While I'm breaking one of my own rules by reviewing this eatery as it doesn't specifically have gluten notations on the menu or website, I was eager to visit Pommes Frites, a very cute, very small fry shop on the lower west side. (123 2nd Ave, Astor Place stop on the 6.)
(I'm tempted to write "French fry shop", but Pommes Frites makes it very clear that they are selling Belgian fries.)
When I first read of it online, I had the usual Celiac response of oh, wonderful, another restaurant that my salivary glands can only dream of enjoying.
Plain fries are good and all, but if the option of slathering them in a sauces called "Sweet Mango Chutney Mayo", "Parmesan Peppercorn", and "Vietnamese Pineapple Mayo", is available, why settle for plain potatoes?
However, I was sure that these tantalizing options most likely contained some kind of modified food starch-perhaps a greater enemy to a Celiac than wheat. More hidden. Tends to be craftier.
But, lo and behold, after emailing Pommes and inquiring about the gluten content of its fabulous litany of dipping sauces, I was happily informed that all of the sauces are indeed gluten free! Could it be true? "Rosemary Garlic Mayo" could be mine?
Pommes' sign could get lost in the busy cluster of storefronts surrounding it, but the line of patrons and smell of fresh fries emanating from the door leads one right to it.
The sign alone makes me want to parle francais.
Here's a better view of the store, plus a glimpse of their blackboard, deliciously listing the long list of fry sauces they offer.
Upon entering, I was struck with a deep whiff of salt and oil-
my taste buds began to salivate immediately.
It was quite crowded, but when I finally made my way to the counter, breeze after tantalizing breeze of fry-scent kept me in excited anticipation as I perused the list of dips (25!) and watched a batch of the spuds get fried and salted.
A fry-chef hard at work whipping up a batch.
From what I could glean, the fries are sliced in the back, then brought up and placed in the metal tin on the left. The cooks toss the uncooked potatoes into the first frier, then again, for a second oil bath, to make sure they have reached their crisp-potential.
I sampled the rosemary garlic mayo, sweet mango chutney and parmesan peppercorn, and of the three, the parmesan peppercorn was the far superior. I wasn't sure which was which when I first tasted them, because the Parm flavor was not overpowering at all. It was tangy, but sweet and smooth. When combined with the crisp, baby fries, I could have, like my father says,
died and gone to heaven.
The fries were perfectly crunchy, hot, and not too greasy, no small feat.
I also tried them with "frite sauce", but it tasted a bit too fatty and too much like pure mayo for my taste.
Altogether, my fries (regular sized) and sauce were a bargain $5.50.
Also, one more adorable detail about Pommes, their tiny tables in the back have holes cut into them to hold the fry cones!
If these fries had been included in the taste-test, they surely would have
beat out Mickey-D's as "America's Favorite Fry".
Also, "Celiac's Favorite Fry".