Wine and cheese is certainly a staple pairing, but what about wine and french fries?


At BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica, general manager Kevin Travis advises customers to take the culinary leap. He suggests coupling the restaurant's truffle cheese fries with a nice Syrah or an Italian wine.


"I would go for something meaty and spicy, especially with the truffles, with the richness of the food," said Travis.


And diners are beginning to take Travis up on his high-carbohydrate offer, thanks largely to the decline of the Atkins diet craze.


"Definitely in the last four to five months, I have been starting to see more of an increase in dishes like that gaining in popularity. Before that, dishes like that would sit there on the menu, now the same ones are exploding," Travis said.


At Agoura Hills steakhouse Chapter 8, executive chef Eddy Shin said sales of potatoes at the restaurant were at an all-time low two years ago, but potatoes have made a decided comeback since then.


With the appeal of Atkins fading, Shin and Travis said that Angelinos' diets have changed to accommodate potatoes. "People are tired of doing the same old routine, and they are seeing with their diets, it is not about cutting things totally out, it is more about moderation," said Travis.


The interest in potato dishes has given restaurants room to create innovative concoctions. At Chapter 8, there are eight kinds of such dishes available, including fries with parmesan cheese and garlic salt, twice-baked truffle potatoes, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and potatoes au gratin.


Shin's favorite is the twice-baked truffle potato. The insides of the potato are infused with truffle pieces and truffle oil, and then poured into an empty potato skin, which is re-baked for 20 minutes.


BOA added the $9 truffle fries appetizer and $13 "nachos" made with Yukon Gold potato chips and black truffle cheese just a few months ago.


"These are different from the bland (dishes.) With the truffle cheese, it adds that sophistication to the dish," said Travis.


So much for the lowly spud.

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