When it comes to French fries, everyone has a different idea about what makes the perfect fry. Some people like them thick cut, like steak fries, while others prefer shoestring fries. Many people insist that a crunchy exterior is the most critical factor to a fry, but there are those who insist the creamy, hot center is just as important. The truth is, there are plenty of ways to make delicious fries and lots of restaurants in San Diego that serve them up!
Aside from countless variations on the basic dish, there are numerous dishes that feature fried potatoes as a key ingredient, such as carne asada fries. Another popular and unique spin on the classic French fry is the trendy and increasingly popular truffle fry. It goes great with beers, fine wines and different kinds of foods.
Many food purists are skeptical about the ubiquitous availability of truffle oil. Some of these oils, in fact, may have “natural flavors” that are anything but. However, for many people who enjoy the earthy flavor of truffles, concerns about authenticity of the aromatic oil are dwarfed by the excellent flavor found in many truffle oils.
There are numerous eateries, bars and cafes across town that serve up fries sprinkled with truffle oil and topped with black pepper, salt and Parmesan cheese. Here are four of the most popular places that offer truffle fries around San Diego.
Fresh and Flavorful French-Inspired Dishes
The Smoking Goat
Location: 3408 30th Street (map)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
If you’re looking for a place with outstanding modern French and New American cuisine, The Smoking Goat is exactly what you want! Located in North Park, this dinner-only restaurant bills itself as a classic to modern French bistro.
Owned and operated by Executive Chef Fred Piehl, The Smoking Goat offers French dishes made with local, San Diego produce and an unpretentious but refined atmosphere. It’s an equally great location for grabbing dinner and drinks with co-workers or enjoying a night out with someone special.
The truffle fries here are actually cooked with duck fat, making them doubly delicious. They are also topped with Pecorino Romano cheese and a side of mustard aioli. They can be ordered as a side dish or served with their New York steak frites.
The menu manages to be both authentically French and still local. You can enjoy foie gras with fig compote and poached pears, a French onion soup with a veal broth base, pan roasted Scottish salmon with broccolini and cauliflower, or even ravioli, made by hand and stuffed with butternut squash. They also have an agreeable selection of wines and beers, as well as a great dessert menu, including a flourless chocolate cake.
Fun Food and Craft Beers in a Hip Location
Location: 3025 El Cajon Blvd. (map)
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday: 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to midnight, Closed Monday
If you’re craving truffle fries in North Park but don’t feel up to a French restaurant, then you should stop by Tiger! Tiger! for a drink and a snack. With live events on the weekends, brunch on Sunday mornings and a great selection of craft brews, Tiger!Tiger! has a little bit of something for everyone.
They offer several fun takes on French fries. For those looking for a whole dish, the Sausage poutine fries are a great option. These fries come smothered in mozzarella cheese curds, Italian sausage, parsley and, of course, gravy.
If you’re craving something a little spicier, their curry fries have a crave-worthy yellow curry sauce and cilantro on top. Plus, they’re vegan! Finally, you can enjoy their house-cut fries, made from Kennebec potatoes, topped with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese.
You’ll want to consider a hot sandwich to go with those fries (and a cold beer). They serve pork belly Bahn Mi sandwiches, a Tofu version of the same for vegans, as well as toasted cheese sandwiches and burgers. They even make simpler grilled cheese or even a Nutella and jam sandwich for any kids in your group.
The Perfect After-Work Escape in Bankers Hill
Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant
Location: 2202 4th Avenue (map)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
If you find yourself in need of a savory treat while wandering Bankers Hill, check out the eponymous Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant. With a menu that focuses on culinary skill and fresh ingredients, you can’t go wrong with this establishment, headed by Executive Chef Carl Schroeder and Chef de Cuisine Tyler Nollenberger.
Truffle French Fries are nearly at the top of their appetizer menu. These are served simply, with truffle aioli and Parmesan cheese. Other starter courses could include dill cured salmon with rye toast, chili glazed Brussels sprouts or even deviled eggs.
Their main courses range from simple, like their burger and fries (which you can upgrade to include truffle fries) to more complex, like BBQ braised pork tacos with an avocado and tomato salsa and lime cream.
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They also serve local caught golden spotted bass with garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach and beurre blanc, a cast iron seared New York steak with roasted baby potatoes and cremini mushrooms, and a Cajun spiced crispy chicken served with mac and cheese and collard greens. If you stop in during Happy Hour between 4:30 and 6 p.m. daily, you can enjoy their truffle fries with truffle aioli for just $6.50, while house wines will only be $7 per glass.
Drinks, Snacks and More at Beautiful Pacific Beach
Location: 967 Garnet Avenue (map)
Hours: Friday-Monday: 8 a.m. to midnight, Tuesday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to midnight
If you’re in Pacific Beach when the truffle fries craving hits, Crushed is the solution to your problem. The menu starts with local flavors and expands on popular New American dishes.
Crushed serves up truffle fries with garlic, as well as truffle oil. That’s sure to have your taste buds singing. Their other appetizers include chicken nachos served with pico de gallo and wontons stuffed with spinach and cream cheese.
The main dishes here include pasta, such as penne alla vodka and white cheddar Alfredo. If you’re avoiding carbs, however, they also serve fresh fish. Ceviche served with shrimp and bacon-wrapped scallops both grace the menu here. There are even pizza oven flatbreads with all kinds of toppings, from BBQ chicken to avocados.
If you prefer small bites, they sell sliders, such as their sausage and gravy slider, chicken or meatball parm sliders, and even vegetarian Portobello mushroom sliders with goat cheese and tomatoes.
If you stop in early in the day, you won’t get truffle fries, but you can enjoy their brunch menu, which includes Nutella banana and chocolate chip pancakes, as well as chicken chilaquiles and an assortment of Benedict options.