Tag Archives: fries

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

The Villager

The Villager is a bar out in Babylon, near the train station. After a group of us spent the day drinking out at the wineries on Long Island’s north fork, we came here to get some grub. I have to say: I was pretty surprised at how good the food was. I was not expecting much. Shame on me for assuming shit.

The group started with an order of gouda fries. They were waffle style – nice and crisp – and covered with melted gouda, crumbled bacon and scallions.

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I ordered the breakfast burger, which was topped with American cheese, bacon and a fried egg, served on a toasted English muffin.

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Since I wasn’t sure what kind of place this was before ordering, I went with medium on the cook. I was kicking myself once I tasted the quality of the meat. I should have gone medium rare. It was still fucking fantastic though, and it came with a side of tater tots.

My wife ordered the duck burger, which was topped with gruyere and applewood smoked bacon. She, too, ordered it medium. The burger was cooked perfectly and had a hearty flavor to it, but, as a result of the medium poultry, was a bit on the dry side.

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I will definitely be back here, and next time I will order properly at medium rare for my burger.

THE VILLAGER
262 Deer Park Ave
Babylon, NY 11702

Parm

My wife and I stopped in here on a Friday night for a quick meal at the bar. We heard great things but never had a chance to try before.

We ordered three items: meatballs, fried calamari with shishito peppers, and the Randy Levine sandwich, which came with fries.

First, let’s start with the weirdly named item: the Randy Levine. It’s a sandwich made of pork belly, plum sauce, Chinese mustard, half-sour pickles and garlic bread. It’s named after something that the president of the Yankees had once eaten in the Catskills.

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Unfortunately the “slow cooked” pork belly was a bit too chewy. I attribute that to fat content that was not cooked long enough at low temperatures to get good and soft. Also the glaze on it tasted a bit bitter and burnt. Bummer.

The fries that came with it, however, were excellent. They’re called “Italian fries” because they’re tossed with herbs and parmesan cheese, I suspect. Nicely cooked and crisp, golden brown.

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The meatballs were great, and I’m a stickler for these fucks. Nothing beats mom’s meatballs. Since these came off as the soft, long-cooked stewed kind, I did find it odd that the center looked medium rare. That had me concerned about whether they used veal or pork in the mix. In any case, no tummy aches from raw meat, and the flavors were great – even the red sauce. It was light and flavorful. Still though: the best way to make a meatball is to fry them in a pan first, get a crispy coating on the outside that locks in the juices, and then slow cook in the sauce on low for a while.

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The star of the meal for my wife (for me it was the meatballs) was the fried calamari with shishito peppers. They had a great crispy crust, a good ratio of rings to tentacles, and the peppers offered a great pop of flavor to mix things up.

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All in the bill came to $85 with tax and tip, which also included a beer and a glass of wine. A bit pricey, but at least three of the four items we ate were tasty.

PARM
235 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023

The Malt House

I came to this cool village joint for a press dinner.

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The interior is like an old world tavern, with lots of exposed brick, warm tones and wood beams on the ceiling.

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The beer selection is really great, both on tap and in bottles/cans.

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Chef Armando cut his teeth at STK and Five Napkin Burger before taking on the executive chef role at both this Malt House location and the newly opened, massive Financial District location.

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The bar room is really well apportioned, with an L-shaped stretch that also has some tabletop seating nearby. At happy hour they offer nice food selections and cheap drink options, along with dollar oysters! There’s also a full menu at the bar for the other eats, and they offer flights of beer (four for $10), American whiskey and Scotch whisky.

Here’s what we had on our press tasting:

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All the apps came out on a big platter, with the exception of the mussels, of course:

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The onion rings had a nice bacon flavor to them. They were fluffy without being too bready, and the onion inside was cooked through.

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The baked, fried and grilled wings were excellent – the best of the “fried stuff,” for sure. They had a mild buffalo spiced roquefort sauce on them, but that didn’t take away any of the crisp to the skin.

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One of the more unique items on the menu is the fried cheese curds. You just don’t see them all that much around here. They were like small bite-sized bits of “cheese sticks,” only less melty and more airy and bready.

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The fried pickles were crispy as hell! They were sliced paper thin first, and then battered and fried. These went nicely with the homemade ranch sauce.

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The ranch sauce, by the way, was the best of the three sauces we had (the other two: a house sauce that was similar to thousand island, and a chipotle mayo).

The star of the openers, however, was the crock of mussels that were steamed in a sauce made from roasted tomatoes, chorizo, garlic, herbs (rosemary, for one) and white wine. Delicious.

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Chef Armando hits back to back home runs with the burger and the mahi mahi tacos when it comes to the entrees.

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The burger is a blend of short rib, chuck and brisket that makes for a tender, juicy and superbly flavorful patty of beef. Topped with onion marmalade, pickles, bacon, lettuce, red onion and cheese, you really can’t go wrong.

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The fries on the side, however, were a little bit lacking in comparison to the incredible burger. Not as crispy as I like, and a little heavy on the grease flavor. The truffle fries had a better crisp to them, but I didn’t get much of the truffle flavor, and they were cut a little thicker than I like for French fries.

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The tacos are super refreshing, with really nicely cooked fish and fresh ingredients. I’d definitely go back for these.

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We seriously tasted an astonishing amount of food on this press event. Next was the open-faced strip steak sandwich on a French baguette, topped with melty gruyere, red onion and arugula.

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The steak was pre-sliced but thick, making it good for the open-faced, knife-and-fork format.

The lobster mac and cheese was topped with a generous portion of lobster claw and tail meat, and it had the flavor of truffle oil to bring some earthiness into the dish.

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We even tried a salad with grilled chicken. Pretty good. It was nicely dressed and the chicken breast was perfectly cooked.

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For dessert, we sampled both the creme brûlée and the chocolate cake. My favorite between the two was the creme brûlée. It was smooth and creamy, nice and evenly textured.

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The chocolate cake was served warm, with a scoop of house made vanilla on the side.

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The cake was slightly dry, but the ice cream was a good way balance that: eat some ice cream with each bite of cake, and problem solved.

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But what can I say: The Cake Dealer really spoils me when it comes to cake and bake.

To sum up: I’ll definitely be back here for some drinks, burgers and tacos. Great shit. Awesome US craft beer selection (like Bourbon County) that rotates out often, and excellent burgers. Most likely I will come for happy hour and indulge in some dollar oysters too.

THE MALT HOUSE
206 Thompson St.
New York, NY 10012