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Frog n Snail

Frog n Snail
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  • Frog n Snail

    Post #1 - May 15th, 2012, 3:47 pm
    Post #1 - May 15th, 2012, 3:47 pm Post #1 - May 15th, 2012, 3:47 pm
    I don't think I saw any reviews - this just recently opened where Sura Thai used to be - perhaps should be mentioned in the Unbearable Blandness of Broadway thread.

    Frog n Snail is Dale Levitski's new bistro. It's quite pretty, but when you walk in, you are just hit with this roar of sound. The back is quieter. Certainly there was one large group, and like most groups they were slightly noisier than most, but except for when the uncle was roaring at the kids, they didn't seem that much louder than your average 4-top. I think it just resonated in there.

    I doubt I'd had his food before, nor had I realized that there were people who loved it and people who hated it. But I can see why, on both sides. He uses a lot of bold flavors, and it seemed to me like there were a few too many. For instance, the steak frites had mushrooms and garlic and blue cheese and steak sauce (tasted like very good A-1 sauce, but I don't want sauce on my steak unless I put it there).

    The hostess was lovely and helpful, the waiter was cute and perky. Unfortunately he also spent a good long time being cute with the other waiters while our food languished in the kitchen (came to the table luke-tepid and a very long time after our appetizers were done).

    Frog n Snail
    3124 N Broadway
    773-661-9166
    http://frognsnail.com
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #2 - May 15th, 2012, 7:15 pm
    Post #2 - May 15th, 2012, 7:15 pm Post #2 - May 15th, 2012, 7:15 pm
    leek wrote:For instance, the steak frites had mushrooms and garlic and blue cheese and steak sauce


    That's all I need to hear.

    You fuck with my steak frites and we're through.
    I may have loved you once, but no more. Don't call me, in fact forget you know me; Tell your mother I said goodbye.
  • Post #3 - May 16th, 2012, 9:52 am
    Post #3 - May 16th, 2012, 9:52 am Post #3 - May 16th, 2012, 9:52 am
    Steak sauce is the perfect way to ruin a great steak. Yuck!!
  • Post #4 - May 16th, 2012, 10:36 am
    Post #4 - May 16th, 2012, 10:36 am Post #4 - May 16th, 2012, 10:36 am
    Unfortunately he also spent a good long time being cute with the other waiters while our food languished in the kitchen (came to the table luke-tepid and a very long time after our appetizers were done).


    Maybe that's where the "Snail" part of the name comes from.
  • Post #5 - May 16th, 2012, 7:28 pm
    Post #5 - May 16th, 2012, 7:28 pm Post #5 - May 16th, 2012, 7:28 pm
    I found the staff really rude and unprofessional. Very disappointing experience - live in the neighborhood and wanted to love it.
  • Post #6 - May 17th, 2012, 12:46 pm
    Post #6 - May 17th, 2012, 12:46 pm Post #6 - May 17th, 2012, 12:46 pm
    Frog N Snail is right at the end of our alley, so we popped over there twice this past weekend for drinks, and came away impressed and pleasantly surprised.

    On Friday, after putting the girls to bed and having dinner, we took advantage of having some family in town to hold down the fort and popped out for a drink. We came out of our alley onto Broadway and surveyed our drink options: Friar Tuck, Monsignor Murphy's, Dram Shop...I wasn't in the mood for a Captain & Coke or a Miller Lite, so we decided to give Frog N Snail a shot and see if we could get something a bit better.

    We thought we'd grab a couple seats at the bar, but when we walked in, we saw that there were none available; the friendly hosts behind the podium asked if we were there to eat, we said we'd hoped to just have a couple of cocktails, but would come back another time - they would hear nothing of it, and insisted we sit at a table and enjoy some drinks.

    Between the two of us, we tried four of their six cocktails: An American in Paris (Rye Whiskey, St. Germain, Raspberry, Champagne), Livin' Ain't Easy (Death’s Door Gin, Strawberry-Thai Basil Shrub, Fernet Branca, Lemon), Bitter Betty (Cynar, Averna, Lillet Rouge, Angostura Bitters, Lemon, Soda), The Upper East-Sider (Journeyman W.R. Whiskey, Vermouth Blanc, Bittermen’s Orange Cream Citrate). All four cocktails were well made, balanced, and quite tasty.

