100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No. 71, Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19
This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape. It's a list to drool over.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg Decadence meets junk food in the Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19.
For years I didn't eat foie gras because I thought it was cruel. My oh-so-cultured parents made the mistake of taking me to a goose farm in France where foie gras was made, and after that, I ceased to associate foie gras with dinner, instead associating it with the poor little fat geese on that farm.
I have since come around to foie gras in a huge way. There are few things I like more than a buttery torchon or a perfectly seared oval of foie on top of pasta. And now I have a new obsession: Thin, crispy french fries topped with foie. If ever two things were meant to be paired, it's warm, fatty duck liver and fried potatoes. Mon dieu!
Brasserie 19 is known for its French bistro fare, but I consider the Lazy Lane Frites (an appetizer on the menu) more of a fusion dish than French bistro food. My memories of French french fries include potatoes and salt and little else. Not so with Brasserie 19's masterpiece of a fry dish.
The Lazy Lane Frites are served in a big bowl -- bigger than I anticipated for an appetizer -- of slightly curly, dark orangey-brown fries tossed in sauce au poivre, grated Parmesan, truffle oil and and chives. Then the mound of frites is topped with a generous portion of seared foie gras. Sound over-the-top? It is, but in the best way.
Somehow the fries manage to stay crispy even under the thick pepper gravy, and the truffle oil flavor is delicate enough that it doesn't overwhelm the entire dish. The earthy Parmesan and bright chives add minute flavor nuances to each bite. And then there's the foie gras, which is so rich that I ate it every other bite or so only, using the (also quite rich) fries to cleanse my palate.
The appetizer portion is a meal in itself, and though it's one of the more expensive plates of french fries in town ($19), it's a steal for the amount of food and foie you get.
While munching on these fries during a recent meal at Brasserie 19, I also discovered the perfect drink pairing: Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Ale. It's a natural ginger soda that tastes more like ginger beer than its sweeter cousin ginger ale, and the crisp acidity of the ginger is refreshing in between bites of the meaty fries and foie. Much to my surprise, it was the ideal combination of light, refreshing drink with heavy, comforting food.
The list so far:
No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme
No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia
No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro
No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra
No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen
No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club
No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub
No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood
No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus
No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro
No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar
No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum
No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao
No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie
No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's
No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill
No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches
No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire
No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch
No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria
No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius
No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas
No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi
No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto
No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac
No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's