I was really looking forward to the new Bullfrog, the Cajun restaurant by the same people behind the Bulldog Uptown and Lowertown. But I’m worried this frog is going to croak.
Take all this with a major caveat: my wife and I visited this Tuesday night at about 9:30 p.m. The kitchen is open until 1 a.m. every night.
The restaurant is at 12th & Hennepin in Minneapolis, right across the street from a CVS. I don’t know about you, but nothing says “welcome” and “enjoy yourself” like a bouncer, sitting at a table, on his cell phone, grunting “Excuse me?”
At first, I couldn’t even tell the guy worked there.
Without getting up or putting down the cell phone, he grunts, “ID?”
It’s a shame, because the hushpuppies were the most delicious I’ve had in the Twin Cities. Just a luscious texture inside, nice and crispy outside, these hushpuppies burst with flavor. Two hushpuppies come with a starter order of fried shrimp ($8.50). The shrimp is battered in a rich, flavorful beer batter made from Young’s double chocolate stout. It’s a really interesting contrast to the tender, juicy shrimp. I loved it, and can’t wait to have it again.
As for the beer, prior to launch the Bullfrog’s owners were talking up the beer program. The Bulldogs are known for really interesting Belgian beer lists. This list is built around lagers. So you can get a Labatt Blue, a Stella, Sapporo (from Japan), Carlsberg (England), Dos Equis (the menu told me it was first brewed by a German). At first, seeing so many familiar beers, I thought: this is a pretty dull list from a guy who’s known for great beer lists.
But you know, these beers go perfectly with Cajun food. They’re extremely drinkable. Smooth beers. I tried the Weihenstephan (Germany)—which had notes of spice, wheat, and banana ($5.50). Next time I’ll try the Young’s—to match that up with some of the fried stuff.
We also tried the Fried Green Tomatoes—and they were good. Not as good as the ones I’ve had from the Chef Shack food truck—but good. These tasted slightly more of the fried batter than the tomato, to me ($6.50).
Our server was extremely pleasant, and that certainly helped. But that night, when I posted about the bouncer on Twitter, I got a few responses like this from @FoodStoned: “@derushaeats Sounds like you got the same experience everybody else has been getting.”
Bullfrog’s menu is exciting. The lobster bake for two looks incredible. The redesign is gorgeous—it’s cozy and bright for its narrow footprint. But part of what makes the Bulldog work is the friendly vibe. Do you really need a bouncer on a Tuesday night?
1111 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403