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A Sincere Guide to New York French Fries

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Indulgence can be found in plenty of forms. My preferred luxury happens to be marked by a basket of fries, the batonnet cut of potatoes. The perfect hors d'oeuvre, snack, or appetizer for any time of day. A trusty bite for all those drunken nights and a cure for morning hangovers. Ever since the womb, fries have been a comforting staple to me. I truly believe a modern French fry can do no wrong. And yes, I understand I am making quite the fuss over such a simple pleasure, but I also believe I have the right to do so.

I’ve scoured through New York and jumped countless subway turnstiles to find the best fries this god forsaken city has to offer. To prove my love for deep-fried potatoes, I dedicated an entire Fryday and took a visit to six different restaurants to investigate and research my claims. What makes me qualified to judge the perfection of a French fry? Absolutely nothing.

Without further ado, I present to you my analysis of the greatest New York French fries – in no particular order.

56 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

I began my fries excursion at Alchemy, a casual all-day eatery and bar that serves gastropub fare inside of a wood-&-brick-lined interior. They also have a beautiful sunlit back garden if you happen to be into that. The ambience was lively, and I was seated right away. Served with a chipotle or garlic aioli, their fries were immediately mouth-watering. Perfectly crisp and salted appropriately. I can confidently say these French fries did the job.

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Pricing: $7

Qualities: crispy, golden brown, lightly salted

Serving size: 1-2 people

18 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

To add a bit of diversity onto this fry handbook, I’d like to welcome to the stage, waffle fries. Mother’s Ruin is a neighborhood lounge notable for bespoke cocktails, bar snacks & booze-filled slushies. Although it’s a rather intimate space, it’s filled with energetic conversations that echo across coved ceilings. These waffle fries are growers, not showers. At first bite, I wasn’t at all intrigued. But after several more, alongside their deliciously concocted caramelized onion dip, I couldn’t stop gorging myself. Every nibble was crisped to satisfaction.

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ✬ ☆

Pricing: $7

Qualities: very crispy, dark brown, incredibly salted, waffle-cut

Serving size: 2-3 people

250 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

Three-dollar French fries? In this economy? Please and thank you. Bronson’s Burgers’ skinny fries are simply delightful. So dainty, and to a degree, delicate among its competitors. Inside Bronson’s you’ll notice a cozy environment that is almost reminiscent of a beach burger shack.

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✬

Pricing: $3

Qualities: very crispy, golden, lightly salted, light & airy

Serving size: 1-2 people

1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

Onto The Smith, a nonchalant American brasserie with a considerable menu. This bistro is a rambunctious one. Loud and almost obnoxious, but in the most exciting way possible. A traditional serving of fries paired with ketchup, the American dream. Downstairs you’ll even find a photo-booth for your pleasure.

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Pricing: $10

Qualities: crispy, golden with shades of browning, expectedly salted

Serving size: 2-3 people

132 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

For those who are on the go, Bel-Fries is your one stop shop for a quick artisan treat. They challenge the origin of the French fry and state that Belgium was in fact the birthplace of this salty delicacy. Standing alone, these fries aren’t the most impressive, but soaked generously with one of their many sauces, these fluffy chips are more than addictive. Formulated with farm-fresh local produce and premium ingredients, Bel-Fries’ dips enhance the experience.

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Pricing: $7

Qualities: thick & fluffy, slightly crispy, golden with shades of browning, expectedly salted

Serving size: 1-2 people

20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

Last but certainly not the least, we have The Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel. This softly lit, airy lounge is filled with cozy couches. It’s sexy, novel, and playful. A superlative choice that merges sophistication with a casual setting. To support your vanity, The Lobby Bar also holds a film photobooth. By far, their French fries rank as my current favorite. Without a flaw, delectable, golden, and simply classic. The combination of these qualities gets a five star praise from me.

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Pricing: $8

Qualities: perfectly crispy, golden, lightly salted

Serving size: 1-2 people

Well, there you have it. My honest take on New York City French fries. Indulge yourself as much as you like. Just make sure you don’t fry yourself out.

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