During this great week of hamburger love, it's easy to forget what makes the humble burger so great: No, it's not the 80/20 chuck or the perfectly melted extra-thick slice of American cheese. It's the fries. Let's all face it: It's not our fault the hamburger is an enabler. You think to yourself, "I'm going to splurge my calories on some comfort food today, so I might as well get the fries with chili, cheese and half a pound of pastrami on them." Wait, you mean that's just me? Well in case it's not, here's a list of some great burger "side dishes" in Los Angeles.Read More
15 Scene-Stealing Burger Side Dishes in Los Angeles
For the folks who occasionally pair their fried goodies with a side of hamburger.
1. Herbed French Fries at Tavern
Los Angeles, CA 90049
When you think of Suzanne Goin’s food, French fries probably don’t come to mind. If you neglected the French fries at Tavern, though, you’d be making a big mistake: The standard 3/8-inch cut fries are dusted with herbs and exceptionally executed in crispiness and texture. If you do decide to opt for the fantastic fontina-laden Niman Ranch cheeseburger at Tavern, do yourself a favor: Buck conventional wisdom by skipping the veggies at a Goin restaurant, and opt for the pommes frites.
2. Tempura Onion Rings at Umami Burger
Umami Burger’s onion rings remain consistently one of their most underrated menu items. The lager-battered rings are smooth, pale gold with a lustrous finish and light crunch that sets it apart from the haphazard, loosely battered hoops found at most burger shops.
3. Thyme-dusted Fries and Tarragon Remoulade at 25°
When 25 Degrees opened at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 2005, the gourmet burger boom still in its infancy, much was made of their thyme-dusted fries. And if you were to pair those fries with the tarragon rémoulade, you might have had a revelation of sorts: That the fries that were almost too salty to eat on their own (much less pair with ketchup) were better off dunked in that cool, creamy, herby remoulade, the salt only adding to the appreciation of the subtle sauce. Ten years later and a gourmet burger revolution come full circle, the fries are still addictive as sin.
4. Beef Tallow Fries at Belcampo Meat Co.
Belcampo might sell its beef tallow in soap-like domes, but if you’re going to make French fries, you might as well just get them at the counter. Sure, their hamburger looks more like a slider (which is a shame seeing as it’s quite good), but the sustainable butchers don’t skimp on the potatoes—and neither should you. The beef tallow cooked fries are especially savory when topped with their housemade chili and cheese, but the undressed version stands up against the best steak-frites slinging bistros in the city.
5. Triple-fried fresh fries at HACHÉ LA
In an order of fries at any given fast food restaurant, there is usually the “Chosen One” — the crispiest, vaguely amber-tinged stick that you know will be the crunchiest, nuttiest tasting one in the order, the one you save for last. What if I told you Haché LA in Silverlake fried their fries not once, not twice, but thrice to get that texture on every single fry? Which leads to the next question: Why are you still reading this and not eating these fries right now?
6. Breaded Mushrooms at The Fix Burger
This Silverlake burger joint is one of a handful of places to offer up deep fried mushrooms. If you fear the fried fungus, fret not — a substantive crunch gives way to incredibly hot, savory mushroom flavor that’s practically made for ranch dipping sauce and pairing with a burger.
7. Crinkle-Cut Fries at Johnnie's Pastrami
This old-school diner once frequented by funnyman Jimmy Fallon also puts out some of the best no-frills crinkle-cut spuds: They uniformly possess a crunchy exterior with plenty of hot, soft potato on the inside. Whether it’s slathered in chili or ordered plain aside one of their burgers or massive pastrami sandwiches, it can’t be missed for French fry fans.
8. Pastrami Chili-Cheese Fries at The Hat
The fries at The Hat are virtually indiscernible from those you’d find at most mom-and-pop burger joints throughout Southern California — except when they’re topped with chili, shredded cheddar cheese and a heaping helping of thinly-sliced pastrami. Then they’re either extraordinary or a coronary (or both), and will require about three people to finish.
9. Zucchini Fries at Pete's Blue Chip Burgers
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Fried zucchini and ranch dipping sauce plays an underrated side-role in the Southern California burger experience. Zucchini’s less salty, mellowed out flavor profile provides a welcome change of pace to fries and ketchup. Pete’s Blue Chip offers a strong rendition — the width and length of their fried zucchini is identical to their French fries (presumably a 3/8-inch square cutter) for optimal crunchy surface area.
10. Piggy Fries at The Oinkster Hollywood
When it comes to recreating In-N-Out’s infamous cheese, spread and grilled onion topped Animal Fries, many have tried and many have failed. One of the few exceptions is the Oinkster’s Piggy Fries, which takes an already solid spud offering and tops it with grilled onion, spread and shredded cheddar. The inclusion of cheddar already makes it an improvement over the melted slices of American in the In-N-Out version, and the sweeter, cleaner-tasting grilled onions work better in the Piggy Fries, as well.
11. Deep-Fried Corn Nuggets at Takuma's Burger
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Skip the suggested dipping sauce and request plain old ketchup with the corn nuggets at this streetside burger stand outside Silverlake’s Thirsty Crow Bar. Fried corn nuggets are a rarity in Los Angeles restaurants to begin with, but when they’re prepared in that cute little home-kitchen deep fryer and served aside one of Takuma’s excellent BAT (bacon-arugula-tomato) burgers, they’re near impossible to resist.
12. Horseradish Potato Salad at Cassell's Hamburgers
Los Angeles, CA 90020
After Cassell’s reopened in its posh Koreatown digs, the first thing diners might have noticed was the absence of French fries. The original Cassell’s didn’t serve fries, but instead opted for a potato salad injected with the funk of horseradish. The no-fry policy and the potato salad have both proven divisive, but Cassell’s tater salad proponents swear by the recipe.
13. Short Rib Poutine at Biergarten
Short rib poutine is one of the most popular items at Biergarten, and with good reason. The tender meat, gray and fries get a boost of funk from chunks of brie cheese, creating a deeply savory flavor that would lend itself well to a cold beer from their extensive taplist.
14. Oxtail Chili-Cheese Fries at Bachi Burger
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Bachi Burger’s oxtail chili cheese fries err on the unctuous side; the fatty, gelatinous oxtail meat receives a slight respite from richness with the help of sliced jalapenos, but slathering it in garlic aioli and crowning the entire affair with a fried egg ensures that this rendition of chili cheese fries is going to knock you out of commission with a food coma for the rest of the day.
15. Chicken Melt Fries at Stuff Em
Are you tired of hearing about all of these unhealthy-sounding side order options at burger places? Downtown’s Stuff Em might be the place for you. In addition to an array of stuntburgers, Stuff Em also features a salad bar with some intriguing Lemonade-esque salad options, including a cauliflower and almond salad. But actually, you might want to just opt for one of their “melt fries.” The chicken melt fries take a bed of fries and melted cheese and top it with chunks of grilled chicken and garlic aioli. Potatoes are a vegetable, right?