Pretty much every restaurant makes french fries. Some are steak fries, some are shoestrings, some are straight-sided. But only a tiny handful make fries of any kind that can truly be called perfect: light, crispy, salty, evanescent.
French fries are the ultimate walking-around food, and this temple of frites might be the ultimate source for them. The twice-fried potatoes come in paper cones with a choice of dipping sauces, and you buy them from a window, pay, and then walk away, happy and greasy.
What can you say? It never changes, it never falters, and it's always jammed. If it wasn't such a slavish tribute to Paris brasseries, you could even call it the ultimate New York restaurant. Certainly, it's a hell of a lot better than the places in Paris that it emulates.
While most famous for its wonderful lobster roll, Pearl is primarily an oyster bar, and few places serve the things, cold and on the half shell, better.
Jimmy Bradley's The Harrison is more or less a downtown mirror image of his famous Red Cat in Chelsea -- only bigger, better, hipper, and more refined. Bradley, one of the city's great old-school restaurant guys, is an expert hand in both front and back of the house management, and as a result the food -- high quality, nice looking, unadventurous American -- is totally reliable, along with the service. The big bar makes a great place to stop in and have a solo dinner without anybody hassling you.
April Bloomfield broke out of The Spotted Pig's gastropub mold in this equally robust but more ambitious eatery.
Most brasseries center on steak frites, but this place really takes it to an extreme: they literally serve nothing else. The steak is just ok, but the fries are copious and superb, and the sauce just makes the whole thing.
It's best known for its pastrami, but the really interesting thing for me are the original takes on Jewish food -- from a smoked chicken with rye gnocchi to a veal-laded kasha varnishkes.
This tiny East Village hole in the wall pulls off a comfort food hat trick unmatched in New York City: a world-class hamburger, a top flight pizza, and a grade A fried chicken. The pork chop is pretty good too. The only thing missing is hard liquor.
Conceived as a classic, old New York hangout, The Dutch delivered on its promise with a swinging crowd, a good, eclectic menu, and a first-rate cocktail program. Stop in for oysters or a steak, or, if it's available, chef Andrew Carmellini's fabulous fried chicken.