I rated these fries a 6.7 out of 10, but I want you to know that I enjoyed them. On my rating scale a 6 is pretty good, and a 7 is great. These fries are somewhere in between those two…but high in between the two. Let me explain.
This was my first trip to Katsu Burger. Over the past couple of months they’ve received a lot of recognition in the local media due to their recent expansions and creative brand. As worn out as a new burger chain might sound this Japanese inspired oddity breathes life into the concept. The burgers are katsu breaded and fried (or you can get actual pork katsu on the bun), the sauces sing with tonkatsu and wasabi, and the fries have definitively Asian spices.
On this visit I tried two of their four seasoning options. This review covers the Nori (seaweed), the next review covers the 12 spice blend. While I favored the 12 Spice Blend, I’ll admit that the Nori fries had some appeal.
The delicate flecks of seaweed make for a beautiful basket of fries. They’re served fast-food style without much thought for presentation, but the contrast of green on pale yellow still catches your eye. Measuring at approximately 5mm these are on the skinnier end of fries that I’ve sampled. While I didn’t think that would be an issue it actually led me to a theory about optimal fry thickness.
These fries had a very light crust which I assume was formed in a standard vegetable oil fryer. The variety of potato they used isn’t overly dense, so by forming this crust you sacrifice a bit of interior mass. Think of it as a lightly empty shell, or a bag of chips that’s mostly air. It wasn’t that extreme, of course, but I wonder if the fries were thicker if it would be a more satisfying bite? If you’re eating a fry at a time these tasted bland and slightly gummy. The nori flavor wasn’t very noticeable, and they had a short shelf life.
On the other hand, the burger was glorious! Check out this bad boy! I ordered the Samurai burger with the katsu breading, pineapple, wasabi coleslaw, bacon, and tonkatsu sauce.
Speaking of tonkatsu sauce, that was one of two dipping sauces that I used with the fries. It’s basically a thick Worcestershire type sauce. The other was spicy mayo. I enjoyed both of them, but I believe the nori fries need to be paired with something a bit more oceanie…like a sauce involving fish sauce. If you’re eating nori to begin with, why not incorporate some other briney pairing?
My conclusion after this first visit was that Katsu Burger deserves much of the hype that it’s received. I’ll come back, but I’ll be much more excited to try one of their burgers than another basket of fries. A 6.7 out of 10 isn’t bad, but a higher quality potato (or thicker cut) along with more consideration about pairing appropriate dipping sauces could have elevated it a bit higher.
Sampled on 1/2/2017 at the Lynnwood, Washington location. A side of fries is about $2.50