I love biblical swearing. Damn is a word that carries a lot of weight without being vulgar. It’s bold and dramatic. It’s short and precise. It’s a damn good word. Also, these were damn good fries.
Damn the Weather is a hip but mature bar in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. I had never heard of it, but I don’t go to a lot of bars. In an ironic twist, we had a beautiful weather day towards the end of December so I hopped on a bicycle in search of some unique fries to review. While the weather was actively pleasant, Damn the Weather was a great choice for lunch. A damn great choice.
The Chicken Fat Fries are on their dinner menu (appetizer), but they were kind enough to let me order them during their lunch service. I’ve tried a couple different fats during the course of my blog journey, but this was a first for chicken fat. Beef fat was good and hearty. Duck fat was rich and buttery. Chicken fat? Not damn bad.
I spoke with the management of Damn the Weather and discovered that they’re using Kennebec potatoes. That alone puts them in a premium category. The inside of the fry has that familiar and faint nuttiness that I associate with Kennebec spuds.
More importantly is what was going on with the exterior. They’re blanched in vegetable oil and then fried to order in chicken fat. They render the fat themselves as a by-product of their crispy chicken skin dish. Very wise. The chicken fat imparts a distinct poultry flavor to the potatoes. It’s not overwhelming, but as you might expect, it tastes similar to a fried chicken skin. The fries are dusted with some salt and fennel pollen (yeah, fennel pollen) and served with lemon. The lemon is key and made the fries a bit lighter on the palate.
I didn’t have my calipers with me for this trip. Damn. However, I happened to have a tiny tape measure in my pocket. The fries appeared to be about 8mm thick. That’s a solid medium-thick. They offered me some curry aioli which is ordinarily not served with the dish, and I understand why. With their regular fries it’d be great, but it’s not a good flavor compliment to the poultry and fennel notes happening with the chicken fat fries. I’d skip it next time.
That being said, I think the fries still need a dipping sauce. Aioli is a good way to go, but I’d like to see something with a bit more acid. Maybe serve the fries with a lemon aioli instead of fresh lemon slices (or in addition to them).
The fries were crispy, had a unique but familiar flavor, and were overall not a bad value at $7. As is, I give them an 8.2 out of 10 (that’s great!), but I could see them getting bumped up a little with a citrus aioli.
I recommend stopping by to check out the fries and their other menu options. I suppose someone might want to order a damn drink as well, but I’m not the guy to ask. If the idea of frying something in chicken fat freaks you out, then you probably don’t want to look at the other uses of chicken fat (shmaltz).
Sampled on 12/20/2016