One Year Later: Frites n Meats is Good but Could be Great
Over a year has come and gone since we’ve written about the food that Frites n Meats offers to lunchers all over the city. Since then, they’ve shown quite the penchant for generating non-food headlines, whether it be the frequent tussles with other food trucks, their indirect involvement with an increased crackdown on food trucks in Midtown, or even DeBragga-gate of 2009. As interesting as it may be to read and report on restaurant and food truck drama, it’s always been about the food here at ML, and I decided to fight this week’s cold weather with their spicy jazz burger and a cup of chicken noodle soup.
Frites n Meats offers a rotating weekly menu of special burgers, and this week, the ‘Spicy Jazz’ burger’s card was up. The usual burger suspects, a modestly portioned patty of grassfed angus, cheddar cheese and lettuce get some added pizzazz from roasted red peppers, jalapenos and a spicy mayo condiment. There’s a yearning to make this burger ‘gourmet’, given the pedigree of the proteins (DeBragga) – and flavor wise it’s fine, with appreciable beefiness and the slight funkiness of grassfed cattle. However upscale cheese (Murray’s) and a bourgeoisie bun (Balthazar) can’t cover up for all of the sins of the posh burger patty, which ended up mushy and pulpy instead of juicy and meaty. Additionally, it’s aggressively priced at $8.50, which doesn’t leave room for additional side dishes if you’re sticking to the ML minimum of $10. Unfortunately there will still be room in your stomach if this burger is your sole source of lunchtime sustenance.
The fries ($3.00) have markedly improved since downtown Chris’s assessment a year ago. The double fried spuds are well prepared – assertively crisp, fluffy in the middle, satisfyingly greasy, and lacking the burnt flavor that sometimes plagues other double fried frites. In short, it’s an admirable attempt at a food truck french fry.
Frites n Meats also offers a weekly soup special ($3.50), this week’s being chicken noodle soup. Their take on this comfort food classic is a likable, crowd pleasing soup – lightly creamy and silky, and the flavor balance of chicken, salt and parsley strongly evocative of the classic Campbell’s brew. This soup, like their finely fried frites, outshines the burger.
Despite my lukewarm reaction to the burger, there are still plenty of reasons to visit Frites n Meats. They’re quite good at keeping the menu spiffy with constantly changing specials, and it seems like they’ve taken feedback to heart given the improvement of their fries. Additionally, the $8 skirt steak sandwich seems to have flown under the radar and certainly sounds intriguing. As much as I love a sensationalist story, I’m hoping our future coverage of Frites n Meats will be nothing but appetizing analysis rather than another belligerent byline.