When sweet potato fries migrated onto local menus a few years ago, diners began choosing not how they wanted their potato cooked, but rather what kind of potato they'd like fried up.
Boise Fry Company dropped a bomb on that idea and blew it up.
A wall-mounted markerboard fry menu grids off potato choices on the vertical while the horizontal describes various cuts--shoestring, regular, curly or homestyle. Cordoned off to the right is a short list of burgers: beef, bison or vegan. It's the kind of place where a gang of three can literally order one of everything, and one recent weeknight, we did exactly that.
We ordered a bowl ($4.79), or, what is rightly a massive heap of fried potatoes, including a handful of every cut and flavor. Now, I won't pretend my palate is refined enough to discern the subtleties between a Kennebec fry and a russet. A yam and a purple Okinawa? Sure. I figured some side-by-side comparison would help, but when we got to the bottom of the gleaming bowl, I was still learning.
In the course of polishing off the heap, we'd shaken and dunked and double dipped a few pounds of potatoes. Part of the BFC adventure is first, casting aside the burger and second, properly dressing your fries. Eight sauces--from sour Thai and chipotle to garlic and blueberry ketchup--make ranch dressing look so last century. Even salt comes in a rainbow of flavors. Above the seasoning station are markerboards with customers' and staffers' combo recommendations if you need a little inspiration. What was missing that night was not inspiration but attention. The toasted caramel sauce sputtered only air when I went for a dollop. I shook the Cajun salt shaker and got nothing.
As for our side orders, the vegan burger ($6.49) seems to have lost some of its heft since my last visit. A bite on one side squeezed out a solid chunk of too-soft burger from the other side. The beef burger ($5.29) was almost jerkied it was so crunchy on the edges. Smack in the middle was the bison burger ($7.49), which was cooked a nice medium and whose flavor was robust and almost fragrant. The rest of the burger combination, for me, overrode any missteps. Fresh field greens punched through each bite. The onions gastrique, which are slow cooked and caramelized in sugar and red wine vinegar, really were a tangy pickup on the vegan burger. And the buns, soft and glowing, rise far above a regular burger joint.
I plucked one last fry speck from the bowl and got up to wash my hands. I walked by a handful of tables in need of a bleach towel and past the hanging artwork from Ben Wilson. And in the bathroom, I found the soap dispenser was--almost comically--empty.
--Rachael Daigle is a regular homestyle curly shoestring.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Boise Fry Company here.