*This post was written by Edgar Castillo and edited/formatted by The Lunch Belle.**
Recently, a select group of New York’s most fabulous 20 and 30 something's were invited to partake in a “fiesta” at Senor Frog's New York. Beyond the date, time, and address, details about the event were mum...
Prior to the festivities, I scoured the web to confirm that Senor Frog's was, in fact, a Mexican restaurant. Well, it's not. Save for the chips and salsa/guac/queso selections - plus a random scattering of Mexican-inspired salads and entrees - the menu is chock-full of Americanized stuff like chicken wings, sliders, BBQ ribs, and Philly cheesesteak. So, if you can get over the fact that the word Senor means nothing in terms of the type of cuisine that is actually served, then you’ll be alright. Alternatively, if you're someone (ahem, like me) who can't leave their expectations at the door, then you'll just have to keep reminding yourself that Senor Frog's is *not* a Mexican restaurant.
The centerpiece of the fiesta was a ho-hum chips-and-dips station: The salsa was sweet and marinara sauce-esque - nothing remotely close to savory - and certainly not even close to being spicy enough for this guy. Likewise, the guacamole was runny and heavy-handed with the lime juice. Proper guac should be chunky and not drip down your arm as you bring the chip closer to your mouth. At Senor Frog's, this dip relies too heavily on its lack of additions (tomato, onion, garlic) and, ultimately, fails. In my opinion, the restaurant also missed a golden opportunity for a nacho bar (cheese fountain, anyone?!).
The passed appetizers included mini quesadillas, popcorn, and flautas. The chicken flauta was so small that I couldn't even tell if there was even any chicken involved! The fish flauta, on the other hand, was unexpectedly tasty and delicious! Who'd have thought?
Senor Frog's has margaritas on tap. I repeat: Senor Frog's has margaritas on tap!!! The salt-rimmed glasses in which the beverage was served helped to juxtapose the sweetness; this especially came in handy with the much more cloying - but equally tasty - frozen margarita.
With all of the savories, I was pleased when I saw the mini churros slowly making their way via passed tray. While the yummy flavor was there ("fried," cinnamon, sugar), they were slightly overcooked.
For dessert part deux, we were treated to an 'ice cream conga line light show,' in which the staff paraded through the restaurant and performed prior to presenting us with individual ice cream stations (in the shape of a “mini truck”). As wacky and far out as this probably sounds, it was nothing short of fun; very nostalgic and reminiscent of my days at summer camp and childhood friend’s birthday parties.
Upon looking around, I noticed that the dining room was packed with some of the most fun 20-and-30-something's in the city (...So, how’d they get my name?)! Moreover, the ceiling space was slowly filling up with artisanal helium accessories. Scattered throughout Senor Frog's were a couple of balloon artists who provided guests with whatever designs their hearts desired! Naturally, I asked for a sombrero. Let's just say that my balloon artist delivered in a big way!
My guest, Eddie, and I began to discuss how this whole experience felt like a spring break trip during college! To quote a fellow attendee - and new friend - Elliott, “My favorite part was just how much fun everyone was having. I don’t think any of us were expecting it. We entered some sort of time warp, and were transported back to high school/college spring break. Like anything goes! Pretty special when you think about it.” More importantly, Elliott shared our grievances about a missing cheese component at the chips-and-dips station.
Ultimately, showmanship eclipsed over the cuisine, which wasn't entirely shocking. But, damn, did we have a good time!
Until we eat again,
Edgar Castillo for The Lunch Belle