If you're feeling like you're constantly hearing the words "there's nowhere to eat on the Upper East Side" you're likely between the ages of twenty and forty and are looking for a restaurant that hasn't been open longer than you've been on this planet. So, what do you do, you hop on the six train, taxi or Uber and leave the comforts of your neighborhood to find a dining experience that excites you. Well, friends, if you like that downtown restaurant that has thought about all of the details of your meal from restaurant decor, to music, to food, to drink, to service, I have some exciting news for you. François Latapie, the former Director of Operations at Bagatelle Group restaurants, has moved on up to the East Side to bring the scene back to the neighborhood with his new Parisian restaurant, Little Frog. He does not come alone. Working alongside him is his Executive Chef Xavier Monge whom you may know from his days as sous chef at Minetta Tavern under Chefs Riad Nasr, Lee Hanson and William Brasile, or perhaps his prior posts at Balthazar and Payard Bistro.
From the white-washed brick walled décor with deep blue-green pin-tucked couch lined walls, white topped bar with industrial lighting, dark wood paneled floors that around the bar become Parisian vintage tiles, french doors and enough space to seat seventy-five guests, my friends, that chic Bagatelle decor is officially on the Upper East Side. If you’ve dined at Bagatelle, don’t be afraid, I asked, there are no plans for the crazy costume clad boozy brunches here (I won’t delve into that too much, if you’ve read my article on Bagatelle or have ventured in on a weekend, you know. If not, check out my article, here).
The menu itself is beautifully executed French cuisine. From thoughtful plating to high quality produce, each dish placed in front of me was equally as wow-worthy as the last. I love this consistent quality in a restaurant. If you’ve never taken the plunge and ordered duck liver, it’s time to pop that cherry, you know, one of the ones served in their Duck Liver Foie Gras Parfait with griottes cherries and grilled levain, into your mouth—wink wink, nudge nudge. Really though, if you don’t like this take on it, you can safely go to bed at night knowing you’ve tried your best. The Chicken “Roasted Sous La Brique” is not to be missed, not because it’s ground breaking but because it’s just a great clean and flavorful chicken dish. Then there’s the Frogger Burger, a staple on any French Bistro’s menu, which is named after the restaurant and is sans actual frog, is served with thick cut fries, and like the rest of the dishes it is beautifully executed here.
Join me in welcoming Little Frog to the neighborhood! Skip the ride on the six train, taxi or Uber and stroll on over, prop yourself up on a counter side black wooden stool with a dark camel colored cushion, order a glass of bubbly and as much food as your stomach can hold without physically imploding.