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Apr 27, 2012 04:15 PM

Asheville: Mr. Frog's Soul and Creole Kitchen (Market St downtown)

I had a great experience at Mr. Frog's, the new Southern/Creole restaurant on "the Block" in Downtown Asheville, during their "soft opening" at lunch today. Mr. Frog's is the new restaurant venture from Asheville food icon Vijay Shastri, who previously ran the longtime, upscale restaurant Flying Frog. The new place, in a space formerly occupied by a Caribbean restaurant, is nicely decorated with plenty of seating. It's definitely more informal (and cheaper!) than Flying Frog. Silverware and condiments are at a grab-it-yourself station, and you order off a chalkboard menu at the counter. Lots of people were also picking up food to go. It seems like things were running pretty smoothly for a "pre-opening" day, with a minimal amount of chaos and a whole lot of really good food.

My friend and I settled in with the obligatory sweet tea (beer and wine coming soon). The food came relatively fast, and we shared the gumbo with shrimp ($12; $9 w/o shrimp) and the fried green tomatoes special ($8.50). The gumbo was very nice -- well-spiced chicken thighs, andouille sausage, and shrimp in a rich, deep brown stew, served with rice. The fried green tomatoes were perfectly crispy -- the coating was superbly spiced -- and served over "live" grits (not dehydrated; they seemed extra fluffy and had a nice texture) with goat cheese. It was excellent, though perhaps a sauce drizzled over the top of the tomatoes could have kicked it up a notch even more for me (though I'm a bigger fan of sauces than most). We didn't leave a thing on our plates. The portions were generous and the presentation was quite elegant. We split a pecan praline for dessert and it hit the spot. It was a little thinner than I'm used to, but had a perfect caramel flavor.

The menu has many other enticing items. I'm particularly excited to try the oxtail, which some people were enjoying at another table. The fried chicken looked excellent, too. All portions seem generous and many come with 2 sides as well.

Shastri told the Mountain Xpress that he wanted Mr. Frog's to be a destination for locals Hopefully lots of people, residents as well as out-of-towners, will be flocking to this place.

42 S Market St.
Downtown Asheville

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  1. Just had dinner here and I have to say it was THE BEST fried chicken I've ever eaten! Juicy and flavorful meat and an awesome crispy crust. Huge portion, a steal at $8.50 w/ 2 sides. Greens were OK, I'd get something else next time though, and the Mac and cheese was good but I think next time I'll try the grits. My husband had the étouffée and loved it. I thought it needed a hit of lemon and some heat but it was still very good. Cucumber water on tap was delicious and we had a decent wine for $5.50. The place was really cute and the music was fun - we will definitely be back!

    1. At the suggestion of a friend, we tried Mr Frogs ,
      I can not give this restaurant higher praise for excellent food and quality for the reasonable prices.
      We had Beef short ribs and chicken and dumplings
      Great food and great side dishes, mac and cheese, Cole slaw, corn bread and collard greens
      OUTSTANDING Ribs, they were so moist and flavored beyond any I have ever had
      My hubby just loved the chicken and dumplings . Moist and tasty
      This place is the best restaurant that has come on the Asheville dining scene for many months
      Great quality food at very reasonable prices
      We will frequent this restaurant . Hope they succeed