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My big move to East Lakeview quickly turned me into a restaurant-going guru. My favorite part of living in Chicago is exploring different neighborhoods and all the varying degrees of restaurant ambiance and unique cuisines. A recent Friday date night brought me and my boyfriend to Frog N Snail, a French-American neighborhood bistro located on Broadway between Diversey and Belmont. When we heard Chef Dale Levitski from Season 3’s Top Chef and Season 8’s Top Chef All Stars recently opened the place, we could not resist.
This Lakeview hotspot strikes most as a bistro-by-night and crêperie-by-day. From the outside, Frog N Snail appeared to be a small restaurant joint with a modern look and feel. When I walked in, my opinion quickly transformed after seeing the beautiful wooden bar to the right with casual high top tables and bar stools to the left. The layout is very interesting in the sense that the front strikes any passerby as an on-the-go coffee bar whereas the back evolves into a contemporary space filled with perfectly lined tables and booths. I instantly felt relaxed when seated in the back corner where the lighting was dimmed, distinctive art hung on the deep green walls, and beautifully bronzed frog and snail statues were placed atop the spaces separating each booth. Such a chic and modern setup.
Our waitress was extremely prompt and well-informed of each item listed on the menu in addition to the specials featured that evening. We started with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc full of citrus infused flavors – very crisp and refreshing for a hot summer night. We made an executive decision to share the mussels before our masterfully portioned entrees arrived approximately 35 minutes later. These mussels were hands down the best I have ever had – the seafood favorite was mixed in a large bowl filled with absinthe, lemon, garlic, fennel, butter and ripe sun-dried tomatoes. Our main courses were top notch and the ideal amount of food. We ordered the Curry Braised Lamb Shank (artichoke puree, garden vegetables, mint French gnocchi, pistachio, and oven goat cheese) and the Barramundi Muniere (leek, kale, asparagus, and fingerling sauté with lemon caper brown butter & dill aioli). Both dishes were filled with savory zest and we both felt the ingredients worked well together – a grand mix of sauces, spices, and season-ready vegetables.
One large appetizer, two balanced entrees and a bottle of wine later, our taste buds were pleased and neither of our pants were busting at the seams. We left Frog N Snail content and 100% satisfied. I highly recommend this new Lakeview spot—can’t wait to give the “crêperie-by-day” a go! Bravo and hats off to Chef Levitski!