Tag Archives: fries

Balthazar

In all my years in NYC, I never tried Balthazar until last night. I had heard all the great stories: awesome steaks, awesome fries, awesome bread. Only one of those is true, but there are other things worth noting.

My wife and I stopped in for a quick meal at the bar. We started with some nice stiff cocktails, and a pair of apps: escargots and steak tartare. BIG FRENCH.

The escargots were awesome. We crushed them quickly. The tartare was average to good, but the slices of toasted bread were awesome. In fact, the Balthazar bread is so good that other restaurants use Balthazar bread for their bread service.

For our mains, we had the burger and the steak frites.

The burger was really good. Nice crust, great flavor, ample cheese coverage.

The steak, however…

… was Applebees level trash. It was cooked nicely, but the quality was average at best.

I can make anything look good, but this was a 5/10 or 6/10 at best. At $42 this felt like a rip off, and I think it was either flank or flatiron. Not strip as I was kind of expecting. The fries were very good, but not quite at awesome level. Go across town to Raoul’s if a killer burger and steak frites is what you’re after. Here, I would stick to the bread, the burger, and the snails. And yes, the fries are still worth trying if you haven’t already.

BALTHAZAR
80 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

NOLA Po’Boys

This little joint is the perfect spot to stagger into for some great drunk eats after hitting Bourbon Street. The po’boy is pretty good, despite not being on the traditional French bread.

This pile of meat really hit the spot though. It’s braised beef in roux gravy, on top of cheese fries. It’s like a NOLA poutine!

NOLA POBOYS
908 Bourbon St,
New Orleans, LA 70116

Au Cheval Diner

I finally made it over to Au Cheval Diner in Tribeca. I’ve had the bacon, the burger and the French dip prime rib sandwich at their sister restaurant, 4 Charles, so I’ll just dump some pics of those here and focus on the new items that I tried. These were all just as great as they are at 4 Charles, so if that’s what you want to get at 4 Charles, just come here and save yourself the headache of fruitlessly trying to score a reservation at 4 Charles.

The bologna sandwich with melted cheese is awesome. Simple and delicious.

The wings are great and crispy, but they were a little bit over sauced.

These hash browns with duck heart gravy were insanely good. Make sure you get these.

The fries were perfect as well, but I didn’t shoot them.

This marrow is great too, especially when smeared onto that buttery toast that comes with it.

I’ll definitely be back!

AU CHEVAL DINER
33 Cortlandt Alley
New York, NY 10013

Cliff’s Rendezvous

I used to hit this place way back, about 20 years ago or more. It’s out in Riverhead, Long Island.

This place is known for their special marinade, which they apply to both their steaks and burgers upon request. I always liked the flavor they got with it – definitely some soy and worcestershire happening. The sugars in it make for a really charred crust.

And a delicious puddle of juices at the bottom.

I really like it. For $15 (lunch portion, about 12-14oz), you can’t go wrong. What would be a 7/10 gets bumped to an 8/10 due to the value here.

The patty melt is a pass, however. Unless you switch it up from Swiss to something like American. The cheese was just too overboard.

I loved the 5-olive martini though.

Next time you’re out this way, give Cliff’s a shot.

CLIFF’S RENDEZVOUS
313 E Main St
Riverhead, NY 11901

Ardyn

I finally got a chance to check out Ardyn, the restaurant that former Charlie Palmer Steakhouse chef Ryan Lory opened in the west village.

The space is beautiful, with a rustic, woodland feel to the dining room.

There’s also a beautiful bar with great cocktails and $1 happy hour oysters from 5-7pm (along with drink specials).

We started with a couple of raw fish dishes. Hamachi tartare and fluke crudo.

Both were awesome and pretty, but if I had to choose one to go back to repeatedly, it would be the hamachi.

Chef Ryan is becoming known for his gorgeous plating – very aesthetic. He also became known for his 50/50 burger at Charlie Palmer. It’s 50% smoked bacon and 50% brisket, with some dry-aged wagyu trim and fat in there to take it over the top.

