Why Do People Love Eating Steak With French Fries?

Steak and French fries go together like peas and carrots, or peanut butter and jelly. It's a tastier version of steak and a baked potato (yes, we said it). It's a meal people like because it's versatile and has mass appeal. It can be as simple or as sumptuous as you want, whether you order it at Texas Roadhouse or a Parisian brasserie.

On one level, it's a basic, hearty dish that wouldn't be out of place in a home kitchen. Steak, fries, perhaps some sautéed vegetables, and some A.1. sauce on the side — a well-rounded meal. While the steak can be a ribeye or a sirloin, the fries can be either thin-cut or the love-to-hate steak fry. It fits the meat-and-potatoes brief that many Americans prefer, considering 30 billion pounds of beef were consumed in 2021, according to Statista. Potatoes were consumed at a rate of 29.3 pounds per person in 2021. It's a combination we can't get enough of.

On another level, though, is steak frites, the more sophisticated European cousin of steak and fries. Though Belgium and France lay claim to the dish, it really took off in France, where it has been transformed into an art form. It's a staple on brasserie and bistro menus around the country. The dish features just three simple ingredients: beef, potatoes, and sauce. Its simplicity is deceptive, though, because simplicity demands perfection.

Chefs have their own takes on the iconic brasserie meal

Steak is always the star of the show and a basic cooking skill, but hard to perfect. Chefs use various cuts if their aim is tenderness over flavor or vice versa — mild, lean sirloin, flavorful tri-tip, or a juicy ribeye. Seasoned to their specifications, chefs have been known to use coriander and smoked paprika, and, of course, sea salt and black pepper before cooking them to perfection. Some even sous vide the steaks to medium rare before flashing them on the grill for the characteristic char and crust. The supporting act of an excellent steak frites meal is the sauce – not ketchup. It can be anything from a rich hollandaise sauce or piquant béarnaise to café de Paris butter, depending on the cut of meat. An acidic herbaceous chimichurri will cut through a fatty ribeye, while a mustard-spiked veal jus will enhance the flavors of a tri-tip.

The fries need to be both crispy and pillowy; as much care and attention need to be paid to them as the steak and sauce. Two trips to the fryer transform the unassuming potato into something worthy of the steak: crunchy, salty, and fluffy inside. So, next steak night, break out the cast iron pan, some steak fries, and an excellent peppercorn sauce recipe, and bring a bit of France to your kitchen.