In this unpredictable and ever-changing world, America’s unshakable affection for French fries sometimes seems like the only constant. Indeed, a 2015 article in National Geographic revealed that the average citizen consumes approximately 29 pounds of fries every year, a truly alarming development when you consider that we had no pandemic to blame for that in 2015. In any event, even as our love of fried potatoes continues growing, so too does the number of ways to enjoy them. While each of the following eateries serves much to love otherwise, we’d gladly fire up the car and drive great distances just for their fries alone. Which just might be the most alarming thing of all.
Almond (1 Ocean Rd., Bridgehampton): It’s no surprise that a superlative French bistro is serving up superlative fries, but this one distinguishes itself by a flat-out commitment to decadence, with cones and bowls brimming with rich sauces and other add-ins. Six varieties are offered, none more irresistible than the fries Mansour, in which skin-on spuds smothered by Gruyere cheese swim in a kicky au poivre sauce ($12). But every fries fanatic will find something to love: cheese fries Americaine ladled with melted smoked Cheddar ($11), chili-peppered cheese fries ($11), Korean fries with kimchi and sriracha mayo ($13) and more. Note the restaurant is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test for patrons ages 12 and older. More info: 631-537-5665, almondrestaurant.com
European Republic (126 W. Merrick Rd., Freeport): Don’t let the name fool you. This halal eatery’s three Long Island locations take their French fry cues from just one country, Holland. Just as in Amsterdam, perfect hand-cut, double-fried potatoes ($3.99 small, $5.99 large) are given mighty assistance by a large selection of interesting sauces. Standouts among the dozen we sampled include Jamaican curry, roasted garlic, basil and "European ketchup," in which the well-worn condiment is goosed by mayo and other spices. Oh, and there are quality non-fried selections on Republic’s menu as well, including juicy steak sandwiches, gyros and wings that are as dip-friendly as the potatoes. (Other locations at 337 New York Ave., Huntington and 3105 Lawson Blvd., Oceanside). More info: 516-543-4411, europeanrepublicny.com
Local Burger Co. (76 W. Main St., Patchogue): The menu promises the most Long Island of spud adventures — BEC fries ($7.99) — even as a dollop of oddly flavorless cheese delivers something less. So why visit one of this chain’s three locations? For every other kind of fries on the menu, including the humanely seasoned salt-and-vinegar ($3.89), Cajun ($3.79), sea salt-and-truffle ($4.89) and sweet potato planks, notably and sinfully dusted with cinnamon and sugar ($4.99). Much credit belongs to the skin-on potatoes , enormously enjoyable by themselves ($3.59) or tricked up with one of 10-plus sauces. Better yet, pair them with one of Local’s eponymous specialties or a hot dog. You’ll never go back to the golden arches again. (Other locations at 668 County Rd. 39, Southampton and 62 E. Main St., Bay Shore). More info: 631-730-7373, localburgerco.com