The only down side here was the thickness of the pickled tomato slice. Half the thickness would be perfect, but that acidy pop did do a great job of cutting the buttery fatness of the rich and well-seasoned burger.

Make sure you don’t neglect the fries here with your burger. They’re amazing and possibly some of the best I’ve ever had.

All the sides were nice, in fact, from the shishitos to the carrots to the greens.

The pastas here are also excellent. We tried two: ramp garganelli with morels, and squid ink cavatelli with uni cream.

It was tough to choose a favorite between the two perfectly cooked and plated pastas, so I suggest getting both if you have room.

But the mains really shined.

First, this absolutely stunning duo of duck containing crispy sliced breast and a house made sausage.

The breast was nice but the sausage stole the show – like when Lex Steele stars in a porno flick with some ugly broad that has gross fake tits.

Of course we had to try the 45-day dry-aged Snake River Farms domestic wagyu rib eye.

This thing was incredible. It had a sexy, deep brown maillard crust on the surface and a rare cook beneath. You can still see the flecks of marbling in the flesh! It could have been cooked slightly longer, but the beef was so high quality that you could eat it like this even without the fat fully rendering out. 9/10.

Dessert was equally stunning. This choclate layer cake with pistachio ice cream was really rich and moist, like Paris Hilton in 2003.

This custard was light yet very satisfying.

And this asian style grapefruit/pomelo dessert was just the right kind of acidy and citrusy way to end the meal with a cleansed palate.

I definitely recommend this place. And if you want a seat close to the action, head to the back and pop your ass onto one of the stools that faces into the kitchen. Be warned though – it’s warm back there!

ARDYN
33 W 8th St
New York, NY 10011

Houseman

I saw some Instagram photos of a great looking burger from this joint, so I had to go check it out.

The Houseman burger is a double patty with melted swiss, griddled onions and mushrooms, all cooked perfectly and slapped in a toasted potato bun.

Really flavorful, and dangerously easy to crush two or three of these in one sitting. For $20 it comes with fries, and you can get a $2 beer with it as an add on. Great deal.

HOUSEMAN
508 Greenwich St
New York, NY 10013

Chumley’s

I finally made it into the “new” Chumley’s to try the burger. Despite my depression over the massive change this place underwent, the joint is still really cool. I’m also happy it’s back open after all that time being shuttered.

But it no longer feels like a bar. It feels like a restaurant, and the menu reflects that.

As you can see from the menu description, this baby is rocking bone marrow, crispy shallots, “Chumley’s sauce,” and good old American cheese. The burger itself is two large patties. Although it’s a bit unwieldy to eat with your hands, it’s huge on flavor. It was absurdly delicious. Rich, heavy, and robustly flavorful.

 

The marrow really adds a depth of beefiness that’s unrivaled in other burgers, and the Chumley’s sauce tastes almost like a gravy of sorts. I think this would be fine as a single patty, but at $29 you’re certainly getting your money’s worth. Especially considering that they give you a mountain of delicious, golden-crisp French fries that have been tossed in beef fat after they come out of the fryer. Awesome.

This burger is definitely worth getting.

CHUMLEY’S
86 Bedford Street
New York, NY 10014

Top 5 Potato Sides at NYC Steakhouses

A little break from steak
to give you my take
on the best joints that make
taters: fried, mashed or baked.

Actually I’m going to nix mashed. You see, my mom makes the ultimate mashed potatoes. Insanely creamy and smooth, buttery, and riddled with melted mozzarella. Nothing I’ve ever had in the mashed potato realm even comes remotely close to that shit.

But I do have five favorite potato dishes from steak joints to share with you. These aren’t in any particular order, so don’t go reading into shit.

Boucherie’s French Fries

These fucking things are simply perfect. They’re hands down the best French fries I’ve ever had. There’s some sort of crispy and mildly spicy batter on the outside that gives them an extra crunch, while retaining a soft and smooth inside. Amazing.

Le Rivage’s Potatoes Au Gratin

Okay this isn’t a steak joint, but since Chef Paul is basically extended family to Pat LaFrieda, the meats you get here are immaculate (especially the French Onion Soup Burger). As such this is an honorary steak joint in my eyes. The potatoes? Insanity. I’ve had a lot of great gratins in my day, but this shit is next level. Go get it.

