What Andrew Zimmern Really Thinks Of Steak Fries

Strictly speaking, french fries refer, as a general matter, to strips of potatoes that are briefly deep-fried in fat with the end result being all crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside (via Merriam-Webster Dictionary). This definition does not bother to distinguish between french fries that are as thin as matchsticks, and others that are thick enough to be referred to as "potato wedges." Yet, if you've ever ordered a plate of fries, you probably know that if the menu refers to them as "steak fries," then you should expect them to be on the thicker, flatter side (although presumably less thick than potato wedges). They also likely have a slight crunch but not nearly as crispy of a bite as the fries you might be served at Wendy's or McDonald's. 

Despite that "steak fries" is the English translation of the French "steak frites," which has come to imply that quintessential brasserie offering of hangar steak with a side of thin, crispy fries, the fact is that thick-cut-not-nearly-so-crispy fries are what the term "steak fries" has come to mean. But if you were to ask award-winning celebrity chef, Andrew Zimmern for his thoughts on the topic, you might just end up deciding that the distinction is meaningless. Here is why. 

When it comes to fries, thin is not what's in as far as Andrew Zimmern is concerned

In response to chef David Chang's opening of Fuku, which serves steak fries with its chicken sandwiches, a critic from Eater voiced his utter disdain for steak fries, referring to them as "the world's worst type of fries," further describing Fuku's in particular as having the "interior texture of instant mashed potatoes." When First We Feast reached out to celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern for his thoughts on the "great fry debate," the intrepid host of "Bizarre Foods" supplied an answer that may forever change the way we look at steak fries.

"Thicker cut fries are superb!" Zimmern stated, explaining that thicker fries "allow for greater contact time with the heat and cooking elements, so you get more texture and greater contrast between soft, pillowy interior and crusty, crunchity exterior." And that was before he went on to shame those who prefer thin fries. "Anyone against a steak fry is rigid to the point of creating a monastic mindset that inhibits great gustatory pleasure," Zimmern stated. To further prove his point, Zimmern then named several restaurants where the thick-cut fries are superb, including Kansas City's Tenderloin Grill and New York City's JG Melon (whose "cottage fries" are closer to steak fries than fast-food fries). Of course, Zimmern may not have tried our recipe for air fryer steak fries, but when he does, he may have to name-check them as well.