Best of L.A.

10 Best French Fries in Los Angeles

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Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 7:07 AM

click to enlarge J. RITZ
  • J. Ritz

Revisiting the french fry, which we have already exhaustively sampled in the past, is a particular beast. The ongoing casualization of restaurants means straightforward, beloved classics are the order of the day in a greater number of places than was the case just a couple years ago. So on top of fewer starched table linens, what do we have now? More burgers. More locally produced foods. More earnestly presented produce. More reinterpretations of familiar favorites. And definitely more french fries.

The different ways in which starch is coaxed out of slivered potatoes using vats of high-temperature fat reflect the variety of our city itself, and tastes and preferences are entirely subjective. We could compile individual lists for style and girth of fries, or potato or frying substance, and so on. Potato, potahto. But this list deals with fries that generally aren't tossed with anything more than salt, pepper and maybe an herb or two; not deconstructed, heavily modified or potatoes-with-other-stuff-on-them fries. Turn the page for our 10 Best French Fries in Los Angeles.

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10. The Oinkster:

Laid-back neighborhood vibe, high-quality fast-ish food and crackling fries served with aioli and ketchup. Plus a late-afternoon happy hour with fries available for $1 per order. The Oinkster sounds too good to be true -- and don't forget, it's currently Burger Week there -- but thankfully it's this no-nonsense approach that keeps the locals and folks who don't mind a trip on the 2 or 134 coming back to the updated classic A-frame building on Colorado. Beef shortening is standard for Belgian-style batches, but the Oinkster is cool with using only rice oil for those who prefer. And if you go overboard with the happy-hour fry deal, they'll still be pretty darn near as delicious when it's time for a late-night snack. 2005 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; (323) 255-6465.

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9. Plan Check:

Stubby Kennebecs at Plan Check on Sawtelle, laid out in a cast iron dish, have a yellowish hue, finished with a subtle sprinkle of smoked salt. Not terribly distinctive on the surface. But why is that deeper, lingering flavor emanating from the fluffy fry interior so addictive? That might have something to do with the beef tallow -- you know, the animal fat that McDonald's had to stop using? So yeah, Plan Check's fries are an upscale way to re-experience a version of the Golden Arches treats we grew up eating, and with miso ketchup on the side. The degree of shame or unfettered nostalgia is up to you. 1800 Sawtelle Blvd., West Los Angeles; (310) 288-6500.

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8. Beer Belly:

Competition for seats within Beer Belly's expressively painted, modestly sized building is fierce on weekends, or when there's an important local sporting event that requires the company of anxious fellow fans. When you taste the fries after settling in with a craft

beer -- or four, thanks to the beer flight tasting option -- the popularity of this Koreatown spot is quickly explained. For a couple bucks more, the duck fat fries involve duck skin cracklins, smoked salt and sweet onion sugar. Otherwise the $4 standard slim fries deliver their own punch with a generous coating of black pepper and deeply savory spicy ketchup on the side. 532 S. Western Ave., Koreatown; (213) 387-2337.

Turn the page for picks 7 through 5...

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