What do we love more than fries? Loaded ones! Take this universal snack, and watch how restaurants interpret its star quality. Those who know their spuds will recognize the term poutine; others are more familiar with an Animal-style variety. Either way, these dishes are over-the-top delicious.
Bosscat's Pork Belly Poutine
According to our former Clubs Editor, Kristine Hoang:
"Even if Bosscat's poutine is on the trendier side, it meets— and succeeds— the standards of a good, traditional poutine. For one, the gravy is sizzling hot, so the ingredients melt into what looks like a gravy-based potage. The heat also causes the potatoes to moisten (but they still retain crispiness since the skin is still on), and the pork belly slices seem to dissolve into the gravy's thickness. When the egg is poked, the yolk runs down and injects itself into the mixture. By now, it's pointless to try to decipher whether you're chewing on a potato wedge or a slice of pork belly, because you might be tempted to do that. Instead, accept this dish's amalgamated nature; the marriage of the flavors and textures, after all, is its winning attribute."
Bosscat Kitchen and Libations, 4647 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 333-0917; www.bosscatkitchen.com.
Dos Chinos Stoner Fries
It's tough not to love these fully loaded potatoes. Piled high with goodness like rice, avocado, meat, sauce and that egg. You know these are best enjoyed after some serious partying. The real question is whether you want to share 'em. Our response: Stop bothering us; we're busy. 201 East 4th St., Ste. 139, Santa Ana, (714) 383-0414; www.doschinos.com.
G Burger's G-Style Fries
Edwin has some strong feelings about this dish:
"It's redolent with cracked black pepper. The grilled onions are reduced to sweetness, the bacon brings salt and fat, and the fries— unlike In-N-Out's— are crisp. The latter is essential, considering the potatoes are doused in a potentially dampening deluge of melting cheese and a squirt bottle drizzle of homemade thousand. Heavy and rich, it's probably all you need to eat to red-line your cholesterol and saturated fat intake for days."
G Burger has locations in Irvine and Fountain Valley. www.gburger.com.
Haven Gastropub's Braised Beef Cheek Poutine
When we're not ready for dinner, but want something to tide us over and have with our beer, we think poutine. Simple pommes frites are drenched in a red wine-rosemary gravy. Afterwards, cheddar cheese curds get all nice and melty on top. Looks like a hot mess. Tastes oh-so indulgent. Another round of beer, please! 190 S. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 221-0680; www.havengastropub.com.
Krave's Loaded Kogi Fries
Best known for their Korean fried chicken, we appreciate the straightforward approach from Krave. Topped with marinated ribeye, scallions, jalapenos and sriracha hot sauce, it's a meal onto itself. We don't recommend using your hands, unless you are a fan of sticky fingers. Chow down on an order while you're waiting for chicken. 2819 Main St., Irvine, (949) 379-6075; www.cravekrave.com.
Mighty Kitchen's Street Cart Fries
The recently reviewed Mighty Kitchen had many oozy options.
" And that's too bad because I could've used any of those things to offset the side of fries my combo platter came with, which I further enriched by upgrading it with crumbled chorizo, pepper jack cheese sauce, bits of tomato and squirts of garlic mayo. Though the standard fast-food-variety shoestrings went quite well with the toppings— becoming a salty, spicy, messy tangle of potato, cheese and meat— I couldn't make much of a dent. But I was surprised to discover when I reheated the leftovers in a toaster oven the next day, the thing tasted even better."
Mighty Kitchen, 11122 Los Alamitos Boulevard, (562) 493-6489; www.mightykitchen.com.
Mix Mix's Cheese Steak Fries
Served as a snack, we got our first taste of their saucy fries over happy hour. Crisp Belgium style frites hold up to chef's house made cheese whiz. Bits of scallion and sweet onion make way for oxtail. We found ourselves apologizing for decimating this shareable, but we can just order another. 300 N. Main St., Santa Ana; (714) 836-5158; www.mixmixkitchenbar.com.
Slapfish's Chowder Fries
In 2012, Slapfish got three mentions in our Top 100. But only one belongs in our roundup. How weird is it that we are going to quote ourselves?
"I'm sure it's our Bay Area roots calling, but nothing says home like piping hot clam chowder. And not the red stuff, either (stay in Manhattan!). We're talking creamy, tater-on-tater action. The base is a pile of thick-cut natural spuds. Take what's already a fried side and douse it with a ladle full of clam chowder made with red potatoes. Their toppings simply reinforce our devotion to this meal: toasted garlic, chewy double smoked bacon, herbs, plus their signature spice blend. What we end up with is a savory forkful/spoonful of warmth. It soothes our insides on a brisk Huntington Beach evening. Score one more for seafood so fresh, it ought to be slapped."
Slapfish has more locations than we can keep track of. www.slapfishrestaurant.com.
Wok N Tandoor's Szechuan Fries
Apparently, our restaurant reviewer eats a lot of fries.
"They actually reside on another part of the menu with the rest of the Indo-Chinese stir-fries. Bur if they may only loosely fit the definition of chaat or Indian food, they're also the most filling. One order is enough for two and can pass as a meatless main course. The fries are wok-tossed to coat each crisp crinkle-cut potato with a sticky, not-inauthentic sweet-and-spicy Chinese glaze. If you're feeling carb-crazy, it even goes well eaten with rice."
Wok N Tandoor, 1948 North Tustin Street, Orange, (714) 782-7770; www.wokntandoor.com.
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Wursthaus' Drunken Fries
From the layout to the menu, you'll see similarities between the LA Wurstkuche and DTSA's Wursthaus. However, Edwin is quick to point out one difference.
"Perhaps the one important thing Wursthaus can say it has that sets it apart from Wurstkuche is the option of topping its fries with a Thousand Island-esque house Andalouse sauce, caramelized onions and any sausage. Our server described it as a version of animal-style fries, but for Wursthaus' sake, don't tell In-N-Out."
Wursthaus, 305 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, (714) 760-4333; www.wursthausdtsa.com.