Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Frog n Snail

I'm officially a huge fan of Dale Levitski. I've always been a fan - dating way back pre Sprout when he was cooking in the old "Relax Lounge" (now Leopold) space on Wednesday nights until Sprout was launched. I've only been to Sprout once (for my birthday dinner a few years ago) and really enjoyed the experience and have recommended many times. Frog is restaurant number two and is located in my old 'hood of Lakeview on Broadway - an area really taking off with the food scene recently. Everything I read described it as a bistro and I didn't know what to expect. It's not huge but is probably seats more than it looks. The bar is the front area with the main dining room in back. The decor is subtle and clean; I wouldn't call it interesting or super creative but it gets the job done. One complaint is that it felt really loud.

I really like the menu because there are plenty of choices but they keep things well defined without overwhelming. There are two sections of starters (four in each), "Ours" and "Mine, All Mine" - followed by "Leaves" (five choices) and finally "Big Guys" (eight options, half meat half not). Many choices appealed but we settled on fried green tomatoes to start, a lyonnaise salad and shared the Barramundi and beef stroganoff.

Everything was delicious which shouldn't have been a surprise but the consistency and tastiness was. It helps when you start off with delicious fried green tomatoes. That could have been the best dish of the night if only by a little. The batter was not a deep fry and was a little grainy. I really liked the spicy ranch aioli served on the plate. I also really enjoyed the lyonnaise salad. The poached egg was in perfect proportion to the rest of the dish and I thought the fries were an excellent addition and creative balance. Of the two starters I preferred the barramundi but only by a little. The fish was perfectly cooked and well seasoned served with look, kale and asparagus with a nice brown butter and dill aioli. It's what I expect from a seafood main course when eating out. The beef stroganoff was only slightly less appealing to me because I love stroganoff and felt short changed with the noodles. But the braise short ribs and petit filet au poivre was fantastic. It felt more like a meat dish wish a small side of pappardelle noodles - which is not bad but not what I expected. Dessert was the angle and devil food cake with cream and chocolate and other goodies. Nice and very rich. Another nice little touch on the evening was seeing chef Dale walking around in his chef coat all night. Even if he's considered a "celebrity chef" it's nice to know he's actually in the kitchen making sure his food is prepared as directed.

Other menu items I would like to try include the steak frites, brook trout, lamb shank. If I lived in the neighborhood this would be a go to place on a regular basis. I've also heard the brunch program is delicious. Frog delivers high quality and tasty food at reasonable prices in a casual and fun atmosphere. Highly recommended.

Frog n Snail on Urbanspoon

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