Local Spotlight

Best Thing I Ever Ate: French Fries

I've been exploring The Best Things I Ever Ate around town. Because they are practically a staple at any and every restaurant, this time I searched Houston's food scene for something we all know and love: Good 'ole American French Fries.

Friends, I bring you: The Best French Fries I Ever Ate.

While French fries are fantastic on their own, we're in America, so deep-frying our starch is clearly not enough. We like to serve our fat-soaked taters smothered in anything from ranch and bacon to roast beef and gravy. And since we're in Houston, double that. There are almost too many options for the best fries I ever ate around town. If I had no regard for my health, I'd want to try them all...oh, who am I kidding -- I still want to.

A lot of Houston's top contenders almost made the cut. BB's Cafe's Tex-Cajun Poutine, topped with thinly sliced roast beef, spicy queso and a creamy, brown gravy are insanely good and something everyone should try once. BRC Gastropub serves up a piping-hot plate of Poutine Confit, thin-cut fries covered in gravy and topped with nutty gruyere and rich, shredded duck leg. At Pub Fiction you can get a Plate of Tater Tots (and who doesn't love tots!) smothered in chunky chili and a gooey cheese sauce. But somehow, it's a much simpler dish that gets me: The Feta Fries at Harry's Restaurant & Cafe.

The best part about these fries, besides everything, is that you can order them at breakfast and not feel like a total d-bag. Considering the fact that I'm also going to be devouring some eggs and toast, maybe I should feel like a d-bag - but I don't. A basket or two as a starter for the table seems to be acceptable, if not expected, at the family-owned restaurant, no matter the hour. In my book, that's a damn good fry.

The salt-studded fries are cut boardwalk-style, giving each frite a crisp, golden-brown crust and soft, mushy innards. They'd be players on their own, but "Harry" doesn't stop there. This Greek god sprinkles his taters with a mix of chopped fresh herbs and then throws in chunks of salty, moist feta for good measure. The crumbly cheese just barely begins to melt on the basket of fries, adding a cool, sharp richness to each bite.

But it's this next part that kills me. It's Harry's ultra-creamy, ultra-smooth honey mustard that puts the fries over the edge. Honey mustard and feta - WTF? How? Why? I don't know, and I perhaps never will -- but I'm so glad someone out there was cracked out enough to think of the combo. The rich, smooth dressing is sweet and tangy and creamy and fantastic, complementing the hot, salty fries and feta. I would pour this honey mustard in my coffee if I weren't hoarding spoonfuls of it to smother all over my share of fries. It's that good.

Together, the unlikely flavors from fresh herbs, salty feta, and the sweet, creamy dressing make Harry's fries a must have, even for breakfast (hangover cure, anyone?).

Where are your favorite French fries in Houston? Do you prefer them au naturel or covered in rich sauces and cheese?

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano