America's Best French Fries

America's Best French FriesAmerica's Best French FriesEven though their name sounds very international, french fries are about as American as any food can be - they're deep-fried, they're the quintessential vehicle for ketchup (America's favorite condiment, hands down), and they're made from one of the country's most bountiful crops, potatoes. However, while french fries are so popular in the U.S. that they can be found on most menus, those who know fries know that the standard, mediocre orders stand worlds apart from the outstanding examples.

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So what makes a perfect fry? There's the crunchiness element for sure - that crisp exterior texture that holds up against the impending threat of sogginess. Then, the soft, fluffy interior, filled with potato that's cooked through but not dried out or raw-tasting. The color also comes into play - the best fries have that undeniable golden-brown hue. When all of these elements come together, they create the perfect fry that needs no condiments.

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Creating this list was no easy feat, as fries are so prevalent in the U.S. and there are so many varieties to consider. To start things off, we compiled the "best of" fries lists from publications across the country and noted fries that have won awards for their excellence in the past two years. Then, we consulted The Daily Meal's knowledgeable editorial staff and network of acclaimed experts and contributors to get their take on the nominations and help to narrow down the choices. From there, the 15 best fries in America emerged.

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For the purposes of this list, only standard potato fries are being considered, not including sweet potato fries. While yucca, avocado, and other alterna-fries are certainly delectable, this list accounts only for the classic spud-derived variety. By the same token, some fries on this list may come doused in white truffle oil and accompanied by the likes of smoky tomato ketchup, but they made the list because the fries are outstanding on their own.

Pommes Frites - Pommes Frites, New York City

Given the matchbox size of the restaurant (in fact, there are no seats available, just a countertop and a window out front for walk-up ordering) and the constant stream of East Villagers in a fries-eating mood, expect to wait when you're visiting Pommes Frites. The fries are crafted in the traditional Belgian style, which means they're thick-cut and of the steak variety. There are only two items on the menu, fries and sauces, but the sauce options are wide and varied - think pomegranate teriyaki mayo and Curry Ketchup Especial (a combination of Frite sauce, curry ketchup, and diced fresh onion).

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French Fries - The Blind Tiger Pub, Charleston, S.C.

A step inside The Blind Tiger Pub may reveal a typical dive restaurant, but if you're lucky enough to get a table in the backyard patio, you'll get to enjoy a much more pleasant garden atmosphere. The fries here are offered as an accompanying side to the many burger and sandwich options, and are also on the sides menu. They're thick-cut, crispy, and golden-brown.

Vinegar Fries
- Thrasher's French Fries, Ocean City, Md.

In a city known for it's beachside fries, the ones at Thrasher's stand head and shoulders above the rest. If you're visiting Ocean City in the height of the season, expect to wait quite a while for your fries, and don't be concerned when you notice a sign telling you that they don't serve ketchup (just go with it, the apple cider vinegar they offer instead will work wonders). Order up a bucket of freshly fried potatoes, sprinkle with salt and vinegar, and then chow down while you make your way down the boardwalk.

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Pommes Frites Comme Ça, Los Angeles

Trendy French brasserie Comme Ça serves up pommes frites alongside many of their signature dishes, including their burger, moules frites, and steak frites. However, the fries here are not crafted in the typical shoestring style often offered at brasseries. Instead, they're hand-cut and slightly thicker, resulting in a crisp golden exterior and fluffy interior - the perfect combination.

Fresh Hyde Park Fries
- Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Austin, Texas

Consistently voted as the best in Austin by the public and food experts alike, the fries at Hyde Park Bar & Grill are hand-cut from Idaho potatoes, dipped in buttermilk, then battered with seasoned flour and fried to crispy perfection. Get them served straight up with the restaurant's special sauce or splurge for a side of homemade cheese sauce to dip the fries in.

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-Molly Aronica, The Daily Meal