variety of shapes and thicknesses. The perfect fry has a crispy exterior that opens into a fluffier interior and possesses the full flavor of the potato. But why is it so hard to find a perfect sweet potato fry?

Most sweet potato fries I have tasted have been thin and limp, lacking any crispness. Plus, their flavor was nothing special. I love the taste of a sweet potato and always thought they should make excellent fries. But it puzzled me why so many sweet potato fries were inadequate, often not as good as even a mediocre French fry.

Yet relief may be on the horizon. I have recently found three restaurants with exceptional sweet potato fries, fries that surpass all others and which truly sate my desires. First, I found the perfect sweet potato fry at Clink in the Liberty Hotel. Good sized, nicely crispy and fluffy and flavorful inside. They were simply the best sweet potato fries I have ever had. As I swooned over them, I wondered why other restaurants could not do the same. How difficult could it be to replicate this perfection?

Then I found excellent sweet potato fries once again, this time at the Beacon Grille in Woburn. They were very similar to what I found at Clink and were a very welcome surprise. I did not expect to find such fries here but have enjoyed them on multiple occasions since. So if two restaurants can do it, there is no reason that others cannot do so.

Last week, I stopped at the Met Bar & Grill in Dedham and with my burger had some sweet potato planks. These were not fries, but more similar to large slices of sweet potato tempura. I have a weakness for tempura, so these really appealed to me and the tempura was delicious, perfectly light and crispy. The sweet potato was soft yet firm, with lots of flavor. I have to include these in my favorite sweet potato "fries."

So I don't want to see any more limp sweet potato fries. There is no excuse anymore because if these three restaurants can do it, then others can do the same. Restaurants, you have been warned! Clean up your act and start making better sweet potato fries. Or you will be called to task.


Travel Eat Love said...

Randomly enough, the best sweet potato fries I have ever had are at the bar/restaurant in Terminal E right before the security line in Logan Airport. Sometimes I want to go to the airport just to eat them!

Matt mmWine Horbund said...

I don't think you are ranting! I think you're trying to find the answer to a very simple question!!

I happen to LOVE sweet potato fries. However, I've stopped ordering them because they're often burnt to a crisp, or soggy oil sponges. Hey, maybe they'd be great to soak up the .. nevermind.

I have read that to make good, crisp fries you soak them in a sugar water bath for 30 minutes before cooking. We tried that with regular spuds at home, and they definitely made a difference. Maybe that's the cure to our sweet potato needs?


Kristi Davis said...

Mmm, sweet potato fries! They have some fantastic ones over here in Southern California at Slaters 50/50. SOOOooooo good.

Richard Auffrey said...

Hi Meghan:
That is certainly a very unexpected spot. I will have to seek them out the next time I am at Logan.

Hi Matt:
Thanks for the suggestion. I have not tried to make them at home, but may do so now.

Hi Kristi:
Can you describe Slater's sweet potato fries? Thanks.