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The front of the store has timbers implanted in the stucco facade, with several models of french fries in papers cones on display.
Pommes Frites is Greenwich Village’s Tudor cottage of Belgian fries

Critic Robert Sietsema’s Top 5 Potato Dishes Around NYC

And don’t worry, there are some french fries on his list.

Though the potato was domesticated millennia ago by indigenous peoples in what is now Peru and Bolivia, it has traveled all over the world. The starchy and proteinaceous tuber — a medium spud contains over four grams of protein — has made itself indispensable over much of the globe, but most especially in India, China, Europe, Indonesia, and Nigeria. In fact, in 2013 the world consumed around 323,744,423,000 pounds — and yes, that’s a lot of potatoes. Here are my five favorite uses in New York City and vicinity.

5. Smashed butterball potatoes at Babs

Nicely brown small potatoes covered with green pesto.

Butterball potatoes certainly live up to their name — yellow fleshed and tasting of butter, even before dairy products are applied. At Babs, which describes itself as a European bistro, butterballs are cooked and smashed, then luxuriantly smeared with a sharp and nut-rich pesto, reminding us that in Italy this verdant and velvety sauce is perhaps more often served with vegetables than pasta. 72 MacDougal Street, between Bleecker and West Houston streets, Greenwich Village

4. Salata boeuf at Romanian Garden

Three small scoops of potato salad surmounted by black olives and flanked by pickles.

This nuttily named potato salad actually has a long and distinguished history, and it did indeed contain beef when it was originated in 19th century Russia by a French chef. Now the version that has come down to us via this Romanian restaurant has potatoes, diced veggies, and slivers of chicken, with mayo, mayo, and more mayo. No two substances love each other better than potatoes and mayonnaise, as this wonderful dish demonstrates, and the pickle and olive garnishes add sour and salty highlights. 43-06 43rd Avenue, between 43rd and 44th streets, Sunnyside

3. Frites especial at Pommes Frites

French fries with mayo, ketchup, and onions seen from above.

This palace of Belgian french fries — a process by which potatoes are twice fried at different temps — was once the late-night pride of the East Village, but a tragic building explosion caused a closure and relocation to MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. The digs are now darker and more commodious, and the topping known as especial features frite sauce (Dutch mayo), raw onions, and good old American ketchup. How you balance it all on a fry is up to you. 128 MacDougal Street, between Bleecker and W 3rd streets, Greenwich Village

2. Potato smorrebrod at Smor

An open face sandwich of dark rye with potatoes on top.

The idea of a potato sandwich is not such a weird one — witness the humble potato and egg hero of the Italian-American sandwich canon. At East Village Nordic sandwich shop Smor, three round creamers are boiled and plopped onto a slice of very dense rye, then tarragon mayo judiciously applied. Finally, the rye bread reappears as crunchy shards on the top, making a spectacular sandwich, if only the spuds can be kept from falling off and rolling across the table onto the floor. 441 E 12th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, East Village

1. Butter masala dosa at Pongal

A giant rolled pancake with four small containers of potatoes and chutneys.

Extravagantly smeared with ghee, the wrapper of this rolled flatbread from southern India made with ground-up and fermented rice and dal is served separately. The filling (“masala” identifies it with its spice mixture) is composed of coarsely mashed potatoes colored with turmeric and studded with cashews and black mustard seeds. Coconut and a rather less common tomato chutney accompany, making one of the world’s most luscious dishes — rip and dip, then take a sip of sambar, the spicy accompanying soup. 110 Lexington Avenue, between 27th and 28th streets, Murray Hill

Check out previous 5 Faves: octopus, duck, egg, and bacon.

BABS

72 MacDougal Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (212) 601-2835 Visit Website

Smor

441 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009 Visit Website

Pongal

110 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016 Visit Website

Pommes Frites

128 MacDougal Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (212) 674-1234 Visit Website

Romanian Garden

43-06 43rd Avenue, Queens, NY 11104 (718) 786-7894 Visit Website
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