    Our server was friendly, knowledgable, and competent. The manager (if I recall correctly, her name was Briar) stopped by to introduce herself and make sure we were enjoying our drinks, and revealed herself to be a major liquor geek...this led to a great, spirited (pun intended) conversation about our latest liquor obsessions, bitters, cocktails, etc.. On her recommendation, I look forward to trying negroni variations made with Cynar instead of Campari.

    On Saturday, after a nice dinner at The Peasantry, we found ourselves wandering Clark St. between Wrightwood and Diversey in search of a good after-dinner cocktail, and were coming up empty. So we headed toward home, we found ourselves heading to Frog N Snail again. Once again, all of the seats at the bar were full, but Briar greeted us warmly at the door, led us to a table, and chatted with us for a bit.

    We tried the two cocktails we'd missed the previous night: Le Monde Noir (Journeyman Bilberry Black Hearts Gin, Black Currant, Combier Mure) and El Fin (Fidencio Mezcal, Thatcher’s Tres Chiles, Grapefruit, Salt, Cayenne). Both were great drinks...El Fin was especially interesting, as such a savory cocktail.

    Between the great cocktails, the friendly staff, and the neighborhood proximity, I'm sure I'll be back for drinks soon, and hope to check it out for dinner in the near future.
  • Post #7 - May 17th, 2012, 4:21 pm
    Post #7 - May 17th, 2012, 4:21 pm Post #7 - May 17th, 2012, 4:21 pm
    The cocktail program is something that is definitely an offshoot of Sprout - very creative mixtures on offer over there, particularly the specials that are available at the child-free brunch. I'm looking forward to the impending brunch at FnS; wonder what the stance on children will be there? :?:
  • Post #8 - May 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm
    Post #8 - May 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm Post #8 - May 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm
    A meal I had here last week was a mixed bag. There were definitely a few highlights but I just couldn't get into the main courses. I thought they were somewhat off-balance, had too much going on and were too sweet.

    We started with 3 appetizers -- Radishes with Mustard Butter, Homemade Ricotta Dip, Brandade Stix -- which were all good. None of them were "I must order this again" compelling but they were tasty. My favorite was the radish dish. I liked the crunchy radish slices in combination with the Genoa salami and mustards. I appreciated the novel concept of the brandade stix (over the past 12 months, I've had this classic 'traditional,' 'in a cup' and formed into a stick) but the cod flavor was pretty much lost in this preparation. The ricotta dip, accented with bacon and broccoli crumbles, was tasty, with a nice combo of flavors and textures.

    Salads were a notch better and stood out as dishes where the chef's personalization worked well. We had 2: The Ossau Iraty (marcona almonds, orange, radish, black garlic, and Pedro Ximenez vinaigrette) was imaginative and successful. A stylized take on Lyonnaise (frisee, frites, lardon, poached egg and black truffle vinaigrette) was also delicious. These were probably my favorite plates of the night.

    The steak frites mentioned upthread was actually pretty good, with the major exception of the cloyingly sweet sauce, which I thought detracted greatly from the dish. The steak was nicely cooked between medium-rare and rare, was pleasantly chewy and had excellent flavor. The frites were tasty and very crispy. But the sauce, a take on A-1, kind of ruined it for me. It was extremely sweet. I think actual A-1 from a bottle would have been an improvement because it's less sweet. But without the sauce would have been best. This may have resulted in a more ordinary dish but it would have been a clear winner. Sweetness was also problem for me with the Beef Stroganoff, where it invaded a dish I usually think of as textbook savory. Great ingredients here, nicely prepared in a distinctive take but again, the sweetness clouded it for me. I appreciated the risk and the personalization of these dishes but didn't think they ended up being successful. The Poussin Ratatouille wasn't too sweet for me but it was just ok. The bird was a somewhat dry and the "basil stove top stuffing" played out more like unassembled components than an actual stuffing.

    A couple of desserts were forgettable...and I mean that literally, as I don't even remember what they were. Definitely my bad. One of my dining companions tells me that we ordered a Breton cake and Profiteroles, and that sounds about right. All I can remember was taking one bite of each and thinking, "ok, I've tried this."

