"Why should I care if fries are hand-cut?" asks Debra Roth of Falls Church City. "If cutting with a knife vs. machine affects french-fry taste, I can't imagine why. Or do you and others mean that the fries were cut in the restaurant right before cooking when saying fries were 'hand-cut'?''
I threw out the question to Kyle Bailey, the Washington chef whose french fries, double-cooked in canola oil, I like to splurge on at Birch & Barley. His tool of choice at the Logan Circle restaurant is a small press that accepts only one spud at a time and can be adjusted to create fries in different sizes. "It's the only way to go," he sAays of the small-batch, (more or less) "hand-cut" product. Bailey says more than good taste is involved in freshly made fries. Unlike the commercial variety, they involve more skill and demonstrate "a level of commitment to the product."