Oxtail Chili-Cheese Fries
This heaping platter of fries has familiar elements to those of us wise in the ways of chili-cheese fries, except this is way better than any greasy-spoon version. Oxtail is braised in a savory, hearty chili until it’s tender, then slapped on top of fries and accented with cheese, raw jalapeños and a glistening, runny egg. Garlic aioli punches its way through the plate. $12, Bachi Burger, 470 E. Windmill Lane, 242-2244; 9410 W. Sahara Ave., 255-3055, BachiBurger.com.
Angry Kimchi Fries
If the normally mild-mannered Quebeçois poutine studied in Seoul, South Korea, for a semester abroad, this is how it would come back. Crisp sweet potatoes are topped with savory pork bulgogi, pungent kimchi and multiple varieties of cheese, diced jalapeños and a fried egg. It’s East-meets-West, just not from your typical points on the map. $5, Buldogi’s, 2291 S. Fort Apache Rd., Suite 102, Buldogis.com.
There are garlic fries, and then there are garlic fries that will ensure a vampire won’t come within 20 feet of you. Forte’s super-crispy fries, which are still cooked with a little bit of lard, are light and airy and not greasy at all, so you’re kind of surprised when you get a dose of garlic that knocks your socks off. Crumbled feta cheese and herbs on top soften the blow a little bit, but only in a way that makes you want to eat more. Go ahead—that’s what gum is for. $5, Forte European Tapas Bar & Bistro, 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd., 220-3876, BarForte.com.
Duck Confit Poutine
Gordon Ramsay goes back to his U.K. roots with a gastropub, but includes a close-to-traditional version of the Canadian specialty, poutine. A pot of well-prepared frites (or, if you wanted to be super English and proper, chips) arrives at your table, intermixed with shreds of duck confit and sprinkled with cheese. Our only qualm is that the brown gravy, while tasty and rich, is served on the side. We’d prefer it if the kitchen would do the honor and pour it over. $12, Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill in Caesars Palace, 731-7410, CaesarsPalace.com.
Loaded Potato Fries
You know all those ingredients that make loaded or twice-baked potatoes awesome? Bacon, cheese, sour cream and chives? Naked City made the perfect snack food out of that concept, smothering those favorite toppings all over a pile of fries. $4-$6, 3240 S. Arville St., 243-6277, NakedCityLV.com.
Between St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness, beer and fries are a steady part of our diet during March. We turned to Sarah Johnson, Nevada’s first female beer cicerone, or beer expert (who also happens to be the beverage director for Mandalay Bay), to pick three suds to pair with the savory and salty characteristics of everyone’s favorite fried potato.
Sculpin IPA: Ballast Point’s India Pale Ale has bright notes of stone fruit, such as peach and apricot, but for Johnson, “It has an aggressive bitterness—but not enough to punch you in the face, because it’s balanced.” Available at Burger Bar in Mandalay Place, 632-9364, MandalayBay.com.
Schlenkerla Rauchbier or Alaskan Smoked Porter: “Anything smoked is a lot of fun” with fries, Johnson says. “Both of these [beers] have a smoky, meaty barbecue flavor that you can enjoy [without having to] eat the meat! Available at Todd English PUB in the Shops at Crystals, 489-8080, ToddEnglishPub.com.
Hitachino Nest: Hitachino, which means “owl,” is a Japanese take on Belgian ale that ranks high for Johnson, with its nuances of orange juice, nutmeg and coriander. “It’s a little more tart [than a traditional Belgian] and all over the place.” Available at the Pub at Monte Carlo, 730-7420, MonteCarlo.com.
Johnson’s favorite fries and what she’d drink with them? The complimentary trio offered at Strip Steak. “They’re duck-fat fries: plain, truffled and spiced with paprika and cumin, served with dipping sauces. North Coast Brewing Company’s Saison Le Merle works with everything; there’s a good amount of complexity, earthiness and fruitiness.” In Mandalay Bay, 632-7414, MandalayBay.com.
How do you like your fries? Tell us in the comments section below.