Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Max's Italian Beef

5754 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 989-8200

More fries this week---but not just any fries, Ghetto Fries, which are average, frozen fries made "ghetto" with the addition of Merkt's cheese sauce, giardiniera, chopped onions, "gravy" (I think this is just giardiniera oil), and barbecue sauce. They are available at Max's Italian Beef, a pretty typical Italian beef/Chicago dog restaurant across Western from the Rosehill Cemetery.



These things get way too much attention for being standard-issue fries with a bunch of cheap condiments on top (to be fair, they'll only cost you $3.15). They're allegedly named for a former employee who went by "Ghetto Girl" and are decidedly not an attempt tap into the always-profitable stereotype of poor people putting Merkt's on everything (cf. Hecky's Mutt; Ghetto Latte). Anyway, these are exactly the sum of their parts---I'm a little mystified by a place hanging their hat on a dish so easily replicated by anyone with access to a Fixins Bar, but they've been around for 50 years, I think the sweetness of the sauce, the sharpness of the cheese, and the saltiness of the fries are supposed to play off each other, but they didn't do that so much as just kind of decompose into a homogeneous mass.

One note: these were really, really greasy.



Adam tried these Loaded Fries, which are loaded---not with socioeconomic overtures---but mozzarella, onion, bacon, and ranch dressing. They, too, are an uninspired pile of stuff. Without a base of good fries, I don't see the appeal.

For what it's worth, they were less greasy.


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