April 23, 2007

First Bite: FR.OG

So, media night at the new kirsh/virot FR.OG. Some food and drinks were served while guests were given a chance to wander around before tomorrow's real opening. There's been a quite a bit of buzz surrounding this opening, with some dating back to summer 2006.

The food and drink skewed toward Moroccan and Asian. Waiters passed spiced scallops with peanut sauce, pork egg rolls, herbed cucumber/tomato skewers, and tomato soup. Herbal flavors like basil, cardamom and anise dominated each (with the exception of the tomato soup, which, as you might expect, was dominated by tomato). The drinks were similarly themed, with a lychee ginger/rosewater (gin) martini, and a beautifully spiced FR.OG (vodka) martini with cardamom, star anise. Both were good, but the latter rocked: pleasant aroma, good mouthfeel (though it tasted more early-winter than mid-spring).

Adjacent to Spring Street Natural, the space is an often interesting mix of modern and traditional, but is ultimately disappointing. Don't get me wrong, well-placed design elements like the Moroccan-patterned frosted glass, shadow-throwing Asian lanterns, and a mirror-mosaic spiral staircase hold together the modern French colonial theme, but those effects are mostly lost in a great white sea of empty wall and ceiling. The smaller room downstairs has a chill, loungy feel but much of it is lost because of the feet of nearly-white wall - a lower ceiling would have served them well; they could help cut the lost space by draping a translucent patterned fabric from the ceiling (as they do on the walls).

According to a waiter, it seats 105 (close to 50 in the main room, some at the bar, and 30 to 40 downstairs).

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