Remember me? I know it’s been a while. Just over 4 years in fact.
It’s always awkward breaking the ice again after it’s been so long. Like those times when you keep meaning to text back your friend from high school, and you swear you’re gonna do it tomorrow, but you’ve said that for the last 3 months so at this point you should just probably get a new number and leave the country under a fake name.
But here I am. Breaking that ice with a sledgehammer. We’re gonna make it through the awkward, you and me. We’re gonna make it.
I stopped writing because I left Jamaica Plain. I moved up to Allston, lived there for a couple years, then moved to Brighton, and now I’m back in JP, only a couple blocks from where I used to live. To be honest, I was going to resurrect the blog when I was living in Allston. I even went to a few places and wrote the blogs, but I never posted. But I’m back now. And I’m going to pick up where I left off.
But a lot has changed. This isn’t a blog about my life, so I’ll spare you most of the details. But this time around, it’s not just going to be me and random guests. I recently became a foster parent, and I’ve got a 12 year old living with me. To protect his identity, I’m going to call him Jackson. He and I are teaming up to continue eating down Centre Street. So let’s dig in.
Although my last posts were from Italy, the last JP restaurant I wrote about was Alex’s Chimis. Next is The Frogmore. It used to be a different restaurant a few years ago, but I never made it there before it changed up. When I tell Jackson the name of our destination, he makes a funny face.
“What’s it called??”
“What kind of food is that?!”
I chuckle. “I think it’s southern food. Don’t worry, they don’t serve frog legs. Well, actually, maybe they do, but they’ll have other stuff, too.” In case you couldn’t tell from the title, they don’t serve frog legs, which was actually a bit disappointing to me. I’ve never tried them but would really like to some day. Today is apparently not that day.
Their website says “Boston meets southern charm.” Indeed, walking in, there’s a definite southern feel. I’ve never been to a southern plantation, but it has that sort of feel to it. The wallpaper is a bunch of pineapples, so fans of the TV show “Psych” would be pleased.
But that’s only on the right side of the restaurant. The other side has a bar and some random pinball machines. A weird combination, but so be it.
Jackson’s first impression: They have nice seating.
Truth. It really is quaint in here.
After we’re seated, the waitress comes to take our order. Jackson wants to get a starter, so I ask which was her favorite.
“Fried green tomatoes.” ($8)
Jackson thinks she said potatoes, so he is initially on board. When I clarify, he says he’ll throw up if he eats a tomato.
“Hash browns are a good option if you don’t want those,” offers the waitress.
“What about the mac and cheese?” ($8) Jackson asks.
“It’s hard to go wrong with mac and cheese.” Hmmm…we will see about that. I generally have a rule where I don’t get mac and cheese at restaurants because it’s nearly always overpriced and underwhelming. Not to toot my own horn (that saying is weirder when you have to type it out), but I can make better mac and cheese than most establishments, in my experience.
Jackson and I agree that we will get the green tomatoes and the mac and cheese, but he has to at least give the tomatoes a try.
As for the waitress’s favorite main, she immediately goes for the fried chicken ($18). That’s good. Jackson and I were both eyeing that item. It’s a bucket, so we decide to split it. For the side, most people get corn bread, but a healthier option is the collard greens. Jackson actually introduced me to collard greens, so when the waitress mentions that option, we exchange a knowing glance and nod.
“We’ll go with the greens.”
We don’t have to wait long at all before the fried green tomatoes are delivered to us. And they are piping hot. Now, I don’t know that I have had fried green tomatoes before, but I thoroughly enjoy them. The tomatoes themselves are somewhat sour, which is probably how they always are. Or perhaps it’s the green goddess dressing that came with them? Jackson takes a bite and makes a grimace. “It’s the tomato!” Suffice to say, he is not a fan.
I, on the other hand, love the tomatoes. The sauce is subtle, mostly tasting of garlic but without being overpowering. The breading is crispy and salty, with a lot of flavor in itself. The salt offsets the sour well.
Next out is the mac and cheese. It’s got bread crumbs on top, which is always a good sign.
“It’s good, but it needs some cheese,” notes Jackson.
He’s right. It’s not super cheesy, and it’s lacking in salt. It’s really quite bland. Disappointing but not surprising.
Then the main course arrives: fried chicken and collard greens. There are 4 pretty huge pieces of chicken, along with 3 different sauces: mustard BBQ, vinegar BBQ, and hot sauce. Actually, the waitress thoughtfully brings out a more kid-friendly fourth sauce, a sweet BBQ.
Let’s take the sauces one at a time.
Mustard BBQ: If you are into mustard, you might like this sauce. But for me, a non-mustard lover, I can’t really get into it—it’s really quite mustardy, if that’s even a word.
Vinegar BBQ: I’m not a BBQ connoisseur, but apparently vinegar BBQ is from North Carolina. It’s a thin, almost watery sauce with a transparent red color. I have never had it before, but I quite like it. I don’t really know how to actually use it. I’m used to thicker BBQ sauce, which I tend to put on my plate like ketchup and then dip. But that’s not really working here. So I just keep pouring it onto the chicken for each bite. It’s delicious but not super efficient.
Hot sauce: I mean, it’s hot sauce. But this stuff really has a kick to it, which I’m into, but I prefer the vinegar sauce, so I don’t end up using the hot sauce too much. Jackson takes one whiff and shakes his head.
As for the collard greens, well, we are both disappointed. They are kind of sour, kind of bitter, with a slight kick. They’re not my favorite, and Jackson doesn’t like it much either. “Too sour,” he says.
Now for the chicken itself. The breading is crispy with a slight char. The meat is tender. That’s important. I consistently find chicken to be dry, so I am pleased with how this chicken turns out. I initially try to work around the bones before realizing that there aren’t any bones. That’s surprising, as I associate fried chicken with having to pick around bones, but I’m by no means upset. While I’m not blown away by the chicken, I’m still pleased with it and enjoy the vinegar sauce along with it. Jackson, on the other hand, does not like it. That comes as a shock to me, as fried chicken is his favorite, but I suppose that sort of makes him an expert on the subject. He says that the breading has too much flavor, so he can’t taste the chicken. I think that’s why I like it, but we have very different tastes, as future posts are sure to demonstrate.
All in all, the Frogmore is a swing and a miss for Jackson. While I certainly have enjoyed the meal, I don’t really think I care to return. The prices are high for what I would consider average or maybe slightly above average eating. Except maybe those fried green tomatoes. Those are a highlight for me. I’d get them again.