THE EATBEAT: The Frog earns its place on top in Grand Forks diningWe all agreed the food and the wide selection in the very lively ambience is what brings people back to this restaurant in an old building at the corner of Third Street and Second Avenue in downtown Grand Forks.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
As we finished dinner at The Toasted Frog on a Friday night in February, my friend Tammy Howard (TH) suggested the need for dessert. From the list of five desserts, she ordered Pear Pie designed to serve 2 to 3 people.
TH graciously shared her pear pie made with the Frog’s pizza crust baked with sautéed spiced pears and topped with caramel sauce and cinnamon ice cream.
Delightful, I thought. Another found the crust was too tough. And it was “chewy.”
We all agreed the food and the wide selection in the very lively ambience is what brings people back to this restaurant in an old building at the corner of Third Street and Second Avenue in downtown Grand Forks.
Reservations are recommended for groups of six or more because the place, which opens at 4 p.m., often fills to capacity. Some people go there for a quick appetizer and beverage. More often they choose from the eclectic menu that includes everything from toasted dill pickles to pheasant or Moroccan spiced lamb burger . . . and filet mignon.
As our group was going into the Frog, another friend on the way out raved about the “wonderful” filet mignon.
Once inside the Toasted Frog, you find a series of high tables and a cozy area near the bar called The Lily Pad. To me, that is choice seating.
With our group of six, we found seating fairly comfortable in the area near the open kitchen where Chef Scott Franz presides. I can never understand the long description of evening specials that are dutifully described by servers. I admire them for their ability to remember all of that. Then, I turn to the menu.
I was fascinated by the pheasant, and I ordered a wood-fired open faced pheasant melt that was described as “pheasant confit tossed in port wine demi-glace, topped with sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms and gruyere cheese on house-made bread with choice of potato.”
It was excellent because the pheasant was plentiful, tender and tasty. The mashed potatoes were smooth and light. It was one of those meals that left me thinking I would like to try that again. Meanwhile, others ordered the 8-ounce filet. And Dan Hammer (DH) chose walleye because he learned to love it growing up around the lakes in northeast South Dakota.
Our group included Mary and Matthew Glessner and Tarek Howard. The table in the rear near the kitchen was just right for watching the kitchen crew. We were on the sideline of the action of the bustling restaurant. We were near the large wine room, and we took note of the art displayed in this rather rustic and historic building.
The Toasted Frog is a successor to Lola’s, which was the first restaurant in the old building on North Third Street. It had seen years as an auto dealership, a Green Stamp redemption Store and the Pink Hanger.
The Toasted Frog has earned a place as one of the top restaurants in this area since it was opened in May 2006 by two former chefs who started out at Sanders in downtown Grand Forks and went on to the Hotel Donaldson in Fargo. They are Jon Holth and Shawn Clapp who have since December 2010 operated a similar restaurant in Bismarck.
The Toasted Frog
124 N. Third St.
• Chef: Scott Franz
• Owners:John Holth, Shawn Clapp
• Hours:Opens 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closes 11 p.m. through Thursday, closes midnight Friday, Saturday
Reservations recommended for groups of six or more: 772-3764
Seating for 110
Most major credit cards accepted
• Signature items:Cheesy dill pickles and fish tacos made from grilled Mahi-Mahi flown in weekly from Hawaii
• Report card:Lively, just short of rowdy, ambience. Eclectic menu offering everything from fried cheesy pickles for an appetizer to filet mignon as main course. Prices medium to high. Service is good. Customers can choose from appetizers, salads, lavosh, sandwiches or pizza from the wood fired oven. Or they can go full blown with complete steak or seafood dinners.
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com.