“Pollo al ajillo (over fries)” at El Mio Cid in Bushwick
French fries are ubiquitous in Gotham. You can get them plain with several shakes of salt, or gobbed with all sorts of condiments. But lately Fork in the Road has been seeing them supplemented with other major ingredients, serving as a sort of spud launch platform, often rendering the fried potatoes as a starchy backdrop, and no longer quite the star of the show, but a co-star or even bit player.
Most recently, a dish with the biglot name of “pollo al ajillo (with fries) reared its sumptuous head at El Mio Cid, a rather obscure Spanish restaurant in Bushwick. The pale fries groaned under the weight of chicken strips in garlic sauce, which was really a thin brown gravy. The whole thing was quite tasty, in a belt-busting sort of way.
It got us to thinking about the other recent encounters with fries as a platform, in a new genre that might be termed “dressed fries.” Here are some further examples culled from the photo archives.
Covered with carefully carved franks, salchipapas are a staple of South American canteens, substituting fries for hot dog bun, here seen at Peruvian cafe Coney Island Taste.
One of the best examples of the dressed fry phenomenon is found at Mile End and Mile End Sandwich: smoked meat poutine, wherein the fried potatoes are nearly eclipsed by curd, gravy, and Canadian pastrami, making a meal so substantial, that two diners are required to finish it.
And one can imagine many more uses for fries in this format:
Foie Gras Fries — Uniting haute cuisine and street food in a single format
Spaghetti and Meatball Fries — With fries subbing for spaghetti, smothered in sauce, meatballs, and cheese
French Fry Nachos — The possibilities are endless, but let’s start with melted jack, fresh jalapenos, and pico de gallo
French Fry Pizza — Fries pressed into a pizza pan, crisped into a semblance of crust, and topped with your choice of things like hot Italian sausage, tomato sauce, anchovies, black olives, and ricotta.
Gumbo Fries — Okra or filet gumbo ladled across a steaming serving of fries. Maybe they already do this in The Big Easy, along with the fabled french fry hero.
French Fry Ma Po Tofu — Hold the white rice, but please don’t hold the peppercorns!