Saturday, May 28, 2011

French Fry Diary 228: Cool Dog Café

This place had been taunting me for weeks since their sign outside went up, long before the Cool Dog Cafe even opened up. It teased me with two words - "Belgian Frites." Oh yeah, so I had to get here sooner or later. It has since become one of my favorite local restaurants.

Their take home menu says that their Belgian Frites are "Simply the best fries you've ever had... crispy on the outside, moist & tender on the inside. You'll never return to France." On a later visit, one of the owners, so proud and passionate about his fries, told me that my fries actually started cooking the day before - a par-fry after cutting, soaking and drying, and then a shock-fry when ordered. Yeah, that's the way to do it.

I made it in to the Cool Dog Cafe for the first time a few days after they had opened. I got a hot dog, a nice extra long dog on a regular bun which came on a plate but my large order of Belgian Frites came in a big brown bag.... Hmmm... What's up with that? The large paper bag was full of fries, and this was indeed a large order. Hot and tasty, I found them to be natural cuts, and very very good. And just for the record, the dog was good too.

I could complain about the bag o' fries, as the grease slowly soaked through the bag, and they weren't especially Belgian nor frites. But I won't. While they might not be exactly what fry freaks like me think of when we think of Beligian frites - these are damned good fries.

Aside from the unorthodox way they were served these were essentially the same natural cuts that could be had at Pat's or Five Guys. They have a bit more crunch and there is much to be said about the portion size - they aren't Belgian frites, but really, who cares? These fries are contenders, and better (yeah, I said it) than either Pat's or Five Guys.

I was the only one there for lunch when I was there for the first time, with Sirius radio blasting as was the heat, and news and women's basketball were on the two big screen TVs. It did start to fill up as I was getting ready to go so that's good. I have been back, many times (I told you I liked this place), and now it is usually hopping.

Malt vinegar is on the table, along with ketchup and mustard, so their heart is in the right place when it comes to fries. And they also had Coca-Cola products, and free refills at the fountain, always a plus in my book. Also on the condiment bright side is the killer Jack Daniels glaze that is available for burgers or dogs, but is perfect for the fries as well. They also have the first sweet potato fries that this catastrophically picky eater has wanted to eat more than one of. In fact, I like them almost as much as the regular fries.

Check them out at their website, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Check for their specials. I recommend the sliders, the dogs, the toppings, and especially the fries. They are probably not what I would have expected when I first saw that "Belgian Frites" sign, but man, are they good - highly recommended.

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