Fast Food Review: French Fries and Fry Sauce from Arctic Circle
If you’ve ever seen a Food Network or Travel Channel show about a restaurant in Utah – and don’t lie and say you haven’t – than you’ve probably heard about fry sauce. To sum it up, it’s basically a big deal out here. But for a longtime East Coaster like me, it doesn’t really make sense. I mean, what the heck is wrong with ketchup? Still, my native Ute friends keep telling me that I need to be more open minded about fry sauce, which is basically a Thousand Island/Russian Dressing type condiment.
Figuring it couldn’t be any worse than ketchup, I finally decided to give Fry Sauce it’s chance, and did so at the place of it’s invention: Arctic Circle.
A small order of Arctic Circle fries is a very reasonable 99 cents. While Arctic Circle loves to tout their shakes and Black Angus Beef, don’t be fooled – their fried food is some of the best you’ll find at any fast food joint in the country. Their fries are no exception. These little guys – with the same thickness as Wendy’s Old fries – are tremendous. Their uniform in cut and display a crispy exterior with a generous amount of oil and salt attached. My batch yielded fluffy interiors on almost each and every fry, with maybe 4-5 % of the batch coming in as somewhat soggy on the outside and gummy on the inside. But in all, they were nearly perfect in texture and taste, and although the potato flavor was not the strongest, they didn’t have any off flavors associated with them via the frying process.
As for fry sauce – well, I still don’t get it. It actually seems thinner than ketchup, and less sweet. There is a hint of lemony tang, but I really didn’t get much of a sweet relish flavor. The texture just didn’t seem ideal for dipping, and the sweetness wasn’t enough to foil the crispiness and savory oil of the fries.
I know some people swear by fry sauce, but really, can you go wrong with ketchup. To be fair, I don’t not likeUtah’s favorite condiment, I guess I just don’t understand the draw to it. As for the fries though, take my word for it in that they really are very good at Arctic Circle. I realize my status as a fry connoisseur has been called into question given the Wendy’s switch, but just know that Arctic Circle’s fries are solid – if not flashy – representations of fried potato goodness. Better yet, take Todd Jones’ word for it. My buddy Todd was of the opinion that these fries were nothing special. Given the fact that Todd also thinks the new Wendy’s fries are the best fries in the world, and you shouldn’t find two and two that hard to put together.
Pros: Perfectly crisp outside yields to fluffy interior. Good salt support. Good size portion for small order. Very few limp fries and even fewer with gummy interiors.
Cons: Not the most intense potato flavor. Fries may have some sort of exterior batter to promote crispiness. Somewhat plain as is. Minimalist fry that won't blow you away if you like bells and whistles. Fry sauce myth is overrated.
Taste: 9.00/10 (Fries), 6.50/10 (Fry Sauce)
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.50/10
Price: .99 cents for small order
Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 (Exceptional)
More Info: ACBurger.com
Arctic Circle Fries (small)
Total Fat: 14 g
Saturated Fat: N/A
Sodium: 124 mg
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Total Carbs: 30 g
Protein: 4 g