Versus: Let the Chips Fall Where They May

The Dish

We're taking our snacking to the streets this week as we try to find the best place for taters straight out of the fryer. We entered this potato chip challenge thinking the victor would be an easy call, but ended with a rather unexpected decision. These Versus challenges don't often result in two worthy dishes. This week proved to be one of those rare occasions. 

Hard to go wrong with chips, cheese and bacon.
The Rivals

Matt's in the Market

94 Pike St., 467-7909

Forget snack. These ample-sized salt and pepper chips ($7) are a legitimate entree. Carved from skin-on russet potatoes and fried in peanut oil, Matt's potato chips are served along side a bubbling dish of bacon and caramelized onion dip made from a rather filling combination of cream cheese, Grana cheese, sour cream and mayo . The chips are golden with a hint of oil and lightly dusted with seasoning. They aren't as crisp as your traditional chip, but they do make the tastebuds tingle and they're hearty enough for the dip. Oh, and they're only available during lunch, just in time for that afternoon snack attack.

A half order of half-and-half.
Main Street Ale House

10111 Main St., Bothell, 425-485-2972

Despite the fact that neither our bartender nor the kitchen staff knew what kind of potatoes the chips were made from (Idaho spuds was the consensus), or what type of oil they were fried in (one server guessed a combination of vegetable and canola), we enjoyed these crispy slices of mystery more than we thought we would. You can order a full or half-sized portion ($4.50) of either original or spicy chips. We went with our server's suggestion of a half portion divided between both flavors, which was more than enough for two people. Dipping sauces also come in two flavors: ranch and the ale-mustayo -- a satisfying mix of mustard, mayo and beer. These chips are one of the most sought-after items on the Main Street menu, and now we know why.

The Champ

There's no question that if we were picking our favorite dish, Matt's in the Market would win hands down. But since we are here to judge the integrity of the chips alone, we have to give this Versus round to Main Street Ale House. Their chips are weightless and crispy without being chewy or bogged down the by slightest drop of oil. These chips stand alone, sans dipping sauce, with a fresh flavor and texture that brings forth the kind of fervent enjoyment that tempts other patrons to order a basket for themselves. We are looking forward to making the drive to Bothell again just so we can bury ourselves in another basket. This time, a full order.

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