“The wide belt was a bad choice,” moaned ABC7 weatherman John Scalzi at the end of an afternoon dedicated to finding the best French fries in Sarasota. With the help of our Facebook fans, we compiled a list of six restaurants with star-potential French fries and headed out to sample them all with Scalzi, chef Judi Gallagher and food blogger Chris Kohatsu. Truly, a road trip to remember!
Best Overall: Brasserie Belge’s frites. The double-fried potatoes, authentically served in a metal cone wrapped with Belgian newspapers, were “crispy but light” and all-around “amazing,” especially with that oh-so rich mayonnaise to dip them into, the judges unanimously agreed.
Best Seasoning: Libby’s truffle-Parmesan fries. “These are decadent,” Scalzi proclaimed, “but you don’t lose the flavor of the potato.”
Best Texture: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar’s French fries. “I could just keep eating these,” Kohatsu said of the hand-cut shoestring potatoes.
Most Original: Cosimo’s Brick Oven’s waffle fries with creamy Gorgonzola cheese sauce. “They’re gooey, gooey, sticky, chewy,” owner John Ganley told us—and he was right.
Best Temperature:Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Served fresh from the fryer in a brown paper sack appealingly speckled with grease, these fries maintained their consistently hot temperature from bag to plate to mouth.
Best with an Ice-Cold Beer: Lee Roy Selmon’s bacon-topped cheese fries. “You couldn’t eat these every day,” said Gallagher. “But they’re perfect for sharing with friends while you’re watching a game.”
FANFARE>>“My house, but it’s nearly impossible to get a reservation.”
–Patrick Allen Hargabus, in response to our Facebook question about where to find the best fries in town