4:30: Team Eater is about to roll out of Señor Frog's — it's been real. Here are some more pics of the mise en scène, courtesy of Nick Solares:
3:55: Managing editor Sonia Chopra notes that Señor Frog's has a coat room!
3:50: Señor Frog's is both a party spot and a family restaurant. Lots of kids here. Also, this place is impeccably clean. There are, at all times, a few guys sweeping up around the corners.
3:45: Here's Ryan Sutton's take on the mozzarella sticks:
David Yee and I were just debating the mozz sticks. I like a little more "squirt" in mozzarella sticks....you want the hot oil to singe your tongue a bit and I didn't really get that here. "You should get hurt eating mozzarella sticks," David noted, but perhaps that's because we waited too long.
3:40: BTW, apparently the servers trained for THREE WEEKS to learn the dance routines. They've got about 10 that they can perform.
3:35: Here's Robert's read on the scene: "The Eater team, crowding around the long raised table painted all sorts of shades of bilious green, is growing. Sonia's brother Neil has just arrived from Atlanta. Hillary has streaks of red in her dark hair. Helen is talking with Bill, also in from Atlanta. I see Kat and Ryan and Erin from Portland, OR. More yard drinks with plastic palm trees on top are being passed around."
3:30: Eater editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt says that the queso is "pretty good" and even better "when you eat it with fries."
3:28: "Because maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me, because after all, you're my Wonderwall..."
3:25: Observation from Helen Rosner: "Actually, everything here looks like dicks."
The tinkly ice cream truck song begins playing. You know, the one that sends children running. The ice cream comes in scoops beside cups of toppings mounted on a 2-foot ice cream truck. There are two of them and they're setting them down at our table! Predictably, there's a winking frog face on the side of each one. The stacked cones seem to be coming out of the gas tank. Another giant martini glass holds a classic banana split sundae. The strawberries on top seem a little chewed, but the thing looks good nonetheless. Excitement. The Eater staff are all grabbing for spoons.
A siren is going off even more ear splitting than the whistles. The entire front of the house in their T-shirts are now dancing and clapping on the proscenium stage on the side that we didn't notice before. The girls all wear shirts that say Good Girls on front and Bad Girls on back. "Everybody clap your hands," says an unseen MC. "Uptown Funk" is the tune.
3:05: Skateboard sliders:
3:00: So, Señor Frog's has some legitimately crazy dish presentations. Look at this hot dog [pic by Nick Solares]:
2:55: Overheard at Eater's table at Señor Frog's: "All the cups look like dicks."
2:50: Here's Ryan Sutton's insta-assessment of the wings:
The wings are pretty decent! One of the biggest pitfalls about wings in a theme restaurant is that you'll often encounter a sauce that strays too far from the Buffalo original, which involves cutting through the fatty richness of a chicken drumstick with a vinegar-based hot sauce, preferably Frank's RedHot, and these deliver in that regard. The best part is that the sauce seems to glow a bit under the semi-flourescent lights of Señor Frog's, which makes them look kind of radioactive, and which is kind of righteous given the HEAT! Generally speaking, I'm all for more glow-in-the-dark food!
2:40: Sietsema describes the vibe:
Even though it has a Times Square address, note that Señor Frog's is really located one block away at 8th Avenue. This should be confusing to tourists. (As I write this I'm wearing a balloon hat called "Firecracker." I can't see what it looks like because there are no mirrors down here.)
There's almost not signage outside on 42nd St. You reach a circular area with all sorts of merchandise for sale behind it, and then trip down a rather steep circular stairway lined with stenciled pictures of sharks, Jaws-style. Downstairs is a maze of bright colorful lights with booths, tables, circular booths at various levels, all upholstered with pastel Naugahydes. Harvested from the most colorful Nauga farm in the world.
2:37: Sietsema: "Running my eye over the very red menu, there are far more Mexican-American items than Mexican ones. No chicken mole poblano or red snapper Veracruz, but plenty of burritos, fajitas, chimichangas, and 'queso dip,' which I assume is chili con queso, Texas style."
2:33: Sietsema: "One of the waitresses is carrying around a frog dummy with an orange t-shirt who is just a stick from the waist down. The purpose is to allow you to have your picture taken with a frog."
2:31: Here's the combo platter for two:
2:28: On the sound-system: "Scar Tissue" by RHCP. 1997 = peak year for music at Señor Frog's.
2:25: Sietsema offers this fun fact: "There has never been a Señor Frog's in New York, except until recently there was a knock-off at Bleecker and LaGuardia in the Village called Señor Swanky's, which advertised itself as a Celebrity Hangout."
2:20: Here's Robert Sietsema's instant assessment of a cocktail:
I ordered a drink called Killer Kool Aid. It comes in a small red beer mug and is relentlessly red. According to the menu it features Southern Comfort (Janis Joplin's tipple), Melon liqueuer (for that Japanese touch), and cranberry juice (for my yeast infection). It tastes just like Kool Aid, only with extra chemicals added.
2:14: Señor Frog's is currently bumping "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer. Previous track: "All-Star" by Smashmouth.
2:07: The subterranean dining room is approximately three quarters full during the first lunch service, and people keep filing in.
2:00: Señor Frog's employs a full-time balloon artist, who is currently making hats for Team Eater as you read this. The balloon artist says he makes about a hundred a day.
1:54: One of the partners, Paco, stopped by the table to say hello. He says business has been steady since they opened the doors this week. Lots of group reservations.
1:50: The most popular Frog in town is throwing a party in Times Square and Team Eater is live on the scene. The very first-ever location of Señor Frog's opened yesterday at 11 Times Square, right next to the AMC Empire movie theater, and just around the corner from the Times HQ. Michiko Kakutani might stop by to review a book later — you never know what's going to happen next at Señor Frog's! Stay tuned.