Thin-cut onion rings

Why are thin, crispy onion rings so hard to find?  Sure, I know about Mahoney’s ultra-thin onion shards, but the list of area restaurants frying up old-school o-rings is a short one. Thick, battered rings abound:  Liuzza’s, Rivershack, Mandina’s, and seemingly every other south Louisiana restaurant with a deep-fryer and a modicum of kitchen pride can turn out righteous thick rings.  Problem is, I don’t crave thick-cut rings.

What I crave are rings so thin-cut and lightly coated, the onion itself browns during cooking. The snowball stand/snack bar a few blocks from my house turned out a credible version before it imploded in a tragic grease fire several years ago; my taste buds still mourn the loss, while my arteries are eternally grateful.  My platonic ideal of thin-cut rings used to be found inside a greasy paper bag at Danny’s Fried Chicken in Galliano, LA.  Hand-cut, flour-dusted, and fried right up to the crunchy edge of burnt, these onion rings cooked into a tentacular mass of crisp, savory-sweet, salty, greasy goodness.  Pull one ring, and you ended up with a handful, which was good, because no one ever wanted one onion ring.  [The Danny’s outpost is no more; in its place is a short-order cafe with Mexican plate lunches, but that’s an entirely different post for another day.]

Happily, I discovered this weekend that Phil’s Grill (3020 Severn, Metaire; 504.621.3738) offers onion strings, pictured above, that fit the bill:  cut just thick enough to hold a light, seasoned-flour dusting yet thin enough to allow the onions to caramelize a bit.  The onion strings are available as an appetizer or a complimentary side with any burger.  Phil’s burgers leave me lukewarm, and I always seem to visit the place when it is stuffed to the rafters with vibrating 5-year-olds.  But I’ll definitely go back soon, just for the onion strings.

12 thoughts on “Thin-cut onion rings

  1. I hear you, Celeste. There was a restaurant in my hometown that closed a few years ago. They used to serve an “onion loaf”: thinly sliced, lightly battered onion rings stuffed into a fryer basket and fried crispy. They were brought to the table in the rectangular shape of the fryer basket and easily would have served 10 people. Now that they’re gone, thinly sliced rings are hard to come by. Can’t find a french dip sandwich to compare to theirs, either. French dip and crispy onion rings: a dream.

    • Damn, now I’m craving a french dip. I can’t think of a single place to get a good french dip. I need to remedy this deficiency!

  2. Need to look for places started by Greek’s. All the old burger places here in Lake Charles run by Greeks and there were half a dozen served thin sliced onion rings. The Greeks are gone but there are three places that are influenced by them still around. At one you can even get an egg burger (fried egg topped burger)

  3. Last time we were in town I was happy to find Rocky & Carlo’s revived. I always liked their frizzly onion rings. I know that’s on the far side of town from you but you never know when you might find yourself down in da parish and hungry.

    • When I’m down in da parish and hungry (not a very common happening), I usually end up at Capt Sal’s on Judge Perez, or I just drive over to Dong Phuong bakery.

  4. What a small world.
    I grew up in Galliano and used to call Danny’s just to hear the loud woman answer the phone. Good times.
    I do like Phil’s Grill lots — especially the build-a-burger. With onion strings, of course!

    • I’ll be really sad when the parish finally scrapes up the cash to replace the old Galliano pontoon bridge….the Larose bridge’s days are already numbered.

    • Mmm, thin-cut o-rings are the best, no? I haven’t had any for months; maybe if the weather cools a bit more, I’ll make a batch this weekend (so I can fry them outside; my indoor stove ventilation is entirely inadequate for the lovely aroma of frying onions).

  5. Frosto 50’s diner in Crowley, LA has always served thin onion rings and they go very well with their locally favorite hamburgers.

    • I’m filing that one for future reference. I always seem to get hungry when driving between Laffy & LC, so it’s good to know that thin o-rings can be found in Crowley.

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