Friday, January 22, 2010

French Fry Diary 82: Nathan’s Famous

Nathan’s Famous was founded by Nathan Handwerker in 1916, specialized in his famous secret recipe hot dogs and quickly became a landmark in Coney Island, NY. Eventually they became franchised throughout the country and added many other staples to their menu, including some of the best French fries, in my opinion. Nathan’s Famous fries are available at other places other than Nathan’s, such as the Bruster's ice cream place, Kenny Rogers Roasters, and even in your grocer’s freezer.

Nathan’s Famous has always been one of my favorite fast food French fries, if not the best. Just to make sure of my thoughts before putting them on the page I did a drive-by and picked up an order, a large order of course which is considerable by the way, at a local mall. The man behind the counter had a teardrop tattoo under one of his eyes and inked sleeves. The way he kept calling me ‘boss’ brought to mind far too many Cool Hand Luke jokes than are acceptable. The service however was quick, courteous and enough to make most fast food places blush with shame.

Ten minutes later when I arrived home I opened the bag. I had closed said bag tightly to seal in the hotness of the fries on the ride home. No peeking or picking at for these fries. If I did, there wouldn’t be any when I got home. Yeah, they’re that good.

Mmmm... still toasty warm, and stabbed right into the middle of the overly large fry bag was the famous Nathan’s French fry fork – a wonder of the fast food field, this is a small red plastic two-pronged fork specially made for eating fries. I usually keep mine for a few more feedings cuz they’re just that much darned fun. That fork is worth the price right there.

Nathan’s Famous fries are wonderfully thick crinkle-cuts that have a surprisingly sweet taste. I’ve never gotten a batch that were too greasy or too crispy or too soggy – they are always just right. This bag was just as good as ever.

The beauty of it is that even if they still weren’t warm when I got home, Nathan’s fries nuke quite well for maybe thirty seconds or less and you’re back in action. You can even microwave them a second time – but no more than that and they get messy, either soggy or hard like rocks.

Better than nuking them though is to just bake them. Using the minimum oil already on the fries as cooking oil, just place them on some aluminum foil and pop ‘em in the oven at 400 for about five to ten minutes and not only will they be good as new, but maybe a good kind of crispy. That’s right, baking take out Nathan’s makes them better.

Nathan’s Famous fries remain some of the best out there in the fast food realm. Def recommended.

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Spen007 said...

I grew up on West 24th Street between Mermaid & Surf Ave. Actually, we lived right next to Railroad Ave. My mom went to school with Nathan´s daughter and from what she had heard___ Nathan used chicken fat in his oil when making fries. Take it for what its worth.

Steve said...

Talking to a health inspector from way back, they did use the grease from the hot dogs also, plus the original receipe had the potatoes soaked in Apple juice or cider to keep them from turning black in the racks. Then they fried them at275 degrees and cooled them then again at 375 degrees to give it that unique taste. The ones you get in the supermarket are made by Mc Canes, sort of the same but not like the ones from Oceanside, or Coney Island I recall. I think Oscar Myer packages the supermarket freaks, not even close. I think Boarshead natural franks is the closest to the receipe.