Not wanting to co-opt another’s posting, I have taken note of @Carmenere’s and @sfcarole’s helpful suggestions from that post. I have been to L’Aller Retour maybe four years ago, and it was okay, not great, IMO. Au Boeuf Courenné and Hugo Desnoyer look good to me. I had landed on La Bourse et la Vie and Le Severo for two reasons: One is I’ve had the steak au poivre at La Bourse et la Vie several times, and I think it really outstanding. Also the frites, the very excellent frites. I confess, for me, the frites are as important (more important?) than the beef. So, with that in mind, even without the meat for my future self-in-Paris, where are the best frites in Paris?
Frites story: Last time I ate at Canard & Champagne in the passage des Panoramas, we were a table of 4. Two (including me) declared the fried-in-duck-fat frites as exceptional, one better than average, and one, meh.
Most of my friends rave about the frites at Blend hamburger joints (6 locations in Paris)… I don’t. I love the frites at Frenchie-to-go on rue du Nil in the Sentier quartier/ 2nd but I have friends who think they are only a shade above average.
There does seem to be a more general consensus that the sweet potato frites at Siseng (Asian fusion) on the Canal Saint Martin are extraordinary but this is probably not what you are looking for. And speaking of other types of frites, the pommes gaufrettes at Les Parisiens in the Hotel Pavillon Faubourg Saint Germain in the 7th are outstanding.
Grazie @ParnParis ! This is exactly what I am looking for. Done well, I’m a frites fan, and I’m open to lots of ways of getting to “done well.”
If you are a frites fan, you must go to Belgium (and even there you’ll have to watch your step, the best places are not the most exposed). Belgian-style frites are also made in the North of France.
Regarding frites in Paris, I know none better than the pommes allumettes at Le Relais de Venise. They’ve been constantly perfect for decades. The absolute Parisian style, thin, golden, the right proportion of crispy and soft — perfection.
I think pommes gaufrettes are a masterpiece in their own right, and very hard to come by in their housemade form, so I’ll be glad to sample those at Les Parisiens. No sweet potato frites for me, there has to be starch or that’s not frites; they’re good to eat but a different animal, soft, sweet, and pliable. Igname (yam) frites, being firmer and crispier, would be closer to deserving the appellation.
Frenchie-to-go’s frites are very palatable but a little on the soft side, that’s a style (probably based on the uses of charlotte potatoes), but some are put off by it. I wouldn’t include them in a frites top-3 but I think they’re nice. Come to think of it, I’m not an absolute fan of duck-fat frites, though I like them occasionally. Because of their taste and general softness, I think they’re in their own category. Pommes de terre sautées or sarladaises are fried in duck or goose fat, but they’re lightyears away from frites, totally different also. Which is why frites, traditionnally, where never fried in duck fat, even in the Southwest. Or even in saindoux (lard) which makes them too soft. Only beef tallow will do (this is the Belgian secret). And in the absence of beef tallow, peanut oil. Végétaline (refined coconut oil), which many people use at home, makes tasty frites, but they don’t brown easily.
I know it’s not a popular spot on this board but for me Bistro Paul Bert had the best steak frites. I preferred it to the Le Bourse et La Vie dish and a few others I’ve had in Paris.
Been to Canard & Champagne twice in the past year. The first time, as I noted in my review here. I thought the frites were tasty but they were served not hot enough and with not enough salt. And definitely not as crispy as great frites should be. The second time I don’t remember them, meaning they were neither great nor below average, and presumably served hotter than the first time.
FWIW, I find the frites at Relais de L’Entrecote to be very good. Not good enough to be the reason to go there, but somewhere on the good side of above average, and they work well with the “mystery” sauce.
Given Carmenere’s comment, it makes me wonder if frites might be one of the few things French restaurants in America actually do better than restaurants in France. If so, perhaps it’s because they need to compete with McDonald’s fries, which when served hot/fresh are very, very good, bordering on great. I have had better frites than Mickey D’s in the U.S., to be sure, but none that were substantially better.
FWIW, at least in America what are referred to as sweet potatoes are quite often yams. I’ve had very good “sweet potato” fries in this country (the chain The Counter makes particularly good ones) which meet your crispy and soft standard; per your description, I suspect they are made of yams.
Yes, we’re getting into vernacular names here, and it’s a tricky subject. Sweet potatoes — roots of the Ipomoea kind — are called “yams” in the US, but properly speaking the word yam (igname) covers many species of the Dioscorea kind with large, tuberous roots that are bland in taste and very starchy. Their flesh is generally white (there are some interesting bright yellow yams from Guinea) and when ground in raw state, is very slimy (like the Japanese yamaimo or tororo). All in all, they’re likely to produce crispier frites since their flesh is starchier and drier when cooked. As for sweet potatoes, it may well be that they get their local North American name of yams simply because of their food value, the term being derived from the (linguistic) root nyam in African languages, which simply means “eating”. I’ve noticed that true yam, in the US, is sometimes referred to as cocoyam for distinction.
Going back to sweet potatoes, they come in many colors and textures, and possibly some varieties are more suitable for frites than others.