Dish Inspiration: Eggplant Fries

Is it possible to take the potato out of a French fry and still keep the respect of American gourmands? Perhaps even gain a cult following?

Let’s face it: The perfectly crispy deep-fried spud — whether machine cut in uniform shapes or hand chopped for a rustic finish — is as important to American cuisine as barbecue and apple pie. So it may come as a surprise that it is possible to reimagine this dish by substituting the fourth largest crop in the world with a somewhat bitter nightshade.

Bistro Menil Chef Greg Martin’s passion for international flavors resulted in one of the restaurant’s most sought-after menu offerings: Eggplant Fries.

But Martin can’t claim the idea as his own. After all, eggplant fries have been a staple of Spanish cuisine, quite popular in Catalan and Andalusian cooking. The dish — Berenjenas fritas in Spanish —  has its roots in Moorish gastronomy.

It was during a trip to Spain that Martin was inspired to bring the delicious appetizer to Houston. Eggplant fries are emblematic of a tradition that spread thanks to cultures commingling with one another, with a creative chef bringing his travel experiences to an innovative bistro that’s part of the Menil Collection campus.

Our signature Eggplant Fries — served with Garlicky Anchovy Aioli or Spicy Brava Sauce — will be available on the Houston Restaurant Weeks dinner menu. HRW is taking place from August 1 through September 7, and $5 from each Houston Restaurant Weeks dinner menu ordered at Bistro Menil will be donated to the Houston Food Bank. HRW reservations can be made by clicking here.

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