Fry This!

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Pommes Frites

Vive la poutine! Five cold and fabulous years spent in Montreal made me dependent on this mishmash of fries, cheese curd and gravy. It will cure all that ails you, while clogging arteries and making you a shoe-in for a triple bypass in the future. I find it only fitting that we chose the first of many slushy and cold days ahead to review Pomme Frites ... a Belgian fry joint in the East Village that claims to offer the true Canadian poutine along with the myriad of specialty mayonnaise that accompanies their main event of Pomme Frites. Poutine's origins are said to hail from the 1950's in a Quebecois diner. While this may be the truth as many other websites may cite, I prefer to believe in a more romantic origin. This foodstuff is what kept the French settlers warm during those brutal winters in the 1800's. The Voyageurs as they were called fur trapped their winters away, warm in their belly's and hearts thanks to the dead weight of this congealed fried mess. And what a lovely fried mess it was and continues to be.

The poutine stays true to its original format. The poutine consists of thick double fried pommes frites, meticulously layered with white cheese curd
(processed mozzarella you'd find on a plate of disco fries at 2:30 AM in a generic Jersey Diner this isn't) and a chicken based gravy (to be honest a true sauce should have the natural salting of a pork broth, but chicken is forgivable given the authentic curd).Served in the ubiquitous styrofoam container that all great poutines arrive in, it welcomes you for the first bite of the perfect melding of flavors, that leads to the engulfing of this simple delectable mess. While this poutine is above par considering it was assembled in Manhattan and not served somewhere between Montreal and Quebec City, it still will never come close to my gustatory memoirs of La Belle Province. However, it's fair to say its worth the indulgence and elicits a frerehood avec Les Voyageurs of the past. A must try and a highly recommended alternative to the regular fry fare offered.

The Belgian fries were served in the classic paper cone, reminiscent of the way they were served at pommes frites establishments I've visited in Europe (the paper itself is quite practical, as not only is it disposable, but it serves to wick away condensation and keep the fries from getting soggy too soon). The volume of fries was roughly equivalent to twice that of an order of McDonald's Large fries (note that this was the smallest order possible, the "Regular" size)--but this is where the comparisons to fast-food fries end.
What makes Belgian pomme frites unique is that they are fried twice--once to ensure the insides are thoroughly cooked, and a second time to ensure a crisp exterior. The potatoes are freshly peeled and completely skinned, which allows them to be twice-fried without causing them to be overcooked The fries are traditionally served with a European style mayonnaise, but a variety of over 20 sauces were available, ranging from such unique choices as Rosemary Garlic Mayo to a Satay Peanut sauce to a Mango Chutney Mayo, and "classic" ones such as malt vinegar, mustard, and of course, ketchup.

(Why she doesn't need a boyfriend)

We opted for the Rosemary Garlic Mayo sauce with our order of fries. While lightly salted, the fries maintained their unique texture combination of extra crispness on the outside and soft (but not soggy) warmth on the inside. After enjoying the first few fries naked, the time came to dip them in the special mayo sauce. The rosemary garlic blend in the mayo was extremely satisfying and complemented the fries perfectly, the depth of the flavor making the American custom of dipping fries in ketchup seem bland and boring by comparison.

The sensation of the mayo-dipped fries on the taste buds is instantly unlike any other and superior to any of my previous experiences with fries. Going back to ketchup as the sauce of choice will be difficult for you after you experience flavored mayonnaise in all its goopy glory. Truth be told, my only issue with the fries was that the more-than-generous portion size resulted in several wasted and soggy fries as you moved to the bottom of the cone, but it's a minor complaint, considering that most diners stomachs' will be more than satisfied by the time they polish off just half of the "regular" size fries.

All in all, we wouldn't recommend having both an order of Poutine and Belgian fries in one sitting, because while absolutely delicious, it's a digestive disaster waiting to happen; but, as your resident reviewers, it is up to us to suffer for your collective delight. Pommes Frites is an excellent choice for lunch, dinner, and a late night snack (open until 3:30 AM on the weekends).

(Why our parents came to this country--so we could experience things such as these)

Restaurant Website



Blogger Fat Asian Baby said...

god, i'm hungry.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want you to take me to this haven of poutine goodness in the heart of Manhattan next time I come to town! I am convinced! Being of Montreal descent, I fully believe in Preethi's poutine opinions.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dat look pety good bu i dink dat i ned

10:20 PM  

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