One Trick Pony
There’s something great about doing one thing and doing it well. That’s why I love Pommes Frites.
Yes, this is coming from the same guy who nearly blew a gasket last week about chefs reworking one ingredient into three preparations. But this is different.
Pommes Frites is a postage stamp-sized shop on 2nd Avenue in the East Village between St. Marks and 7th that specializes in Belgian french fries. And when I say “specializes,” I mean that it’s the only thing on the menu.
They make fantastic fries. They appear to be pre-blanched and finished to order, and then they’re served in paper cones. The extremely limited seating consists of benches and low tables that have holes drilled in them into which you can put your cone of fries (illustrated in my shitty iPhone photo above). The holes for the cones are charming beyond belief.
Good fries are always worth seeking out, but what is it that makes Pommes Frites so good that I dragged Mrs. TVFF down there for a special birthday treat, despite it being nowhere near our intended destination? Without a doubt, it’s the sauces.
Just how exciting can dipping sauces be? Well, let me tell you…Were you weirded out when you first saw Pulp Fiction and you heard about the mayo-on-french-fries thing? If you haven’t got past the idea of it yet, now’s the time. The sauces–some mayo based, some gravy based, some ketchup based and some just plain exotic–are the icing on the deep fried cake.
Everyone gets free “Especial” sauce, which is a small cup of ketchup, mayo and raw onions. But any self-respecting frites eater also needs to add at least one or two items from the list of over 25 other “tasty sauces.” Sure, they have cheddar cheese for the incurious, but there’s also peanut satay, parmesan peppercorn, sweet mango chutney mayo and more if you’re up for it.
Although I haven’t tried it there, they also serve the Quebecois specialty poutine, which is french fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. I suggest you order it “to go” and eat it as you walk to the closest hospital for your angioplasty.
If you find yourself downtown, be sure to stop by. It’s refreshingly nice to see a restaurant so sure of itself and its one product that it doesn’t feel the need to do anything else.
More: NYC Tour de Poutine