Burger House fries. Photo by Nancy Nichols.

Reviews

French Fry-Day: Burger House

There is a reason this place is not called Fry House.

The secret to the fries at Burger House is in the shaker.

If you like highly seasoned fries, then you’ll like the ones served at Burger House. Their not-so-secret spice blend has been in the shaker jars of the joint since 1951. It’s a blend that includes kosher salt, chili powder, cumin, celery seed, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and some other secrets.

I placed two orders: one with seasoning and another without. Once in my car, I immediately noticed the lack of wondrous greasy fry aroma in my car. I stuck my face in the bag and inhaled. It’s a good thing there was no glue in the bag or I’d be dead. I breathed in for almost a half a minute. No smell, but I was quite light headed.

Then came the highly scientific front-seat taste test. I started with a handful of seasoned fries. Forget about the seasoning that could mask a million mistakes, these little soldiers had an odd texture. It reminded me of the wallpaper paste I use to decoupage pictures of birds and dogs on box purses. I won’t admit I purposely consumed that paste, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t taste much worse that the fries without the seasoning. What a colossal waste of calories. So skip the fries at Burger House and, instead, eat two burgers.

This was the first week I visited a place I knew served frozen fries. And as if to prove the point, as soon as I sat down, two guys came out of the back carrying huge bags of fries on their shoulders. They went into the kitchen and plopped them above the fry baskets. Oddly, they didn’t pull out the two bags that were already on the shelf. Who knows how long they’d been sitting there before the new bags were stacked above them. Now they were at the bottom of the heap. These little details may seem nitpicky, but if you’ve worked in a professional kitchen, keeping the freshest items at the top is basic practice.

Most places in Dallas use frozen products. Even some fine dining establishments. Serving mass quantities of hand-cut potatoes is a lot of work. Not just in the kitchen, you also have to be knowledgeable. The starch content of potatoes varies with harvest time. If you want to maintain a consistent flavor profile, you have to know where and when to buy potatoes.

Frozen products are consistent, but they certainly don’t taste like a hand-cut fry. And like most foods, there are price points that reflect the quality of the fry. Not all frozen fries are cut from whole potatoes. Sometimes poorer quality potatoes get smashed up with a few good ones and are machine-cut from the mash. The result is a tasteless product that requires a healthy dose of butter or seasonings.

After I took the picture above, I slit open a couple of fries to look at the gunk inside. It looked like paste. And when I scooped it out and rolled it in the palm of my hand, it disappeared into a grease spot. Delicious, right?

Hopefully, I’ll have a more delicious report for you next Friday. Until then, feel free to send me your favorite fries.

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