Michelle and I just dropped by a Burger King to sample their french fries and stackers.
I’d give the fries about 2 and a half out of 5 stars. They are okay but they are certainly not spectacular. Enough flavor to recognize them as french fries but neither are they greasy enough to be tastey, nor are they crispy enough to be tantalizing.
While I’m critiquing the food, I have to say that the stackers were also pretty bland. I was rather expecting a hickory or barbecue sauce with them, instead the sauce seems to be a combination of 1000 island dressing and a little dab of relish.Anybody who knows me knows that I am not the king of spice but even I was yearning for a bit more zest. They are a good value as far as hamburgers go but the next time I will order them without the sauce and with extra ketchup and mustard, it is a passable burger with some bacon and cheese on it.
I’ve been eating at Five Guys for a couple of years now. Given my love for fries, why do I keep eating ones that I rate as “Very Good” (4 out of 5 stars) and not necessarily “Excellent”? The answer lies in their other two biggest strengths:
The people who work there are uniformly pleasant to deal with, it must be in their credo.
Their hamburgers are also excellent.
I give their fries 4 out of 5 stars. They are usually fully cooked, a little greasy on the inside (a good thing) and often, but not always, crispy outside. When they are done right they are excellent but this is not consistently the case, so I ding them for being somewhat variable. When they are not done *just* right they are still very good, just not up to potential. The provided malt vinegar can go a long way to masking any imperfections so you are covered either way. Order the regular size and split them with a friend or significant other. If you can eat these on your own (even if it’s the only thing you order) then don’t wonder why you can’t squeeze your fat ass into that airplane seat..
If you get their hamburgers, get the small size. The buns are always fresh and the burger patty taste and texture is EXACTLY what I like. I found the large size, which is just two of the small hamburger patties stacked one on top of another, to be WAY more meat than I want or need at a single sitting (unless it is a filet mignon wrapped in bacon… but I digress).
As I said I eat there often. Typically once every 1 or two weeks. Considering they are not very handy to me at work or at home, that’s pretty good.
Two cons, at least for the Five Guys restaurants I patronize:
– They *do* break my first cardinal rule of restaurant music: Electric guitars should never, not ever be playing when folks are eating. They are great in other contexts but not while I’m eating. The music mix played by Five Guys ranges from “Pretty Good” to “I can’t wait to get the hell out of here”.
– Their chairs – they are actually pretty comfortable, and no doubt durable. They are metal made to look like wood – and do so very well. But EVERY time one of them is moved, everybody in the restaurant starts because they are loud. They even out peal the gawdawful music.
If you can eat outside, you won’t regret it. The food is a treat and the workers are great.
Beefeater fries are among the most difficult to do right. They’re either too cooked (burned) or limp and soul-less. But the Three Dollar Cafe Jr. (located on Old Milton Parkway about 1 1/2 miles East of Northpoint Parkway) always gets them right.
Notwithstanding the fact that their Wings (boneless wings for me thank you) are excellent too. But when I get a hankering for absolutely, consistently great fries. This is where I go.
Suburban Tap caters to a pretty active crowd and it’s a basic pub at heart. The fries here are surprisingly good. I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised as, so far, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had on their menu. I’m pretty sure these are the pre-fab kind of fries (a la Burger King) but their texture and taste are great. 4 out of 5.
Popeyes fries, called “Cajun Battered Fries, have a mildly spicy seasoning and are a perfect complement to their great greasy chicken breasts. Popeyes fries rate a 4 out of 5
I frequent (OK not so much frequent as just get there when I can – it’s kind of out of the way for me these days) the Jocks & Jills restaurant at the Galleria on Cobb Parkway (near I-285).
My favorite meal is their “Boneless Buffalo Bites” which has exactly the right amount of chicken and exactly the right amount of their wonderful french fries. Never mind the fact that their Buffalo sauce is perfectly tangy and just a little spicy, their french fries are worth writing home about too! These wonderful fries rate a 5 out of 5 for me. Slightly crunchy exterior, just the right texture on the inside. mmmm… that’s good eating!
Looking for good fries, seek them elsewhere. The fries at Ted’s Montana grill are like warm cardboard. They have no redeeming qualities other than the fact that they might not kill you. They get a 1 out of 5.
Swiss Chalet is a franchise available almost exclusively in Canada. There are a sorry few (3 as of this writing) stores in the United States, but generally you need to travel to the GWN to sample the Swiss Chalet cuisine.
As of late, the past 5-6 years, Swiss Chalet has become less and less dependable for good food or service. But when it’s good it’s *really* good. Their strip fries are slightly greasy with crispy portions on the outside and wonderfully greasy inside. They hold their own against ketchup or their wonderful Swiss Chalet sauce (both at the same time if you are adventurous) and rate a solid 5 out of 5 on Marc’s french fry scale.
Although somewhat variable depending if you get them fresh or not Chili’s fries rate a solid 4 out of 5 for me. These are strip fries that generally are slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They hold their salt well and have a pleasant peppery seasoning sprinkled over them.
I *do* like my french fries. While you must head to North Africa, specifically Morocco, for the best fries that I’ve found to date, there are plenty of great offerings here in continental North America.
On a scale of 5, with 5 being the best, I’d give the fries at Taco Mac a solid 4.