Fast-food french fries and cafeteria tater tots — erase these notions from your mind. Restaurants are getting creative with recipes for these once-simple sides, blending techniques and flavors from around the world.
While sweet potato fries have been popular for years, Bon Ton (674 Myrtle St. NE, Atlanta. 404-996-6177, bontonatl.com) offers a unique spin. The Vietnamese-Creole restaurant features charbroiled poutine. Traditionally, this Canadian dish is fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, but, at Bon Ton, crinkle-cut sweet potato fries are topped with spicy, Southern-style gravy made with Cajun andouille sausage and Parmesan cheese. It then gets charbroiled and finished with seasoning and powdered sugar. "We really liked the idea of charbroiled cheese fries, and the idea of making something else out of the amazing handmade sausage we get from Louisiana," said Bon Ton co-owner Eric Simpkins.
Asian and Mexican flavors collide at Yumbii, which shares its food via two food trucks and a taco shop in Buckhead (1927 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-975-3444, yumbii.com). What makes their sesame fries crave-worthy is a splash of sesame oil and a sprinkle of a sweet-salty seasoning, with a kick of Korean chili flakes. Dip them into housemade chipotle ketchup for a smoky, spicy touch.
Tater tots get an Asian spin at Korean Chinese gastropub Pijiu Belly (678 10th St. NW, Atlanta, 404-343-6828, pijiubelly.com). The Thai Tots are made from sweet potatoes, wok-tossed in garlic, jalapenos and cilantro, then drizzled with a spicy sriracha mayo sauce. They're crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside.
Branch & Barrel (4100 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta, 678-436-5655, experienceavalon.com/restaurants/branch-barrel) at Avalon serves a decadent side with flavors of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada: jalapeño candied bacon and sweet potato fries with maple aioli. Heat, sweetness and rich textures meld into a dish you'll want to order again.
A plethora of tater tot dishes are on the menu at the Nook (1144 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-745-9222, thenookatlanta.com). Cajun, nacho and Buffalo chicken are among the offerings, as well as the Redneck Totchos — tots smothered with mesquite smoked pork, Coca-Cola barbecue sauce, jalapeños and cheese sauce.
Super Tot Truck (3173 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 404-824-0121, supertottruck.com) roams the city with loaded and layered tots, ranging from vegan tots to smoked brisket chili cheese tots. Try the Cactus Hugger for a Southwest vegetarian concoction covered in queso, cheddar cheese, roasted corn and spicy black bean salsa. Avocado, sour cream, green onions and fried jalapenos round out the toppings. Or, opt for Southern-style tots loaded with 14-hour smoked pork, a Cherry Coke-chipotle barbecue sauce, sriracha-ranch slaw, crispy fried onion strings and fried pickles.
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