September 16, 2004 | Ask Gael
Is there one new dish that haunts your dreams?

         I’ve become an absolute fool for the rosemary roasted potatoes at Vento. All I can think about as the taxi streaks down Ninth Avenue toward the meat market is whether I will have my roast potatoes—“extra well done, please”—as a starter, a main course, a side, or possibly dessert or some variation thereof. These are not just your usual oven-crisped potatoes. No. They start the day as baking potatoes, skin on, and are broken into cunningly uneven chunks, drizzled with olive oil, barely touched with rosemary, baked to a savory crunch, and then slightly oversalted. You get your three most essential food groups—fat, carbs, and salt—in one bite. And when your friends beg to share, you won’t feel driven to deny them because the $5 portion is so huge. Once they’ve had a taste, they’ll want their own order anyway—or two for the table—and you can cadge an extra chunk if you’re still breathing.

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