    I loved chef Levitski's food back at Trio and at various (charity) events around town. At the Green City Market BBQ Festivals over the past couple of years, his dishes have been among my favorites. For these reasons, I was a little bummed that I didn't like Frog N Snail more than I did. But there were a lot of items on the dinner menu that we didn't try and many of them looked tempting. Also, the Lunch and Cafe menus look really promising, so I'm hoping that I'll enjoy future trips to Frog N Snail more than my first one.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #9 - September 22nd, 2012, 9:25 am
    Post #9 - September 22nd, 2012, 9:25 am Post #9 - September 22nd, 2012, 9:25 am
    I'll concede and say that dinner at Frog 'n Snail was a mixed bag. I say concede because friends of mine really enjoyed the meal (thought I didn't), but I didn't taste much of what they ate. I started with the Lyonnaise salad, which the unambitious side of me chose for two reasons: it may be my favorite salad, and Dale has traditionally done this salad proud. But while most of the ingredients in this Lyonnaise were present and accounted for, including the properly poached egg melting yolk, the black truffle vinaigrette was seriously lacking in acidity, which in my opinion is the mortar that makes the Lyonnaise salad.

    My curry-braised lamb shank was more disappointing. If you plan to order this for the curry flavor, don't. It was barely detectable. If you plan to order the shank because you like braised, tender meats, don't. There was very little in the way of a sauce, and it seemed like the lamb was later crisped, and there was very little in the way of tender pieces. As for the lamb's accompaniments, the mint French gnocchi seemed more like a poor version (too dense) of Italian gnocchi, whereas they should have been even lighter than the Italian potato gnocchi. I also suspect they had an abundance of mint in the kitchen because that was the one flavor that really came through, and too strong.

    But before my complaining gets out of hand, I must complement the kitchen on the d'affinois crepe with ratatouille. I only had a taste (all right, maybe a few large tastes but luckily my friend who ordered it isn't reading this) but it was beautifully executed and well thought out - a soft crepe, but with crispy edges, the ultra-creamy and buttery d'affinois melting onto the plate, and a brightly acidic ratatouille cooked just long enough for the vegetables to retain some texture. Pretty close to perfection really.

    I also tasted the barramundi, but not enough to formulate much of a judgment. My friend enjoyed it. Another friend really enjoyed the beef stroganoff, but I didn't even taste so I can't help in answering any questions, including whether sweetness concerns have been addressed.

    But to cap off my disappointment, I'll talk about my dessert, a berry tart of sorts. There was crust, berries and cream cheese, and if I left it at that, you wouldn't know the train had crashed. But the crust component was comprised of several overly blond pieces of crust. The berries far too acidic, hardly macerated. And then a Baskin Robbins ice cream-size scoop of barely sweetened cream cheese. Had the crust pieces been baked a little longer, had the cream cheese been replaced with a cream cheese ice cream, and had there been just a bit more sugar on the berries and had they been allowed to macerate a bit before serving, yes, then I would not be complaining so much. As it was served however, I would adjudge this berry tart a success only for pre-teen venturing into the world of dessert-making for the very first time.

    The berry tart was not the only dessert disaster by the way. There was also a whiskey creme brulee topped with candied bacon and root beer-marinated apples. Not as clever as it sounds once you dig in. Well, let's start off with the question of what happens when you put hard, barely cooked (if at all cooked) hefty chunks of apple atop a delicate sugar-crusted creme brulee. The answer is that you make a mess as you mightily attempt to cut the apple, and custard splatters. A small problem perhaps. But these flavors were never meant to be friends, all seemingly fighting for respect on the same plate, and not one winning the battle.

    To end on a higher note, service was very friendly and efficient, courses were well timed, and the servers picked appropriate times to inquire about and serve cocktails and wine. And decor, lighting played along with the idea that this was an upscale night out for friends. I only wish more of the food had cooperated.
  • Post #10 - September 22nd, 2012, 11:27 pm
    Post #10 - September 22nd, 2012, 11:27 pm Post #10 - September 22nd, 2012, 11:27 pm
    zoid wrote:
    leek wrote:For instance, the steak frites had mushrooms and garlic and blue cheese and steak sauce


    That's all I need to hear.

    You fuck with my steak frites and we're through.
    I may have loved you once, but no more. Don't call me, in fact forget you know me; Tell your mother I said goodbye.


    Yeah, that was one disappointing steak lunch that I had here. Worse, my steak was covered with miserable overcooked shriveled sad little snails. I guess they thought that might detract from the fact that the steak was fairly tough and grisly. If you are going to buy meat like that, you are going to have to not serve it as a steak or people are going to be disappointed.

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