Sir Kensington’s Fries of New York: An Exhibition of the French-Fried Potato
Let’s ketchup on some art.
Friends, I’d like to alert you to an age-old problem (well, at least that’s what “they” call it). Have you ever experienced the following:
– Sudden, intense cravings for something crispy?
– …or, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside?
– Cravings that can strike at any time, but tend to worsen during the hours of 12–3 a.m.
– Cravings that are only satisfied by french-fried potatoes (preferably dunked in ketchup, mayonnaise, or mustard; or ranch, if you’re from the South)
Then you, like me, have fry-itus. The cure? Sir Kensington’s Fries of New York.
Well, let me back up. Fries of New York, NYC’s only pop-up fry museum featuring spuds from some of the most famous eateries in the city, is more like…a vicious tease. Here, under glass domes and preserved in a thin layer of resin, are eighty french fries staring me in the face. Do not touch, do not eat, warns a sign. Sourced from restaurants like the humble Pomme Frites to the exclusive Lambs Club, these fries—so in their element, surrounded by viewers eyeing them hungrily—are aloof and untouchable, and speak to me like no art exhibit ever has.
Allow us to observe the largest (by mass) in the bunch: the rectangular Saxon + Parole fry, which is soaked to remove the starch, then poached, then fried. I imagine a lovely crust with tender innards. Exhibited next to it, whimsically, is the smallest fry in the exhibit, Maloney & Porcelli’s shoestring. It’s made from GPOD Russet potatoes. I have no idea what that is, but it sounds really important. And it makes a damn good fry, according to the experts.
You see, fries truly are an art. Each one on display is partnered with a card that lovingly details the process of making the fry: a shock in the freezer here, a thrice-fry there; some duck fat (The Fat Radish), a massive truffle oil slick (The East Pole). Potatoes are important. Kennebecs (Smith & Wollensky) seem to be popular, while the unassuming Idaho rules at mainstays like Junior’s in downtown Brooklyn. Sure beats the hell outta Ore-Ida crinkles.
Speaking of truffles, there’s one here. A big one. One the size of my fist. It’s got to be fake, right? Do not touch, do not eat! But who would leave a truffle possibly worth an entire month’s rent just sitting out like that? I ask around, and am informed that the truffle is real and on loan from Urbani, the home of truffles. “Smell it,” they tell me.
Oh my god, I’ve lost my mind.
But that’s what fries will do. Pair a steaming batch of them, fresh out of the fryer, with exquisite condiments like ketchup, mayo, or mustard (I’ll just go ahead and recommend Sir Kensington’s—no joke, that shit’s good), or, as an illustration in the gallery proposes, a “hybrid” sauce. Mayostard, anyone? To quote Belinda Carlisle: “Ooh, heaven is a place on earth.”
Art’s what you make it, my friends. Stay cultured.
Miss the madness? Submit your remarkable fries to a digital archive in conjunction with the exhibition by tagging #classifry and @sirkensingtons on social media. More info at fries.sirkensingtons.com.