Les Halles

Patriots might be disappointed to know the French didn't invent French fries, so the whole wartime freedom fries propaganda campaign was a waste, erroneously disparaging an innocent food. The word "french" in fries has more to do with the thin cut of the potato than with our insolent non-allies. Belgians, frequently mistaken for French folks, actually get the credit for creating the potato sticks, often pairing them with a tasty mayonnaise. But the French might have been the first to marry fries with steak. And at Les Halles, there is no better accompaniment to a juicy hanger steak, or any other main dish for that matter. Hand-sliced potatoes, a little thicker than a shoestring cut and thinner than a steak fry, are briefly soaked in water to remove starch, dried carefully, and then dipped in hot oil until their center is tender and cooked through. After a short rest, they're deep-fried in hotter oil a second time to attain a crispy exterior. The result: perfectly browned frites tasty enough to be a meal all by themselves and destined to make even the most nationalistic diners coo, "Ooh la la!"


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