Hitting the Sauce: Ahoy! Fry Captain Returns to Dominate the D.C. Dipping Scene
Too many people have asked Fry Captain food truck mastermind Jake Sendar, “Just French fries? What else?”
They're missing the point. “Fries are a means of tasting the sauces," he explains. "And the cool thing about the sauces and seasonings is that it gives you a whole different meal every time. You can taste different cuisines and flavors from around the world.”
When I checked out the food truck at Franklin Park one recent sweltering afternoon, I tried a total of six different dips: buffalo mayo, sun-dried tomato ketchup, mango curry mayo, spicy chili ketchup, lemon garlic aioli, and sweet and smoky ketchup. Each fry dipped in the different flavors brought me from a plate of wings, to an Indian dish, to a backyard barbecue, to a tomato sandwich. So, yeah, Sendar was pretty successful in his dippy trip around the world. And, with the rainbow variety of 22 different sauces in steady rotation, he’ll keep you dipping indefinitely.
The night before the truck hits the streets, Sendar is in the kitchen with his gravy guru, chef Rusty Holman, to whip up, blend and tweak the ingredients of the Fry Captain’s sauce roster. The changing menu allows Sendar and Holman to get really experimental. I mean, marshmallow, anyone? While each sauce is unique in its flavor, they generally all have a common homemade mayonnaise or fresh tomato ketchup base.
The perfectly crisp fries make an ideal vehicle for sauce sampling. Stand out dips include the lemon garlic aioli and sun-dried tomato ketchup. Sendar named both of these varieties among the most complex and difficult to make. The finicky aioli required lemon zest to balance out the garlic. As for the sun dried tomato ketchup, well, Sendar's keeping that recipe secret. When I tasted them, the aioli’s fresh citrus flavor reminded me of summer sunshine, while the sun-dried tomato made an excellent and earthy alternative to Heinz 57.
As for future adventures on the saucy seas, Sendar revealed that he and Holman are working on a peanut sauce to debut this summer. In the meantime, hungry patrons can also look forward to a return of the popular Sriracha mayo, which might just compete with Sticky Rice’s mystery tater tot sauce.
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Photo by Samantha Le