Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Pommes Frites is open again. An explosion from a faulty gas line at a neighboring restaurant caused enough damage that its original building had to be torn down. It has since moved to a different part of Greenwich Village, closer to Sixth Avenue, right in the heart of the main campus of New York University (NYU). The look and feel is almost exactly the same: Medieval England (gothic, pub/tavern-like); but it is a bit bigger and has a few more seats. Even when there isn’t a place to sit (it’s that popular), Washington Square Park is just a couple of blocks away. The park is a great place to snack and watch the characters who inhabit it as they go about their day. Pomme Frites’ clientele is a mix of students, locals, and tourists, all looking to get their frites fix. There is almost always a line, but these potatoes are worth a wait.
Served hot, the twice-fried frites are crisp on the outside with creamy insides that deliver massive potato flavor. Some of the edges/nubs are crisper, which provides a great textural contrast. All frites come in double-layered paper cones with a plastic fork; they can be served pre-sauced or with sauce on the side. I like mine slathered with sauce; I don’t worry about them getting soggy: they never seem to last long enough for that. They are impossible to stop eating. Tables are fitted with holes designed to hold the cones upright, but if you ask, the counterperson will provide a paper plate for easier sharing.
Aside from water and soda, there is a small beer and wine selection. There are no salads, wraps or smoothies. Pommes Frites is all about the frites and sauces. Most sauces are mayo-based and made in house, blended until creamy. You may not experience the texture of the various ingredients, but flavors really do pop. My favorites? Sweet mango chutney mayo with a slight spicy kick; smoked eggplant mayo with a charred flavor; assertive roasted garlic mayo; dill-lemon mayo with a generous dose of dill and a bright lemony flavor; a very heady organic black truffle mayo; and an inventive one with Bordeaux wine, figs, and sage.
I am so glad that Pommes Frites is back and thriving. It has been one of my favorite snack stops since I moved to NYC in 2003. I often find myself in front of the little shop when I have no other business in the neighborhood, just so I can indulge in a couple of sauces I have not yet tried.