>> Merguez and Frites | Eat the World NYC

06 July 2020

Merguez and Frites

ALGERIA 🇩🇿

[COVID-19 UPDATE: The northern African sausages are still grilling and there are a few tables set up out front for diners. An new enclosed attachment also offers some quick standing space.]

Some addresses in New York City just seem to be cursed and never hold a tenant for very long. The previous business here was a not dissimilar Moroccan sandwich shop that only called it home for a short time. The newer owners hail from the neighbors to the east: Algeria, a country without a ton of representation in the city (One Algerian-ish place in the East Village and now-closed Bar Omar in Williamsburg precede this).

Like their predecessors, the space seems often busy and a meeting point for some of the neighborhood's northern African people to share stories and get together. They have built out a temporary structure like you often see in winter to provide more space to stand and eat. With current conditions, it likely will just be a place to spread out and avoid the hot sun while waiting for takeout orders, at least in the near future.

Merguez frites, kofta frites, and Algerian pizza.

The main offerings here are again sandwiches, those wildly popular on the streets of the capital Algiers and other cities. There you will find a diet high in meat intake, often with lamb being the most popular and readily available. The foods of France are of course no stranger to the once-colonized land, and baguettes circulate along with other Algerian breads.

The combination of lamb, the French baguette, and fries which seem to find their way onto and into many other foods, give the place its name and a sense of what you will find. Looking to the top of the menu, the merguez frites ($7, above and close-up bottom of page) seems like the obvious place to start here. The baguette is of very good quality, as are the sausages, especially for such a low price for a sandwich longer than a foot.

A list of sauces will be offered, ranging from hot sauce and ketchup to their "special sauce" which is a spicy mayo of some sort. A combination of the hot and special ended up being a very good choice to complement both sandwiches, but dijon mustard is never a bad idea either for merguez.

Ask for a quick reheat on the tasty pizza.

If you have ever traveled in the south of France, and specifically Marseille, the sandwich may even be claimed by the French, but be sure this is the product of the other side of the Mediterranean, quintessential food from the streets of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.

These three countries make up the heart of the Maghreb, the cuisine offered proudly by the menu here. Any travelers to this region of the world will also be offered a direct route to their memories with the tray of pizza ($2/slice, above) that is always displayed and ready to eat. Like in Algeria, each slice is adorned with one black olive. Algerians are mad for pizza of all slices (pun intended), but the olive seems to be the constant. It is hard to go a few city blocks without seeing a pizzeria there just as it is in New York City. Stay here at Merguez and Frites long enough and you are bound to see someone ask for the squeeze bottle of mayonnaise to drizzle on their slice just like back home.


Even in the midst of a pandemic, Steinway Street is ready for anyone who wants to come out and eat and enjoy hookah. Most restaurants have built dining areas in the parking spots directly in front of them, and the mood is still convivial for those comfortable with being around others.

Some options are not always available here, like the keskrout lablabi, a sandwich of tuna, chickpeas and cumin. So make it a plan to come multiple times and at least once at night when the weather cools and you can enjoy some Algerian tea made with pennyroyal.

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2 comments:

  1. Delicious sandwich. Thanks for the recommendation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it! Did you try any of the others?

      Delete