Food News

Truffle Fries in South Florida

By now, you've probably ordered truffle fries or at least seen them on restaurant menus. The trend started a couple of years ago and has been picking up momentum. But as with everything, some are better -- OK, MUCH better-- than others. When they're good, they're eye-bulging good and have a similar effect as potato chips, when you can't stop at one, two, three, or ...

What's the deciding factor that makes for the best? Crispness.

Truffles are (outrageously expensive) black or white mushroom-like fungi typically found in the ground in Europe. But real truffles are typically not used in truffle oil, which is drizzled on these fries as a finishing touch. So-called truffle oil is usually made from olive oil and a synthetic product that mimics the flavor and aroma of truffles.

Restaurants -- usually gastropubs and steakhouses -- offer their own

take on truffle fries and most commonly sprinkle them with Parmesan

cheese and sometimes herbs. But there is a dilemma: The finishing

truffle oil can turn crisp fries soggy.

Several factors keep the

$8, hand-cut truffle fries crispy at The Office in Delray Beach, says

sous chef Zack Orsini.  First, they use a special "cowboy potato," which has low-moisture content because it is grown in the Arizona

desert.  In addition, they twice-fry the cowboys, using a blanching

technique: first partially at 300 degrees and then again at 350 degrees,

to achieve the crispiness. Afterward, they use a more-concentrated form

of white truffle oil, which is not blended with extra virgin olive oil.

The more expensive, potent oil enables them to use only a light spritz

when they spray the fries, which prevents sogginess. Shaven, truffle

Pecorino cheese further cranks up the truffle flavor, and roasted,

garlic aioli is served as a dipping sauce.

One of the best places

in Fort Lauderdale to test your restraint in overindulging is at the W

Hotel on the beach. These crispy darlings -- topped with Parmesan, garlic and parsley -- are so well-executed that they

are still enticing even after turning stone cold. Prices range

depending which restaurant or bar you order from in the hotel.


places to try your truffle luck nearby are Rok:Brgr, $7, and Mojo, $8. At

Capital Grille in Fort Lauderdale, they are $9 for a full portion and

$5 for half; $9 only in Boca Raton. Also in Boca, Table 42 Italian

Kitchen + Wine Bar offers Parmesan fries, $7 with creamy truffle aioli

and $9 with truffle oil. Back on Atlantic Avenue in Delray, they are $9

at Atlantic Grille, and $9 for full a portion and $5 for half at Cut 432.

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.