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Maybe I’m just paying more attention these days to how restaurants cut costs while still trying to provide a modicum of originality, but recently I’ve noticed a mini-trend of house-made potato chips.
I first spotted these fried snacks at Hank’s Tavern & Eats in Hyattsville, where Chef Geoff’s team serves a fairly tame basket of barbecued chips.

But during the holiday break, I ordered a plate of waffle-cut potato chips from the Corner Bistro in McLean, which, despite its name, is a kindly neighborhood wine bar that mixes tapas with a smattering of French country dishes. Don’t ask me why such a place serves potato chips, or even why I ordered them, but they do and I did. I regretted it. The chips (pictured above) looked undeniably mouthwatering when the waiter dropped them off, but they were oily, soggy, and under-salted. They had all the crunch of wet cardboard.

A few days later, a friend ordered a barbecue chicken sandwich at Black’s Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda, which came with house-made potato chips. The fried potato slices were everything you’d want from a chip: thin, crispy, spuddy, and salty. They were, in fact, far better than the gloppy sandwich, which I have to admit induced a gag reflex on first bite. I won’t gross you out with the details on that one.