French-fried nirvana

Dedicating an entire menu to French fries verges on overkill — while the American staple provides undeniable instant gratification, the greasy gut-bomb sitting in your stomach two hours later embodies the ills of gluttony. 
 
Then again, overindulgence is acceptable in limited quantities, as Thomas and Kat Kim of the Rabbit Hole know.
 
The duo debuted their weekday lunch pop-up — aptly named the Fry Cook — two weeks ago. They serve their menu items out of the Rabbit Hole’s bar; a dark, seductive room better suited for drinking cocktails and noshing on Korean pancakes. But the highbrow-lowbrow portmanteau is part of why the Fry Cook works. Eating French fries seems more acceptable in a swank space.
 
The Fry Cook wouldn’t succeed without top-notch fries and an inventive menu, however.  They have a laundry list on every imaginable French fry in the American food canon, from poutine (technically Canadian but adopted as our own) to chili cheese fries and boardwalk fries. There’s a build-your-own fries option, and while it’s tantalizing, the dishes imagined by the Kims pack the fusion zing that Rabbit Hole regulars know and love.
 
The Davey Jones ($6-$8) provides a good entrance point for such flavors. As one of the least dressed-up fries on the menu, it packs a punch thanks to furikake 
(a Japanese seasoning combining ground and dried fish) that lends it a slight fishy taste. A liberal sprinkling of bonito (a fish similar to mackerel and tuna) flakes dials up the umami of the dish. Part of that sensation was due to the crab aioli, which is the piece de resistance that makes these fries a seafood lover’s dream. 
 
The katsuo sushi was notably absent, however, and would’ve added an additional dimension of flavor that may or may not have contributed to the strong overall package of the order.
 
While the Fry Cook has a version of chili cheese fries on their menu (OG 
 
Tommy’s, $8-$10), opt for the K-Pop instead ($8-$10), which combines the greatest flavors of Korean and Tex-Mex cuisines. 
 
The K-Pop is proof that kimchi and queso are a match made in heaven; the cultures required to make cheese and kimchi pair well together, and although queso sauce tends toward the artificial, it still coasts on a tangy taste elevated by Korean-style chicken chili far superior to its American counterpart. 
 
The kimchi to sauce ration was lower than anticipated, but any more of the fermented favorite would’ve distorted the fries’ flavor profile.
 
The Fry Cook’s creations would be for naught without a great starting base. As far as French fries go in the Twin Cities, the Fry Cook’s are among the best. They’re thick cut and aren’t too crisp or too soft. They absorb the sauce flavors well and don’t become soggy while doing so. In short, they get the job done and go the extra mile while they’re at it.
 
Though the Midtown Global Market offers endless tantalizing lunch options, the Fry Cook is worth a try. While part of their appeal rests on cachet, their singular focus on fries leads to excellent execution of a favorite. 
 
3 out of 4 stars
 
The Fry Cook 
 
Where The Rabbit Hole, 920 E. Lake St. Suite 101, Minneapolis
Hours 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. MondayFriday
Prices $4-$10