Few foods are as universally beloved as french fries, whether they're rendered in shoestring, steak frites or sweet potato form. In New York City, there's no need to be settle for a limp fast food fried potato when there are so many stellar french fry offerings around town. Here are our favorites; as always, leave yours in the comments.
Best Late Night Fries: POMMES FRITES
Pommes Frites earned our Best Fries title a few years back, and they've yet to fall out of favor/flavor. Their paper cone-wrapped Belgian fries are twice-fried, crispy and golden brown, and you can dip them in any of the million sauces Pommes Frites has on tap, like peanut satay, wasabi mayo and parmesan peppercorn. They're open until 1 a.m. if you need to stop in post East Village bar crawl; a regular cone runs $4.50, a large $6.25, and a double (for sharing...technically) is $7.25. Oh, and their poutine ($5.50-$6.50) is pretty good too, if you're into late-night Canadian fries smothered in cheddar cheese and gravy.
Pommes Frites is located at 123 2nd Ave between 7th Street and St. Marks Place in the East Village (212-674-1234, pommesfrites.com)
Best Duck Fat Fries: DUCK FAT FRIES AT NORTHERN SPY FOOD CO.
Duck fat fries are in vogue among foodiots, and no one's doing them better justice than this East Village eatery. Those bad boys are massive, parsley-sprinkled potato wedges cooked to a dark brown crisp and flavored with the decadent duck fat in which they're fried. A $6 side order comes paired with some savory malted-spice yogurt dipping sauce, so you can add even more salt to your dish if you so choose. Plus, Northern Spy Food Co. prides itself on using locally-grown, high quality ingredients, so you're doing yourself and local agriculture a world of good by consuming these fries. Or at least that's what you can tell yourself after you've helped yourself to three plates of them.
Northern Spy Food Co. is located at 511 East 12th Street between Aves A and B in the East Village (212-228-5100, northernspyfoodco.com).
Best Food Truck Fries: ITALIAN FRIES FROM SHORTY'S ON WHEELS:
Yeah, we know we can't stop yammering on about this food truck's Italian fries, but seriously, when cardboard boxes filled with those $5 fries enter our office on Wednesdays, time stops. The fries, doused with a generous handful of sharp Romano cheese, come sprinkled with dried Italian herbs and taste like what would happen if the King of Naples made a baby with a Pont Neuf street vendor, then spent 18 years teaching that baby how to cook a singular food masterpiece.
Miraculously, the incredibly generous portion of super crunchy fries stays tasty even after they've been sitting on your desk all day, making for an excellent snack after you've digested one of the truck's cheesesteaks.
If the truck doesn't motor over to your area (we're so sorry) they do offer the fries at their brick-and-mortar locations in FiDi, Hell's Kitchen and Flatiron.
Best Loaded Fries: CARNE FRIES AT CALEXICO:
As if fries weren't miraculously decadent enough, this Cali-Mex chainlet's gone and smothered them in guacamole, braised beef brisket, onions, black beans, cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream. And though all of those toppings seem like they'd make the fries sag like hot nacho chips, the chile-cilantro fries Calexico uses actually hold up under all those meaty, cheesy NOMs. The fries run $12 and are perfectly shareable, though there's no shame in devouring a plate on your own.
The Calexico truck stops at a number of locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and there are brick-and-mortar eateries in Greenpoint, Red Hook, Park Slope and on the Lower East Side; check out their website or follow them on Twitter for details.
Best Fast Food Fries: FIVE GUYS
In all honesty, this honor should probably go to McDonald's, because they do make the airiest, most savory fast food fries on the planet. But their employment policies leave a bad taste in our mouths, so instead the title goes to these relative newcomers to the New York scene. They're crispy, salty and cooked in peanut oil so you can pretend you're eating a healthy snack instead of a pile of cholesterol burned golden-brown potato product. If you're looking for a more adventurous fast food fry, they've also got a Cajun fry option that comes blackened and sprinkled with a fiery Cajun spice.
Five Guys has a number of locations in the city. Visit their website for details.
Best Fancy Fries: THRICE-COOKED CHIPS AT THE BRESLIN:
You have to order a $21 charbroiled lamb burger to get a helping of this frite masterpiece, but the Breslin, located at the ever-hip Ace Hotel, serves a stellar fry side well worth the price of the (admittedly also stellar) entree. As the name suggests, these fries are boiled then fried two delectably golden-brown times, keeping them thick and crisp. If you're a vegetarian, bring a carnivore, force them to get the lamb burger and then steal all their fries.
The Breslin is located inside the Ace Hotel at 20 West 29th Street between 5th Ave and Broadway in Flatiron (212-679-1939, thebreslin.com).
Best Sweet Potato Fries: HARVEST SWEET POTATO FRIES AT BAREBURGER:
The burgers at this organic micro-chain might succumb to mixed reviews, but the sweet potato fries they serve should not be doubted. Fries here are thin, crisp and strike the perfect balance between sweet and salty, with little specks of salt peppering the warm orange skin. $3.75 gets you a heaping plate of hot fries, and you can douse them in ketchup as you please—though, frankly, fries this good need only the gentlest Heinz dollop to keep up appearances.
Bareburger has a number of locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens; visit their website for details.