By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
To me, duck-fat fries should be the greatest invention in the world. I mean, you take some french fries (which are already pretty damn good), and then, instead of frying them in plain old fryer oil or, better, peanut oil, you use duck fat — one of the most precious things that can be gotten from a duck simply because in it is held the entire essence of everything that makes ducks good eatin'. Duck-fat fries should come with fireworks, sparklers and waving flags. They ought to be garnished with hundred-dollar bills and coupons for free blow jobs. They should be the best fries on earth. But every time I've had duck-fat fries (which has not been very often at all), I've been somewhat disappointed. The fries haven't been bad, necessarily, but they never quite rose to my ridiculous expectations.
And the duck-fat fries at TAG were no exception. I asked for the fries as a side; even though they don't appear that way on the menu, my server told me that I could get them that way, which was a nice touch. They arrived (sans sparklers, fireworks or hundies) in a little chromium box lined with wax paper, spilling over the top like a bouquet of deliciousness. Another nice touch. But then I tasted my first fistful (restraint never having been my strong point), and they were nothing more than good. Not great. Not earth-shaking. Not resplendent in their awesomeness. They were nice fries, touched with sugar, fried just right. But given how Guard makes the best rice I've ever had, I was hoping he might do the same for duck-fat fries.
Still, if the worst a restaurant does is not live up to my admittedly wild and irrational expectations for a single dish, it's doing pretty damn well for itself. With TAG, Troy Atherton Guard has finally found a space he can call his own — one where his unique style and many influences all come together into a nearly seamless whole, a true fusion restaurant where the whole is far greater than the sum of its far-flung parts.
And that ain't bad for one weird white boy serving fish in a basement.