The best fries are eaten soon after leaving the fryer, having been fried two times from the potatoes sliced at the restaurant resulting in a fry that is a bit firm and retains that outer crispness for a while. French fries are done the best in Belgium, where they were likely invented – the French descriptor because fries were encountered in the Francophone part of Belgium. Made with Bintje potatoes, a tasty Dutch variety well-suited for them, cut fairly thickly, these are fried twice in rendered beef fat rather than oil. Initially frying at a lower heat and then briefly at a higher one right before serving yields crisp exteriors and tender insides, and the beef fat certainly adds to the flavor. With some salt and freshly made mayonnaise, these are absolutely delicious. I learned from Belgian classmates years ago that a good mayonnaise really is the best accessory to fries. Really. Beer seems to be another useful one.
Though most fries in Houston are forgettable, there are some very good ones. Here are the best places for fries in Houston listed in order of preference.
Better Luck Tomorrow – This top spot for day drinking with half-priced drinks including cocktails – really well-made cocktails – from noon until 5:00 during the week, the fun food here is far from an afterthought. A healthy order of the nicely crisp, large fries are excellent by themselves and possibly even more enjoyable when “hard spiced” or with grated Pecorino and plenty of black pepper. Heights
Certainly worth an order
Café Brussels – As Belgium provides the gold standard in fries, the city’s one Belgian restaurant does them well. These are excellent; crisp, long-lastingly so. You will probably need to ask for a side of the house-made mayonnaise these days, though. You should. First Ward
Helen Greek – This contemporary Greek bistro serves crisp, excellent fries as a side with gyros and souvlaki – a far cry that you’ll usually find with these – and also the more substantial Smothered Greek Fries with turmeric, a whipped roasted red pepper dip, feta, and oregano. Rice Village
Navy Blue – Served attractively in paper extending past the edges of a fry cone, this upscale new seafooder does all the basics as well as you might hope in the setting, and is a perfect choice with a drink at the bar in the evening. Rice Village
Riel – The very nice, thin fries do duty alone for take-away and also in a version of poutine at the bar with rich brown gravy and melted white cheese. Montrose
A fine accompaniment
Cultivated – Thin shoestring fries are never the best fries, but can be tasty, as these are on the side for the sandwiches and burger at the small restaurant for the Lancaster Hotel across from the Alley Theatre. Downtown
Lucille’s – Different than most, the fries are a bit puffy here, enjoyably so. Available only during lunch serving also alongside the burger and sandwiches. Museum District
Mapojeong – Nice and thin fries that are noticeably better than most accompaniments to burgers and fries at this stylish Korean barbecue joint. Heights
The way they are supposed to be done - GQ