He Said / She Said: Dennis and Emily Get Fried

D & E – Whether you prefer curly, skinny, waffle or steak – topped with ketchup, Ranch, cheese or chili – St. Louisans are passionate about their preferred venue for french fries. With this in mind, we’re sure we have missed some of your favorites, but rest assured that we’re committed to this sort of investigative journalism … and if we have to go back out into the deep-fried trenches for a follow-up piece, we can accept that.

Dennis’ fry profile: Crisp and fluffy, doused with salt and A.1. Steak Sauce

Emily’s fry profile: Hot inside, crispy outside, with Heinz ketchup for dipping

Kenrod’s All Star Sports Grill
2765 N. Highway 67, Florissant / 314.921.0626
Mon. to Thu. – 4 to 10 p.m., Fri., Sat. and Sun. –
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Bar Mon. to Sat. until 1:30 a.m., Sun. until midnight)

D – Upon entering Kenrod’s, a warm smile crept across my face. It was a Saturday, and all of the televisions were turned to either college football games or the NTN iTV Network (National Trivia Network). Ten minutes later, with a Bud and a monster plate of cheese fries, I became a blissed-out monkey. In their own naked splendor, Kenrod’s fries would be worthy of inclusion in this article. However, whoever decided “We can do better” and proceeded to douse the fries in Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, green onions and chunks of bacon ought to receive a MacArthur Foundation ‘’genius grant.” Sure, such awards are usually reserved for pioneers of literature, art and science, but, riddle me this, Batman, where is the love for the deep-fried potato pioneer?

E – If you’ve never been acquainted with Kenrod’s Upper-Deck Cheese Fries, imagine a french fry-based version of nachos or a sort of french fry casserole held together by cheese. It demands a fork and knife for consumption and is served alongside a spicy Ranch dressing for your dipping pleasure. Then-manager Johanna McFarland said “clean grease is the key” to excellent fries, and to prove it, Kenrod’s goes through approximately 40 five-gallon buckets per week.

Schlafly Tap Room
2100 Locust St., St. Louis / 314.241.2337
Mon. to Thu. – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Bar until 1:30 a.m.), Fri. and Sat. – 11 a.m. to midnight (Bar until 1:30 a.m.), Sun. - noon to 9 p.m. (Bar until 10 p.m.)

E – If you have $3.22 in your pocket and nothing in your stomach, head directly to the Schlafly Tap Room and fill up on a hefty side order of hand-cut fries, lightly seasoned with salt, freshly ground pepper and garlic. There’s plenty of potato in these fries, which make them perfect for soaking up the unique tastes of both the spicy ketchup and green peppercorn sauces served on the side.

D – As with Kenrod’s, the fries alone are wonderful, but the ones that come with an order of fish and fries transcend themselves. They are served beneath either one or two golden fried pieces of fish. You must have a freshly pulled Schlafly beer on hand (from the beer engine is better than a regular tap). Slather the fish with the special tartar sauce and douse in vinegar. By the time you are done with the fish, you will have effectively marinated the french fries in vinegar, and you will have the stray bits of fried batter, fish and tartar sauce mingling in with the fries. Put a good pile of the stone-ground mustard on your plate, transfer a bit of the mustard to your fork and dive into the fries. Soooooo good. Refresh the mustard, vinegar and beer as often as necessary; I recommend at least three or four times.

Liluma (pictured at left)
236 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis / 314.361.7771
Mon. to Thu. – 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fri. - 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sat. - noon to 10:30 p.m. (Winter hours may vary.)

D – I suspect that Liluma got its name from a saying heard repeatedly inside its doors: Lawdy, I LUv MA fries. Emily and I split a side, and as we fought over them down to the crumbs, all I could think was, “Why the heck didn’t I get my own order?”

E – According to server Tom Sutliffe, the magic starts with hand-cut Idaho potatoes blanched in water. Early each morning, they are fried in peanut oil for one minute and, upon order, fried again for another four minutes. Topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, the golden treats arrive at the table hot to the touch and adorned with a silver ketchup holder.

D – Ladies and gentlemen, this is the standard that all other french fries should strive for. They are, hands down, my favorite fries in town. If they were served with a side of truffle crème for dipping, they could achieve perfection.

Blueberry Hill
6504 Delmar Blvd., University City / 314.727.0880
Mon. to Sat. - 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.; Sun. - 11 a.m. to midnight

E – I get intense Blueberry Hill cravings several times a year. When they hit, I prefer to sit at a Monopoly-board tabletop and skillfully build my empire while munching on a burger, Cheddar cheese balls and, of course, the buffalo fries. These spicy fries are about the color and shape of a barbecued, ruffled potato chip but much thicker, with sizzling hot potato in the center. Server Jared Loy compared the seasoning to that of a curly fry and said that he always recommends the house-made hickory sauce for dipping.

D – You know it has to be done, so you may as well sing along: “I found my french fry thrill, aaaaat Blueberry Hill.” OK, well, actually my wife found hers there. I watched as she used buffalo fries as crackers, spreading the cheese from her burger on top. These are good fries, but I didn’t quite reach her level of euphoria.

Café Provencal
427 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis / 314.822.5440
Lunch: Tue. to Fri. – 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Dinner: Tue. to Thu. – 5 to 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. – 5 to 11 p.m.

E – At Café Provencal, all else might be momentarily forgotten as you bask in the glory of the mountainous heap of skinny fries piled high on your plate. Owner John Schriener said he “likes the thin ones because you get a more crunchy fry,” and his are certainly crunchy: hand-cut, rinsed repeatedly to minimize the amount of starch (which makes them whiter and crispier) and then cooked in peanut oil.

D – These homemade fries were impeccably seasoned, perfectly cooked and terribly delicious. My only pause was that there were too many to dip one at a time, and, unlike the shoestring variety at Steak ‘n Shake, they were crispy and easily broken, meaning that you couldn’t just spear a fork full of limp fries to dip all at once. The solution? I got a little messy. It was awkward at first, but I soon realized that everyone was doing it. Café Provencal’s fries, like all things in life, are better when they are earned.