My friends know there is nothing I love more than a wine bar. Great glasses of wine paired with small plates is the way to my heart. So when I saw a washed up coffee shop around the corner from my apartment turn into a wine bar, I couldn’t wait to check it out.
Unfortunately, this wine bar will most likely be a very short lived addition to the neighborhood. Everything about Red Frog was a fail. The over priced wine was mediocre at best, service forgetful and menu was completely all over the place. The waitress said the menu was inspired by the Turkish owner, with many Mediterranean dishes filling the page. However, the addition of Polish Perogis, Italian Prosciutto and a range of cheeses from Europe and the States further complicate the origins of the menu. Many of the cheese names stood out to me, as favorites from Fairway Market, located 4 blocks from the restaurant. I immediately became aware of the sourcing of their cheese selection, and questioned why I would pay more at a restaurant for an identical item I could get down the street.
I wanted to like it here. So I stayed and gave the food a shot. Or so I tried. We ordered the trio of cheeses and Artichoke Dip, which the menu said “blended to perfection with tofu”. However, when the cold appetizer of Artichoke Dip never arrived, the waitress blamed the kitchen for the failure to create the dish.
We did get our three cheese selection, paired with Fairway’s fig jam, I permanently keep in my fridge at home. The dish was placed in front of us, and the waitress walked off, without explanation. I then called her back to the table, requesting that she tell us at least which cheese was which. We kept a menu out for reference, since she did such a poor job of giving a legitimate explanation.
Originally the cheese was served with packaged pita bread, which I watched the waitress remove from the plastic bag and then proceed to warm it up in the Starbucks style speed-oven. I attempted to eat the cheese on the pita, but it was just wrong. The cheeses we ordered were from France, Spain and Italy, places where pita bread never graces a menu. We eventually asked for regular bread, which the waitress said was from Balthazar. However, the sliced pieces of were clearly stale, even after she tried to revive the bread in the warming oven. The bread basket arrived 10 minutes after our request, when only the rinds of our cheese remained.
Upon exiting, I inquired about a business card, like I always do after leaving a place I plan to review. They haven’t had them made yet. They also do not have a website, Twitter or Facebook page, which I deem unacceptable in this day and age.
Overall, it was a waste of money. And put a complete damper on my new excitement for a wine bar in my backyard. I’ll trek the extra few blocks to a place with quality food.
Red Frog – 2058 Broadway – New York, NY