The Number One Staple At Any French Bistro, According To Bobby Flay - Exclusive

Bobby Flay's signature style of cuisine, replete with Southwestern flavors and spice, isn't generally seen on the menus of traditional French bistros. But that doesn't mean the celebrated chef and TV personality doesn't have an abiding love for Gallic dishes and restaurants. In fact, Flay recently opened his own French restaurant, Brasserie B, in Las Vegas' Caesars Palace, which he told Tasting Table Senior Editor Alexandra Cass all about in an exclusive interview

Brasserie B serves up many French classics, albeit with an unmistakable Flay spin from decidedly non-French ingredients. Of course, the pantheon of bistro dishes is wide. No restaurant attempts to offer them all, but there is one, rather humble item that Flay thinks a bistro menu is remiss without: french fries. That's right, though they may seem as American as apple pie (which isn't, at least exclusively), french fries — aka pommes frites — are de rigueur on a bistro's board of fare, says Flay. "I think they are maybe one of the most important things in this cuisine," he declared.

Fries are so important to Flay that Brasserie B's menu features an entire section built around them. The "Avec Frites" section includes a range of proteins, from lobster with roasted garlic to a NY strip with béarnaise, accompanied by the restaurant's twice-cooked french fries. They also come as a side with a rich red pepper mayonnaise for dipping. But don't let the "side item" designation fool you; Flay puts some serious thought — and work — into these fries.

Giving fries their space

Plenty of eateries turn to frozen fries to save time and money, but the very idea is anathema to Flay. "There are certain things that I can't live with, and one of them is the idea of serving frozen french fries at a French brasserie — it just doesn't fly with me," says Flay. "I think for this cuisine at this level, it takes a lot of effort, but I think that's what separates you."

Evidence can be found in the very kitchen layout of Brasserie B. In addition to common stations, such as grill, garde-manger, and pastry, Flay added an entire room devoted to french fries. It's a testament to Flay's appreciation of the art that goes into each fry. "They take two days to make, you need a lot of room, you need proper technique, and that's what it comes down to," explains Flay. "And so we basically built an entire piece of the kitchen just to prep and house the french fries, because you know what? We sell a lot of them."

How Bobby Flay fries

Given how important this bistro staple is on Flay's menu, it's no surprise that the process for perfecting them is quite involved. Flay broke down the laborious steps in a 2023 episode of "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." It all starts with peeled russet or Idaho potatoes that are cut into the proper shape. These raw fries are then soaked overnight in several changes of cold water which extracts some of the starch from them. 

Next, the fries are carefully, so as not to break them, patted dry, a crucial step before the cooking begins. Once dried on the outside, the fries take a dip in 300-degree Fahrenheit cooking oil to blanch them through. This ensures the fries are wonderfully soft throughout, but not yet browned on the outside. That part comes after the oil is cranked up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, wherein the fries, which have had a bit of time to rest, get a final fry to make the outside golden brown and supremely crunchy. 

Click here for more information, or to make reservations at Brasserie B, located in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The restaurant is open daily from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for brunch and 4:30 to 10:00 p.m. for dinner.