Frites’n'Meats Is Good, But Too Damn Expensive for Midtown Lunch

I’ve heard many good things about Frites’n'Meats, so when I saw the truck parked at 52nd and 6th Avenue it was the obvious choice for lunch that day.

Every week, they have a specialty burger that they make for the whole week which seems to run around $10 for just the burger. The week I went, it was the Mexicana – but keeping in mind the insistence of ML readers that lunch be under $10, and that most of you seem to believe I eat like a bird, I knew that JUST A BURGER would not satisfy y’all. So I went with the ‘create your own’ option; you pick up an order card on the truck ledge, write in your “SUPER HERO NAME” and mark off your choices before handing it to the guy at the window.

As Dave warned me multiple times, just a plain burger and fries will already run you $10. Any extras that cost money – cheese, certain toppings, frites sauces – will all put you over the $10. I have no idea what I was thinking when I chose no cheese, sesame seed bun, oven roasted tomato, tomato, pickles and mayo for my burger, and garlic aioli for my frites… double tomato? I do like tomato, but what a weird… whatever. Be aware that the guy seems to think everyone orders cheese, so he automatically adds $1 for that; I witnessed at least two other people tell him that they didn’t order cheese, so he adjusted the price. It took me a few minutes to realize I was also charged for cheese I hadn’t ordered, so they refunded me a dollar when I mentioned this – even though the guy didn’t really remember what he’d charged me.

Side note: I asked the guy working the truck what the best superhero name anyone had ever used. He listed off a bunch of really lame ones – ie, superheroes that already exist – and when I pressed him, he finally said “I can’t say. You’re a lady.” I pressured him to tell Dave, who then informed me what it was, and I don’t know – while it’s completely unsuitable for me to write here, in today’s day and age, it really isn’t that eyebrow raising. (It was just stupid, and didn’t make sense.)

Imagine my surprise when I opened up my bag and pulled this out: a HUGE cone of frites and a rather large burger. This is not Clarke’s Standard. This is… not Sparta, but huge, especially for a girl who vastly prefers smaller burgers.

They threw a wrapped Dum Dum in my cone of frites, which kind of annoyed me, but maybe you like Dum Dums and don’t mind random items in your food. Plus it was one of the gross flavors (blue raspberry). Once I began eating the frites, though, I quickly forgot about the stupid lollipop (huh, huh, get it?) – these are some excellent frites. Crisp on the outside, lovely potato on the inside, a great munch – mindless or not – though the 75c garlic aioli was gilding the lily. Super garlicky and tasty, I enjoyed it, but I would have been just as happy without the sauce, eating plain frites. I also likely could have been fully sated with just the frites, though I’m aware that my love of potatoes in all forms is not the norm and most people want more than just a huge cone of fries for lunch.

So about that burger… The roasted tomatoes are a worthy 75c topping. Roasting tomatoes isn’t as popular as it should be, given the amazing sweetness it leaves the tomatoes with; rich, heady, absolutely lovely and wonderful. They weren’t skimpy with the pickles, either – carefully covering my entire burger with 4 thick slices. Some good topping placement there; nothing imbalanced or uneven about it. Even if you don’t like what I chose for toppings, I would hazard a guess that they are fairly good about evenly spreading the toppings on their burger.

While I think I chose poorly when it came to the bread – slightly too fluffy, too much filler, and a bit stale (do most people choose brioche or potato-onion?) – this was a really good burger. So juicy that oil ran down my hand and arm (which I hate), flavorful, cooked with a really nice sear on the outside, and just downright tasty! I was happy with the way my burger tasted.

But $11.50 for a tasty burger without cheese and really good fries? I’ll admit that the rest of the afternoon slogged by for me; I’d consumed way more than enough calories for the day and I was simply unable to process them without slowing down a bit. It was plenty of food for me – and likely enough for most of you self-proclaimed “big eaters” around the site – but most of you will also want cheese on your burger. Maybe you also want bacon (another 75c). I don’t know what you want, but if it’s to stick to $10 or under, you’ll need to either forgo the fries or get a fairly plain burger.

THE + (what people who like this will say)

  • That is some high quality burger and fries
  • $10 is just a guideline, not a hard & fast rule (besides, inflation!)
  • Love the wide variety of combinations, sauces, toppings, even patty type
  • Wagyu burger from a truck for $8.50 (pre-toppings), score!
  • I have the perfect superhero name that I’ve always wanted someone to call me

THE – (what people who don’t like this place will say)

  • Another over $10 place?!
  • I don’t like burger juices running down my hand/I’m a messy eater
  • This is too much food
  • I want bacon AND cheese on my burger, and not to pay $8.25 for that
  • There are too many choices

Frites’n'Meats – they were parked on the southwest corner of 52nd/6th when I visited.
Check their Twitter for their location, changes daily!

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