Apologies for the buffoonery in this photo. I didn’t get a shot of the taters myself, but my friend Mike from Gotham Burger Social Club managed to capture them in the foreground of this photo a little bit before we ruined it.

WAIT! Found one. Thanks Chef Paul!

Michael Jordan’s Hasselback Potatoes

This baby is not advertised on the regular menu, so you have to ask for it. It’s pre-sliced, fried, baked, covered with melted cheese, topped with sour cream, bacon, chives… I mean… It’s like a roid-raging unicorn baked potato streaking through the quad while on acid and cocaine at the same time. It’s fucking awesome.

Keen’s Prime Rib Hash Browns

This is one of the biggest portions of potato and meat you can get. The meat is their amazing prime rib, chopped up and worked into a hash brown that will leave you craving more every day of your life. They’re only offered on the brunch or bar menu, but if you ask nicely the waitresses/waiters will hook you up in the main dining room.

Pro Tip: order a few of these to take home with you and throw in the freezer. They heat up nice for future indulging.

“Rocco’s Fries”

I’m a sucker for a good potato chip. Sometimes I will even hand cut potatoes to about 3mm thick and roast in the oven with herbs, spices and oils to make a thick chip at home, but very rarely do I see anything similar at a restaurant. Rocco’s comes pretty damn close to it, and I really have to sing their praises for being so bold as to put something as simple and delicious as potato chips on their menu. These are their “Rocco’s Fries:”

I even used them as a vehicle for eating their creamless creamed spinach, which was excellent (top five creamed spinach post coming soon, no doubt).

That about does it. Starch it up, you fuckers! And while you’re at it, you should add Bistrot Leo’s mille feuille style fried potatoes to your list, as well as the pommes dauphines from Ai Fiori that come with their delicious White Label burger. Insanity!

Nice Matin

My wife and I were recently invited into Nice Matin to help promote their Provencal menu in their celebration of Bastille Day.

I’ll say this: Nice Matin is the best French joint in the restaurant group’s ownership among other French joints (L,Express, Cafe D’Alsace, and Le Monde).

We tried a few small bites and drinks from that menu, and, of course, the strip steak frites from the regular menu.

First, we started with some Ricard, which was sponsoring the evening’s French kick-off night. Some diners win goodie bags, and you can enter for a chance to win a trip to France.

Tapenade:

Mussels:

Squash Blossom Beignets:

Onion Tart:

All of those were on the special menu, and all were really good. I think the favorites, for me, were the onion tart and the tapenade, but the squash blossoms were really light and tasty and the mussels were really nice.

The steak was a solid 8/10. The meat was super tender, and I really only took points off because the cook was a little bit over what I asked (medium rare).

The fries were perfectly cooked, but the addition of the Provencal herbs (like lavender) was a little bit aggressive.

For dessert we tried a sesame panna cotta and an olive oil cake. Both were really great, both flavor-wise and texture-wise.

Also, really nice bread here. Warm and tasty.

I definitely recommend this joint for anyone looking for some good classic French fare in the neighborhood.

NICE MATIN
201 W 79th St
New York, NY 10024

Jeffrey’s Grocery

My cousins and I popped in here for a quick lunch yesterday, and I have to say, I was really impressed with the burger here.

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It’s topped with melty raclette cheese, charred onions, fresh pickles and remoulade, and served on a potato onion roll. This thing was juicy, well seasoned, just the right thickness with toppings, and just all-around well put together.

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It’s definitely a top ten burger, for sure. I later learned that this joint is also owned by the same folks that run Bar Sardine, so they clearly know their way around a burger. For $18, this baby comes with nice golden, crisp, natural cut French fries too.

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They have tons of fresh shellfish on the menu, and particularly large variety of oysters. Those would actually pair perfectly with the drink I had, the michelada, which is beer, tomato juice, hot sauces, lime juice and pepper. It may not sound great, but I assure you, it is.

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I’ll be back here for sure.

JEFFREY’S GROCERY
172 Wavery Pl
New York, NY 10014