January 28, 2016
The worst thing about Sunday brunch at the Green Frog is deciding what to order. The best thing is realizing that it really doesn’t matter. There are no bad choices.Granted, this generous assessment of the Green Frog brunch is based on just two of the seven dishes offered. Certainly it would be a mistake to heap praise so wantonly were it not for the resume and track record of the people at the controls.
Matt Billings, owner of the Green Frog, has joined forces with Andrew Smith, Jack May and Dan Campbell, the team behind the Junk Ditch Brewing Company and Affiné Food Truck, and Grace Kelly, the GK in GK Pastries, to offer up a menu that is varied and unexpected. And the bloody Mary bar doesn’t hurt.
Fancy a tumble with croque madame (house ham, Havarti, pickled onion, fried egg, GK Cuban bread)? Or do biscuits and gravy (house chorizo, lime, scallion, GK biscuit) sound more like your style?
Neither of those appeared at the table on a recent Sunday in early January. What did show up, however, was an appealing plate of potato rosti (fingerling potato, oyster mushroom, bechamel, spinach, slow egg) and another of shrimp and grits (crispy shrimp, polenta, jowl bacon, house knackwurst).
The potato rosti was a perfect balance of ingredients. It would have been easy to soak the veggies and ’shrooms in the sauce, which combined with the egg yolk would have required a straw or strong tongue to lap up. But such was not the case. The firm exterior of the potatoes yielded nicely to reveal the fluffy interior while the finely cooked spinach added a healthy feel to the dish.
As for the grits and shrimp, no southerner could complain. The polenta (the fancy name for cornmeal mush) was just mushy enough if that makes any sense. Snuggled in and on the grits was an ample school of tender and crispy shrimp and cubes of jowl bacon and knackwurst (a fancy name for sausage). It wasn’t easy for me to tell the difference between the bacon and the knackwurst. I don’t think they could pick me out of a pile of grits either. But that’s okay. Recognition is not required for enjoyment. I was happy, and the hog didn’t complain.
Speaking of hogs, the ones who add flavor to the Green Frog brunch selections did not have far to travel, coming as they did from Gunthorp Farms in Lagrange. The other ingredients come from local sources as well. Junk Ditch Gardens provides the produce, Fischer arms in Jasper the beef and maple syrup, eggs come from Wholesome Horizon in Larwill and from Country Garden in Fort Wayne, which also supplies produce. Hawkins Family Farm rounds out the localvore dream team by providing chicken and produce.
The menu is rounded out by the brunch must-have, Benedict (Hollandaise, house Canadian bacon, slow egg, GK biscuit) and perhaps the most adventurous of the items: chicken and waffles (fried chicken, sweet potato waffle, citrus, maple, Valentina).
Well, almost rounded out. The pastries must not be neglected. Consisting of banana bread, cranberry and white chocolate scone and cinnamon roll, the baked goods whipped up by Kelly are enough to make any grandmother hang it up. The perfectly balanced flavor and texture, not to mention the delicate sweetness, made the Green Frog brunch experience complete.
Rating: 4.5 napkins out of a possible 5.
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