As I walked through the entryway of Little Frog, a large, modern and vibrantly colored painting on the opposite wall caught my attention. In the middle of the painting, a woman’s dark eyes underneath a raised eyebrow stared down at me. It was clear what the eyes would say if they could speak: Welcome, here you will find things you expect and things you do not.
Francois Latapie, the owner of Little Frog, certainly likes the element of the new and unexpected and the promise of the future, but the old is still there beneath every surface. It is there in the antiques placed about the restaurant, in the soft ticking of a clock, and in the white brick. Little Frog is unpretentious and cozy, but somehow maintains an air of mystery.
The food is beautifully uncomplicated. As we sat, basking in the glow from the string of twinkle lights around the front window, Chef Xavier Monge brought out plates of duck liver parfait, Scottish salmon, Comte fritters, and lamb meatballs. Every dish was presented with understated elegance: clean, reasonably portioned – each one a small work of art.
“You know it could be French,” says Francois, and it certainly does feel French, but it is approachable. That was the goal, he explained, when choosing a name for the bistro. He went on to say that it had to be something that could feel French without being one of those French words that Americans cannot seem to pronounce. “Frog” is a long-time English diminutive name for French people. “Little” reminds one of the humbleness of small, cute things. So, it seemed the perfect combination.
Little Frog is a bistro, a neighborhood restaurant, because, as Francois described it to us, restaurants act as scouts to attract the rest of the community. “Restaurants are anchors,” he simply stated, “We need more anchors.”