We've covered the battle of sweet potato fries and done the McDonald's vs. Wendy's taste test, and now we're back to put two two big gun fry makers up against the ketchup -- and each other.
This snack/side classic is simple: potatoes, oil and salt. For this battle we made one concession, the use of pepper. Other than that- no dipping, no smothering, NO MERCY. That means no ketchup and certainly no poutine, got it? Allright, let's get it on!
In This Corner: Joe's Farm Grill
The Setup: Joe's Farm Grill is easily one of the best burger joints in town. With a clean, retro vibe and both picnic and indoor seating, this south Gilbert gem feels like stepping into a time warp to simpler times when all food, even the fried stuff, was farm fresh. Since the menu has something for everyone, including healthy and vegetarian options, Joe's is a great place for families--and their clientele shows it. The counter service only setting and quick ticket turnover times make it a great alternative to both its fast food and upscale compatriots. Not to mention the quality to price ratio.
The Good: Joe's fries match pretty much everything else, from food to décor, in the place. They're a completely classic and perfected take on an old favorite. The audibly crunchy outside makes every bite satisfying. The inside is fluffy and actually tastes of potato, not just salty grease. Speaking of salt, each fry has just the right amount of seasoning so we didn't even need to dip them in anything--the true test of a phenomenal fry. Overall, they're the kind of fries we could, but probably shouldn't, enjoy every day.
The Bad: Our fry obsession makes critique difficult. However, we will say that the $4 price tag on a side of fries seems a little steep, considering they're so basic. A fry without fancy schmancy dipping sauces or anything other than potatoes, oil and salt doesn't seem like it would be so pricey. The best deal is to get one of their juicy, flavorful burgers for , which comes with a side of fries. In The Other Corner: Bourbon Steak
The Setup: Bourbon Steak is classy-- so classy that showing up in jeans and a t-shirt, which we may or may not have done, is bound to make one feel immediately out of place. Every bit of the décor looks like it The dimly lit, candle heavy interior is the ideal place to take someone impressive, but the bar is the best option for those on a fry run.
The Good: Bourbon Steak's duck fat fried French fries may be the best $5 we have ever spent. Ever. Seriously, we might need to research if this one is technically an unfair fight because we were flooded with an immediate sense of pure euphoria after eating these fries. Can duck fat do that? We don't know, maybe we just love fancy fries a bit too much.
What we did think might be unfair is to compare the seasoned fries to Joe's basics, so we stuck to the center option, which were only sprinkled with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. With or without its accompanying garlic aioli dipping sauce, it's easily the best fry we've ever eaten. We're still dreaming about them.
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The Bad: Ummmm... other than the fact that the place is kind of difficult to find and it's not the most laid-back environment, there's almost nothing wrong with these fries. We weren't huge fans of the paprika fry option and even thought the rosemary-thyme fries were a little unnecessary. The best fries are simple fries.
And the winner is . . . Bourbon Steak. We really felt Joe's would win. It seems like a better story: Underdog farm grill beats swankier digs. However, since both places are absolutely phenomenal local restaurants with completely different ambiance and experience to offer that are both frequently commended for their great eats, we can't feel too bad for either contender in any case. They're really both winners, but the decadence of the duck fat on Bourbon Steak's fries just put them over the top.