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Fries at the Disco – Nominations

January 21, 2014

Pardon me for a moment while I take a walk down memory lane. Years ago, as a bunch of us were finishing up the Tour de Egg and Cheese Sandwich at Famous Lunch in Troy, I walked around and asked the sated participants an important question.

“What other tours would you like to see in the future?”

We’ve done many of them. There’s been a micro-tour of Troy’s best Buffalo-style wings. We had the Tour de Mozzarella and Raspberry. And there has been a bevy of ice cream and apple cider donut excursions. The request for a Tour de Disco Fries however, has remained unanswered for far too long.

Let’s get this out of the way before we get any further. Disco Fries are not a regional specialty. As far as I can tell, these migrated north from the New Jersey diners to settle in our neck of the woods. Why we have been blessed with the riches of Disco Fries and cursed with a lack of true Montreal Poutine is a mystery I have yet to solve.

But let’s be thankful for what we’ve got. For while our fanciful fries may not squeak when you bite into an erant cheese curd, we still have several places that will not look askance at you when you desire both cheese and gravy atop your deep fat fried potatoes.

And it just seems fitting that I should go on a tour of a Jersey classic when I’m back up in Albany for a quick local errand.

Now don’t get too excited. Like some of the other winter tours in the past, this is going to be a much smaller invite only affair. I’m sorry. I could go into the reasons at length, but I’ll spare you the grisly details. But I do have a spring tour guide volunteer lined up for the next one, and I fully expect it to be open to the public. Let’s just hope my volunteer remembers that she agreed to lead this tour all those months ago.

Still, your input is greatly appreciated, and now is the time for nominees. There are only five spots, and already more than five serious contenders for the fat-and salt-topped plates of fat and salt.

Bombers is a lock. You can’t say “Disco Fries” in the Capital Region without thinking of Bombers. In fact, it’s possible they could be the epicenter for this dish in Albany. Others who have lived here longer I suspect might prove me wrong.

The Ruck has Disco Fries on their menu, and I would welcome the chance to darken their door, even if just for the few moments that I’m wolfing down a plate of smothered potatoes.

While Finnbar doesn’t make classic Disco Fries, I’m tempted to give them a break. Their Shepherd Fries come with gravy and cheese, but are also topped with stewed beef and lamb. A plate of those bad boys is only $8 and it certainly sounds competitive with the rest of the pack. Still, their meaty slant might rule them out.

On the far other side of the region the Blue Ribbon Diner sells Disco Fries, and it seems fitting to have these at a diner. Especially at this Schenectady institution.

O’Toole’s in Colonie is an Irish pub too, but they don’t take the same liberties with their Disco Fries as Finnbar. They don’t even acknowledge their 70s roots as this pub simply calls them, “Cheese and gravy fries”. They are beer battered and served with homemade gravy. Beer battered fries with their added nooks and crannies are great for holding onto viscous sauces. I’d love to try these.

Let’s not forget the students. Would Disco Fries even exist if not for inebriated undergraduates? It’s hard to say for sure. But if that’s the epicenter for these comforting late night eats, then Junior’s is an obvious choice for consideration.

Surely I’m missing something wonderful. Please let me know. And I’d also be curious to have you weigh in on which of the above should be dropped from the consideration set.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on tour. All I can say is that it’s been a good thing that I’ve been going to the gym.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. DEN permalink
    January 21, 2014 12:18 pm

    Hill Street Cafe in Downtown Albany has them, although they are not identified as “Disco Fries”. I have always enjoyed them, but haven’t had them at enough places to say whether they are the five best.They use a ranch-style fry and the wider surface is necessary for the dish to really work.

  2. Randy K permalink
    January 21, 2014 2:51 pm

    I don’t know why you are wasting your time trying ti find the best disco fries in Albany, when you live in NEW JERSEY now! I think disco fries were conceived there!!!! Don’t mess with perfection :)

  3. Randy K permalink
    January 21, 2014 2:53 pm

    But I guess while you’re at it, you might as well try the new poutine place in Saratoga :)

  4. January 21, 2014 6:35 pm

    Capital City Diner (the old Metro 20) in Guilderland has them on the menu, though I’ve never had them.

  5. Eric Scheirer Stott permalink
    January 22, 2014 3:30 pm

    I am embarrassed to realize I do not know what they are

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