Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vijay Shastri's new restaurant is a hit - Mr. Frog's Soul & Creole Kitchen


Owners Holly McFarling and Chef Vijay Shastri opened Mr. Frog’s in April this year.  Since I ‘retired’ that month and started a new company I haven’t taken the time to go see my old friend Vijay.  I loved his food at every restaurant he has created and cooked at in the area – yes, going back that far!  He seems able to switch cuisines like I drink wine and does it with an incredible knack for knowing just the right way to cook it.  It’s obvious that he does not believe in shortcuts in the kitchen.

So I finally made it in for dinner with my wife, father-in-law and godson (my mother-in-law was under the weather and we’ve promised to take her soon!).  While business was a little slow that night I used it to my advantage to talk with Vijay for a few minutes after we ate.  I told him what I’m about to tell you – the food was fantastic.

The atmosphere matches the Soul food and Creole theme with an old world rustic Southern charm.  It makes me think of the old saying, “She may not be much to look at but to me she’s beautiful”.  I believe the space was meant for Mr. Frog’s.  If you remember the Ritz CafĂ©, that’s where Frog’s is located on South Market Street or also known as ‘the block’.

Order at the counter from the menu over head and also watch Chef Vijay in the kitchen
After arriving, you walk up to the counter and order off the chalk board hanging over head which is changed daily.  You are given a number and take a seat.  Food is delivered to you at your table.  Prices are very reasonable ranging from $8 - $15.  The Soul food comes with two sides while the Creole choices stand alone.  I’m anxious to back and try the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($8.50) and the Slap Yo Mama Meatloaf ($8.00) among other signature dishes that I hear wonderful feedback about.
 
Boneless Beef Short Ribs with collard greens and snap beans
I ordered the Boneless Beef Short Ribs ($12.50) knowing that Vijay put the right kind of attention on it.  He didn’t disappoint at all!  Tender, succulent and full of flavor just the way it should be.  My sides were collards greens and snap beans.  The collards were traditional but without too much fat that you can sometimes get with the old style.  The snap beans were cooked with heirloom tomatoes and almonds.  I could have eaten them all night, they were great!

Pork Ribs with mashed potatoes and mac 'n' cheese
My wife and father-in-law both ordered the Pork Ribs du Jour ($12.00) which came with a subtle tomato based barbeque.  I snuck a small bite and was please to find them as tender as the beef ribs and loaded with flavor only attained by time in the hands of a careful Chef.  They both ordered mashed potatoes and mac ‘n’ cheese as their sides.  Again, a small taste of each while my wife wasn’t looking awarded me with savory tastes of each.  The mac ‘n’ cheese was my favorite of the two and came with bread crumbs on top as well, perfect.

Jambalaya with Andouille sausage, Tasso and chicken
My godson decided on the Jambalaya ($9.50) with Andouille sausage, Tasso and chicken.  He even came up with a bite for his old godfather!  He’s a good young man.  The flavors melded together yet offered the variety of tastes that makes a good jambalaya.  Just the right spice sets it off to make you look forward to the next bite.  Well it would have if I dared to reach across the table anyway.

My wine choice for the evening
The portions are plentiful, the ambiance is perfect and the anticipation of the next visit is palatable.  Holly and Vijay have added an excellent new addition to the Asheville Foodtopian culinary scene.  And to add to the value, there is a nice selection of wine and local beers priced right.  I drank a bottle of Vincent Girardin Maranges La Fussiere Premier Cru 2004 for $38.  I know, not what you would expect to drink at this venue, but Vijay is involved after all.  Wonderful!

Contact Info
Mr. Frog's Soul & Creole Kitchen
(828) 505-4999
mrfrogs.com
Downtown
42 South Market Street
Asheville, NC
28801

Mr. Frog's Soul & Creole Kitchen on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. Sounds great unless you don't eat meat - then I guess you are out of luck. Or maybe they have some meatless choices and they simply were not mentioned.

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  2. Jay, the menu the day I went was meat heavy. He did have Black Beans and Rice with Fried Plantains as well as several veg sides. I would hate for you to miss out so stop in and see what VJ can do for you. Doesn't hurt to ask and you may find a new favorite also.
    AF

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