Frying Dutchmen: The Secret’s in the Sauce
With all the threats facing food trucks the last few weeks in Midtown, it’s amazing that a handful of them still park in Midtown East. I was pleased to walk by at least five of them around Park Avenue in the low 50′s and high 40′s last Friday. I’m not sure how long this will really last, but I’m frequenting them as much as possible while they’re here. And I was even more surprised to see The Frying Dutchmen, who have not really made an appearance in Midtown since they launched a few months ago. Don’t they read the Times?
Perhaps their arrival on 48th Street and Park last week was an answer to Lunch’er pshinnyc’s plea on Twitter for the truck to bring their Belgian-style frites to Midtown proper. Or maybe they’re feeling like now’s the time to strike since there may be less truck competition around. Whatever the reason, I spotted their red and yellow design after I had already purchased my lunch. But I figured since I was having a healthy salad, it might be worth balancing out all those greens with a side of french fries.
I settled on the Regular size, which was originally priced at $4.50 but was scratched out and re-written as $5 (why is everything more expensive in Midtown??) And then came the choices. First I got to choose between the classic Belgian fries, the sweet potato version, or Half-n-Half. And then a long list of dipping sauces caught my eye. And they were all quite intriguing with most featuring a balance of sweet and spicy flavors. Choosing can be quite overwhelming so the guys on the truck have cups out and offer free samples of the sauces. Since each sauce is $1 extra, this is quite appreciated. The choices are also whittled down by a blackboard listing the ones that are available today.
I tasted the Prickly Pear Mustard, which came with a warning that it was hot. I could taste the horseradish, but I thought it was a little flat and could have used some tangy brightness. The Sweet n’ Spicy (lychee and sweet chili aioli) was tasty and much more successful at that balance. But I settled on the Big Kahuna (caramelized pineapple and green peppercorn aioli). The sauce had a complexity to it that compelled me to dip more fries in.
There was no line when I arrived in the middle of the lunch rush, but it still took a little longer than I had hoped for my food. Maybe this is because the potatoes are double fried to order. They were served in a cone that was just overflowing with dark, crispy slivers of potato. Both types of fries had a wonderful crispy exterior that gave way to a starchy center. I found the regular ones to be salty, but a little bland. The sweet potato fries had a much deeper flavor and were successfully sweet and savory. The salty crunch went nicely with the sauce’s subtle floral sweet notes. I wish the sauce had a bit more heat, since pineapple goes so well with spice. Nonetheless, it was unusual and enjoyable.
Andrea reported a few weeks ago that these fries don’t really work as a lunch option on their own and I have to agree with her. The product here is more like a Pommes Frites-type after work snack or an accompaniment to a cheap sandwich or salad. And it’s amazing how quickly the price can add up. Truthfully, the least you could spend here on a side of fries is $6! Since the fries here are so addicting, I’d love to see The Frying Dutchmen team up with a nearby truck to offer a mobile version of a value meal. But until that time, I might come by to purchase just the dipping sauces and get cheaper fries somewhere else.
Check the ML Twitter Tracker to see if and when The Frying Dutchmen will be returning to Midtown.