If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me who makes the best french fries in New York, I'd be a rich man. Well, maybe I wouldn't be a rich man, but I'd have enough money to buy some french fries at Per Se, where, if they were for sale, they would cost a lot.
Anyway, french fries are one of those things chefs and cooks don't have to spend a lot of money on to make well. The ingredients, are, well, the ingredients. All french fry makers use potatoes, salt, and some kind of oil. Occasionally, cooks might throw in some fresh herbs, but that's it. So there's really no such thing as heritage fries or artisanal fries or chefified fries of any stripe.
So I've been thinking long and hard about who makes the best french fries in the Big Apple. So far I have not been able to home in on a single candidate, so I've decided to ask the Serious Eats community to help me in my quest in identifying the best french fries in New York. We may not end up with a consensus winner, but in the process we'll put together a terrific list of places you can get french fries in Gotham.
Remember, we're talking regular french fries, anywhere from a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick, potatoes that are blanched and then fried twice and salted. We'll allow some fresh herbs or Old Bay seasoning, but that's it. The fries on my list are so good they don't even need ketchup. Shoestring fries, even the really, really good ones served at the Spotted Pig and Pearl Oyster Bar, don't count. We can have a separate vote for those if need be.
Here's my admittedly incomplete New York French Fry Honor Roll.
- Balthazar and Schiller's (same executive co-chefs)
- Artisanal Bistro
- Union Square Cafe
- DB Bistro Moderne
- Lure Fishbar
- Maremma (Cesare Casella's justifiably famous Tuscan fries)
- Porter House New York
- Blue Ribbon (and all its french frying offshoots)
- Five Guys
- The Farm on Adderley (New York magazine's 2007 choice for best fries)
- Pomme Frites
- Coco Pazzo and Fred's at Barney's
- Nice Matin
- Fairway Cafe
- Five Points, Cookshop, Provence
I'm also awarding two newcomers, Market Table and Shorty's.32, the Rookie French Fryers of 2007.
Please, Serious Eaters, add to my list. We need to know where every great french fry is in New York.