My Choice for Top Fry
I wouldn't normally associate French fries with baseball, or at least enough to give them too much thought seeing as how the staple food of much critique (and sometimes lament) would obviously be the hot dog. But with so many options at Nats Park, I decided to give them all a whirl and came to a surprising conclusion for Top Fry: Cantina Marina.
Although Boardwalk Fries in the main pavilion would seem to take the blue ribbon -- I mean, the whole reason for its existence is the fry itself. Or maybe it's boardwalks, I dunno -- I was amazed when I ordered from Cantina!
Now, before I go further, I realize that folks like their fries all sorts of different ways: thick-cut/less-fried, skinny/crispy, etc. So I'm not going to try to speak for every fan here, and please feel free to share your opinion.
But the way they do them at Cantina was, in my opinion, perfect: medium-cut fresh potatoes fried to a textured/crispier outside and then sprinkled with seasoned salt that has just the right amount of kick to it. What's more is that they stayed hot and crispy for almost 20 minutes. (I kept having to interrupt my munch-fest due to things such as the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and other honoree-type moments where I felt stuffing my face was not so appropriate.) I almost got a second order and did without my usual all-the-way half smoke, and that's saying a lot!
Before I ordered these palatial pommes, I chatted with the gents behind the counter about their business, which, as it turns out, has been going rather slowly so far. I guess the appetite for Cajun crab cakes doesn't really compare with the other Nats Park fare. Additionally, there's a lot of menu crossover, and people are entering the park smack dab in Chili-and-Fry Land. Trekking all the way to the Center Field concourse -- and getting past the Red Porch without getting distracted -- might be adding to Cantina's sales woes. But in this humble fan's opinion, the CM is where it's at for fries, and I hope everyone gets a taste before the principles of supply-and-demand jeopardize the D.C. waterfront stalwart's sister location.
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