In Dining

These fries take the cake, but who makes them? Read on to find out. (PHOTO: Dan O'Keefe)

Milwaukee's French fries graded

It's time for Dining Month, presented by Deer District and its spooky Halloween-themed alter ego, Fear District. Throughout the month of October, we'll be serving up fun and fascinating content about all things food. The signature dish, however, is our 2019 Best of Dining poll, with winners getting dished out all month long. Get hungry, Milwaukee!

There are French fries at pretty much every eating establishment, even the one's that aren't French restaurants. No matter where you turn, you can find some deep fried potato on the menu.

With that said, not every fry is created equal. Some fly deliciously high above the rest, while others sink to the depths of drudgery and sogginess. In order to see which fries are worth their salt, I irreparably damaged my health and upped my cholesterol trying some of Milwaukee's most popular fries.

I graded each fry on four criteria: texture, flavor, quantity and intangibles. Obviously, the higher scores in these categories, the higher overall score for the fry.

The better the texture, the tastier the flavor, the higher the quantity, the higher the score. Intangibles are those little things that can't be placed into one of the other categories. Are the fries a good team player? Do they pair well with others? Add everything together, and you have the grade for the fry. Now, without further ado, let's get snackin'.

AJ Bombers

Texture: These fries are also of the crispy shoestring variety. There's more potato "meat" inside, though. The batch that I got seemed like they were left in the fryer for a minute too long, turning the outside crispier than anyone needs.

Flavor: There's a touch of garlic seasoning, which greatly enhances the overall taste. Without the seasoning, the fries would simply be forgettable.

Quantity: Do you remember when you were a child, and your mom would scold you for pouring too much Lucky Charms into your cereal bowl, but you didn't care because you were going to get down to chow town, but about two-thirds of the way through your meal your stomach started to hurt and you regretted your decision? No? Just me? Well, anyways, there are a lot of fries in this basket. Bring a friend.

Intangibles: These fries are a real team player: you'll only need one order to satisfy the entire table. AJ Bombers also lets you throw peanut shells on the ground, which is always a plus in my book.

Overall: You'll be eating in a great environment with more than enough fries to share, but you won't spare a second thought to the fries once you've finished them. 6/10

Camino

Texture: These fries are on the thin side of shoestring. Sometimes they're crispy, sometimes they're chewy, but always they're tasty. Surprisingly, the occasional soft fry doesn't detract from the dish. Instead, it adds another dimension. A dimension of delicious.

Flavor: I'm a sucker for garlic parmesan, and you will be too once you try these fries. They're salted with that mixture while still wet with oil, meaning the flavor soaks into the fries. Since they continue to soak, the fries only get better the further into the dish you go.

Quantity: Served in a large bowl, these fries are more than enough to share with a table of four. That is, if anyone is willing to share them. I wouldn't be, and neither will you.

Intangibles: These fries are a breakout artist: you enter thinking that the fries are only a side member of the meal, maybe the bassist or the rhythm guitarist, but you leave thinking they're the lead singer.

Overall: You don't even need to order a meal at Camino, these fries are more than enough. Order a basket and a beer and your tastebuds will be dancing in heaven. 10/10

Crafty Cow

Texture: Crafty Cow's fries lie somewhere between shoestring and steak fries. There isn't enough potato "meat" inside to be true steak fries, but the amount is much more than regular shoestring fries. This means that once in while, a fry can be a touch too soggy.

Flavor: Did you know that fries can have a dark taste? Neither did I! These fries are more Guinness than Blue Moon. They seem like they have an extra gravitas about them, almost like you need to be thinking about "mouth feel" while eating them (please don't think about mouth feel while eating them). They also have a very tasty garlic seasoning sprinkled on, which brings out the natural flavor of the fry.

Quantity: When you order, you receive a big, honkin' basket of fries. Aside from all the health ramifications, what's not to love about that?

Intangibles: This doesn't really have anything to do with the fries, but it was raining when I ate there. While this has no true effect on the overall grade, I felt the need to put something down in this category. Otherwise this would be the only french fry without any intangibles, and we can't have that.

Overall: If you're looking for the most bang for your buck, the quantity here is to die for. The fries overall are also to die for, and with the amount served to you, you might die. 8/10

Culver's

Texture: If you're from Wisconsin, you know what these fries are about. They're crinkle cut and definitely on the soft end of the texture spectrum. There's ample potato "meat" within, so you'll never be wanting for starch, although sometimes they can be too flimsy for their own good.

Flavor: French fries are potato products. These fries taste like potatoes. There is no other flavor hidden within.

Quantity: Obviously the number of fries you get will change depending on the size you order, but the small size you get in a basket meal is perfect for one person. Any larger and you need to be prepared to share.

Intangibles: These fries win the best teammate award, because they really play well with others. Especially custard. Dip these bad boys into a small dish of vanilla custard and be prepared for heaven in your mouth.

Overall: It's Culver's. You know what you're getting with these fries, which is definitely not a bad thing. Get some custard and go to town. 7/10

SafeHouse

Texture: SafeHouse's fries look a lot like fries you would get from McDonald's. They're shoestring, but crispier than you would expect, almost like you're biting through a shell. That leaves something to be desired, too hard on the outside and far too little potato on the inside.

Flavor: There was a lot of salt on these, which was a good thing, because without the salt, there would be nothing to put down for flavor. The salt is the most noticeable taste in these fries.

Quantity: Perfect for a side dish, but if you're ordering to share, you're going to be disappointed.

Intangibles: The atmosphere definitely gets big points here, because honestly, that's the entire point of the SafeHouse.

Overall: While the restaurant itself is a very cool environment, the fries leave much to be desired. 5/10

There you have it: when you're on the lookout for french fries, there's no place better than Camino. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to hit the gym to get my cholesterol back down.

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