The Rest of the “Best of”: Pretentious Pommes Frites
Written by Bwog Staff
| “French fries in a bowl,” circa 2006
The Wikipedia Collection
The smell of old grease wafting from Morningside’s finer college-grade establishments is irresistible in this indecisive weather. But which one to pick? The musty, fast-paced oil of HamDel? The old-fashioned, touristy lard of Tom’s? Or, the sushi-soba mix of M2M? In this installment of “The Rest of the Best of,” Bwog analyzes the gluttonous offerings of the area.
They’re classic, they’re expected, they’re from your home town. Tom’s McDonald’s-style fries are a pleasant American yellow, and once you’ve slipped a few into your mouth, it’s an easy, nostalgic ride. The fries are thin, well-salted, and horrifyingly greasy. The puddle left at the bottom of the dish at the end of our nutrient-deprived meal is more guilt-inducing than the threat of impending finals. They’re far from gourmet, but you’ve known that taste since you were born, and they’ve been served at diners across America. Rely on them for a quick, lazy, 3:00 AM fix.
This semi-subterranean bunker is known for swarming with doctors and athletes during peak hours, all ordering artery-clogging “Famous Hamburgers” and chicken-related hoagies. But what of the french fries? Simply append “deluxe” to the end of any order and you’ll be upgraded from a dripping, foil-wrapped package to a luxury aluminum container, complete with a patent-pending sogginess-enhancing plastic lid
All of this does wonders for the fries, which are anything but tasty. HamDel fries have the consistency of a baked potato. One Bwog associate, usually useful as a leftovers-consumer, described them as “chalky” and politely declined to finish the portion. In addition, during peak hours, the potatoes are pre-fried, which means by the time you’ve ordered, the french fries have probably been sitting around for a while. Nobody likes a stale, saltless french-fried potato, not even the chefs themselves: every order comes with several packets of (imposter) ketchup to add some much-needed flavor.
Finally, an establishment that knows its deep-fat frying techniques. These fries are the kings of Morningside. Crispy and chewy, perfectly wrapped in a golden-brown skin, these fries win the contest. They’re made to order, but are apparently double-fried, the way any decent recipe suggests. M2M doesn’t use quite enough salt, but the rich burnt Russet flavor more than makes up for it.
You won’t be cramming these masterpieces into your mouth as you run to class. It’s worth the time and effort to eat the fries one by one, savoring perhaps the only bargain delicacy in the area – at $2 for a generous portion, they beat all other prices. For your significant other’s next special occasion, forgo the cupcakes and cuddles for a disposable container of deliciousness. Thank us later.
Photos by AB