Man cannot live on burgers alone. You need a french fry — or perhaps some pork rinds — now and then, too. Following are my favorite sides that you can order with your burger in Portland.
10. Side Salad at Matchbox Lounge: Flavorful mixed greens from Bittersweet Farms with feta and pickled onions. Tastier than many salads from upscale restaurants.
9. Onion Rings with House Sauce at Ringside: It’s the unnaturally orange house sauce, a mix of French and blue cheese dressings, that puts these on the list, though the crisp, greaseless onion rings in huge portions are quite good on their own.
8. Pork Rinds at Gilt Club: Each bite yields a gratifying crunch. The airy chicharrones are highly seasoned, served with a side of spiced creme fraiche.
7. Black & White Fries at Foster Burger: Decent fresh-cut fries augmented with truffle oil and shaved parmesan, served with a squid ink aioli on the side — a total umami bomb.
6. French Fries at Café Castagna: Cafe Castagna should get an award just for producing excellent fries for such a sustained period. They’re crisp, golden brown, greaseless, and nicely seasoned.
5. Fried Cheese Curds at Savoy Tavern: The crisp shell barely contains the gooey center of melted cheddar curds. Sometimes you can even get these as a topping on a burger.
4. Duck Fat & Rosemary Fries at Allium Bistro: Thin shoestring fries lightly accented with rosemary and enriched with meaty duck fat. A garlicky aioli comes on the side.
3. Truffle Fries with Parmesan & Chives at H5O: Ultra-light, thin, crisp, smelling of truffle and dusted with parmesan and chives. Best thing they make.
2. Onion Rings at Country Cat: Thin shavings of onion with an almost tempura batter, making these much more delicate than steakhouse- or tavern-style onion rings. The huge pile is too easy to devour.
1. Smashed Yellow Fin Potatoes at Gruner: How often does a restaurant re-envision a classic and actually make it better? Here, Gruner has, by taking a French fry and turning it into a pan-fried disc with nearly as much golden brown and delicious surface area as a kettle chip, but with the soft potatoey interior of a fry. Just terrific.