Hi, I am about to tell you about a very magical place that exists in Manhattan called Burlap Sack Potato Eatery (507 Third Avenue // 201 E. 34th St.), or as I have nicknamed it, “Irish Chipotle” due to its use of potatoes (rather than rice, although that is also an option if for some reason you’re potato’d out) as a base to soak up hundreds of combinations of amazing (and diverse) toppings. (I repeat: MAGICAL.)
I stopped in earlier this week to meet with Mike Sheffer, one of the founding partners of the genius business venture; he gave me a quick tour of the space (which is tiny and simply designed, and has got window and table seating) before helping me get my order sorted. In terms of selection, the concept is very simple, but provides (as I mentioned earlier) SO MANY OPTIONS. Did I want tater tots as my base? A baked potato, perhaps? Sweet potato fries? I ended up going with the latter at Mike’s recommendation, and to that added steak, chipotle aioli, pickled jalapenos (which are made in-house), sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms, and (of course) pepper-jack cheese. (Learn about all of the extensive ingredients HERE.)
So how did it taste? I will tell you: SO GOOD! The sweet potato fries vibed really well with the more savory toppings, and despite typically avoiding all things aioli, I have to admit that the sauce was EXCELLENT. The pickled jalapenos were the cherry on top to the whole equation, and I would definitely order this again, HOWEVER, when it comes to delicious menu combinations, THE LIMIT LITERALLY DOES NOT EXIST, so it is likely I will grapple with whether or not to order something new and likely equally mind-blowing, or to go with something I know I love.
While I shoveled food into my face, Mike told me more about the concept of the restaurant; he and a childhood friend were inspired by Canadian poutine (which is essentially fries topped with cheese curds and gravy), which they wanted to modify to be better-suited to the American palette, hence the unique menu options that are available to top the different kinds of potatoes that are offered. And speaking of menu options, the restaurant uses all-natural, non-GMO ingredients, so you can feel good about the fact that you are about to cram meat-topped fried potatoes into your body. (Don’t worry, there are plenty of low-cal options, too, but also like, why would you do that? JUST EAT ALL OF THE FRIED THINGS THEY ARE DELICIOUS.)
Although I don’t venture to Midtown all that often (unless it is the siren song of Koreatown that lures me in), I will most definitely be making a new exception to re-visit Burlap Sack. And I’m certainly not the only repeat spudfender; the Yelp reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and after having experienced the service, the food, and learning more about the product, it’s clear that anyone in their right mind would go bananas (or should I say potatoes?) for this joint and become a regular. Definitely put it on your to-do list, and to my Irish ancestors, I hope that in some weird way I am paying tribute to all of the times you couldn’t eat potatoes due to blight. (Slash that is what I will tell myself the next time I inhale Irish Chipotle, which, hopefully, is very soon.)