NYCReview

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of a frog
5.9

Frog Club

American

West Village

$$$$Perfect For:People Watching
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Is Frog Club a gag?

With its Tutti Frutti sherbet sundae extruded like spaghetti and $1,000 option to kiss the chef, it's obvious the secretive West Village restaurant is not entirely serious. Frog Club wants you to have a good time, and there is some fun to be had. But even if the place winks heavily while it cosplays Old New York for the bicoastal set, Frog Club is ultimately another sceney downtown restaurant where the main appeal is exclusivity. If you care about food, the joke is on you.

Channeling the speakeasy spirit of the previous tenant Chumley’s, Frog Club has no signage, no phone, and no info on its website. A deadpan doorperson guards the entrance, behind which a twilight-dark space unfolds across two small rooms with maroon carpets, velvet booths, and cartoonish murals of Jazz Age frogs. Between trips to the bar to collect rounds of cosmos, servers in white chore coats stab at a fireplace with a metal poker, while Barry White and the Village People egg them on. We'd show you pictures if we could.

drawing of a camera with an x over it

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of a computer with email requesting reservation

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of the dining room

photo credit: Bryan Kim

room with fireplace

photo credit: Bryan Kim

exterior of frog club

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of a camera with an x over it
drawing of a computer with email requesting reservation
drawing of the dining room
room with fireplace
exterior of frog club

Photos are verboten. A very big no no. (The person at the door places stickers over the cameras of your phone.) But for a spot that aspires to be hush hush, Frog didn’t make a quiet entrance. Early publicity swirling around LA it-spot Horses brought up accusations of felicide, and a set of stringent house rules caused further grumbling. No touching the memorabilia, no lying about your birthday, no reservations except over email—which is how we eventually got a table. The address has since been pulled from the site.

With so many regulations, it’s fair to expect a memorable meal. You’ll get one, but for the wrong reasons. Emaciated chicken wings leave you picking at bones that look as if they were donated by sparrows, and shrimp scampi arrives with a small pyramid of rice that tastes like it came out of a box. Not to be outdone, a $27 spinach soufflé quickly deflates into a gummy frittata the color of a shrink-wrapped pistachio muffin, and a green pepper dip sports six melancholy baby carrots.

drawing of carrot snack plate

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of stick figure eating small chicken wings

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of spinach soufflé

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of shrimp scampi

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of pierogi and pie

photo credit: Bryan Kim

drawing of carrot snack plate
drawing of stick figure eating small chicken wings
drawing of spinach soufflé
drawing of shrimp scampi
drawing of pierogi and pie

Seeing as how Frog Club’s menu isn’t huge—14 dishes, plus any specials—these misses hit hard. But not all is lost. Lobster pierogies dissolve in your mouth like buttery time-release capsules, and the practically weightless banana chiffon pie is a daydream in a daydream, with a supremely crumbly crust.

There’s promise at Frog Club. In the pie, the pierogies, the cocktail menus shaped like Grand Marnier bottles, and the loud, lively dining room, where plates and paintings hang from the ceiling. This place checks many of the boxes of a cool, classic, New Yorky night out, but it skips the most important one. The restaurant needs an additional house rule: No food that tastes like it’s making fun of you.

Food Rundown

Green Pepper Dip With Crudités

Six baby carrots, five slices of sunchoke, and six Saltine-esque crackers. Those are the accompaniments you’ll receive with this dish, and they’re arranged with the fanfare of an after-school snack. The dip is blandly vegetal, but those crackers sure are good.

The Original Greenwich Wings

What an intriguing name for an underwhelming dish. The drumsticks are lollipopped, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that the flats are the smallest we’ve seen.

Spinach Soufflé, “NY, NY”

What makes this “NY, NY” exactly? Is it the way the soufflé is as tough as our citizens? Or as petite as our apartments?

Maine Lobster Pierogies

We're confused by how such delicate, buttery lobster and mascarpone-stuffed pierogies exist on the same menu as the wings and soufflé.

Bone-In Filet Mignon

At $52, this filet is the most expensive item on the menu, but the price seems fair for a cut of meat that’s easily two inches thick. Whether or not you enjoy this, however, will depend on how you feel about Marmite (it’s in the sauce) and a pile of mashed peas. We’re fans of both, and the bacon on top is a fun touch.

Shrimp Scampi

Similar to the crudité, the shrimp scampi is plated like a quick home meal. A handful of garlicky shrimp surround a mound of overcooked rice as if they’re worshiping it, which they shouldn't be.

Tutti Frutti Spaghetti Sundae

Looks like spaghetti, tastes like sherbet, with shaved white chocolate impersonating parm. This dessert is light and fun, although its looks are more than half the appeal.

Banana Chiffon Pie

The best pie in the West Village? Absolutely. You can quote us on that. So fluffy. So comforting. So infused with caramelized banana flavor.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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