For those that might be new to this blog please know that my french fry ratings are not always a fair rating of a restaurant in general. Some mediocre restaurants have exceptionally good fries. Some exceptionally good restaurants have mediocre fries. My ratings are isolated and subjective. And wrong (depending on who you ask). Café Presse is a well respected french style cafe on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Their fries were even spotlighted in the local news. While I was impressed by the café in general, I wasn’t as impressed with the frites.
My visit was accompanied by a light dusting of snow. The well-worn interior felt like the perfect venue to sit down and enjoy a bowl of soup or other hearty plate with snowflakes coating the city. I stopped by at about 2pm (ignore the clock in the picture, it’s set to a different time zone) and the cafe was about 75% full. I saw a lot of soup. I wanted the soup. However, my devotion to my readers focused me on the pommes frites.
For about $5 you get a generous bowl of medium-thick, rough cut, twice fried potatoes. Per my measurement they’re approximately 9mm at their thickest.
The color on the fries was mostly a beautiful golden yellow. I think part of the color comes from their use of peanut oil as the frying medium. You need a slightly higher heat to achieve this sort of caramelization on the outside. The exceptions to the color that I came across were due to Café Presse including the eyes and skins in their cut. Some of my fries had significant sections of muddy potato flesh that had a much more bitter flavor than the rest of the batch.
While most of the fries had a very pleasant crust with a bit of crunch there was also a small percentage that were either small and burnt or somehow less cooked than others. See the droop on the fry below for an example.
With the exception of the occasional bitter notes, the flavor was great. The fries were well seasoned with salt and the accompanying dish of European style mayo added a welcome creaminess to the dish. I actually started to run out of the mayo, but I rescued myself by adding some of the dijon mustard I found on the table to the remainder. That was a stroke of genius. The dijon and mayo combo gave the fries a bit of brightness that helped me attack the rest of the bowl.
There were a lot of skins, a lot of small bits and pieces, and some uneven frying (as described before). Overall the fries were good, but there was enough “room for improvement” items that I couldn’t bring myself to give the dish more than a 7. I ended up at a 6.8 out of 10.
Definitely stop by Café Presse and try some of their french style menu options. I’d even recommend the fries if that’s what you’re in the mood for. However, I wouldn’t consider them the star of the show.
Sampled on 12/23/2016