Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Billy Frogg's Bar & Grill

Restaurant: Billy Frogg's Bar & Grill, West
Address: 8724 W Dodge Rd
Website: (Unofficial menu listing)
Genres: American, Bar & Grill
Check Constraints: None.
Chain: Local. | More Omaha Locations: Yes.

  • Chicken Parmesan Sandwich w/Fries ($6.95)
The inside of Billy Frogg's feels like a young rich dude trying to impress you with how much old stuff he's collected. The place is -saturated- with old time signs of all sorts, from Standard Oil to old tavern signs to a giant baking powder sign or something. I forget exactly what, but there's so much of the stuff, and it feels so inauthentic, that it's really kinda sad. What it -really- is is a sports bar, and it shows in the kind of food they have available.

The appetizers will be listed later, but for my part, the cheese balls were preprocessed mass produced stuff, and the potato skins, though not bad, were also preprocessed mass produced stuff and could have been so much better, if only they'd had real bacon instead.

As for the sandwich, it was surprisingly good. A nice sized chicken breast, on a nice thick bun, with two types of cheese and lots of (I think) handmade marinara. It was definitely not the super-processed marinara dipping stuff you get at most sports bars, and unfortunately, it was a bit on the wet side, so if you get this, be careful when you pick it up, as it's going to leave a mess on the plate and possibly your shirt. On the other hand, it was pretty damn good, with all flavors working together in harmony.

My only other note is that damn, that hot dog was HUGE. You'll understand when you get to Moogle's post. I am really kinda sad that I didn't order that instead.

  • Chili-Cheese Hot Diggity Dog ($6.00)
  • Cheese balls ($6.00)
They charged me $6 for each item, but I'm not sure that's what was printed on the menu. It was close, though, and may have been something like $6.25 and $5.75. Either way, I got a good deal on the dog. The fried cheese balls were nothing special. You got reasonable number of them, but a runny ranch dipping sauce. The potato skins were pretty plain.

I was a little worried ordering the hot dog that I'd be hungry afterward. When this beast came to the table, I quickly decided it was a great choice. This thing was a footlong (as they said in the menu), but it was no wimpy, skinny dog. It was an inch diameter. The whole top was burried in cheese. The bun was splayed out to about 5 inches wide and almost all you could see was cheese. There really wasn't a lot of chili compared to the cheese, but to me, it didn't really matter. It was enough. I think more chili might have just made it a hot-dog soup. It was a fight to finish the last bits of it. I left at least half of my fries. This monster also comes without chili-cheese for a little less cost, but I think it's worth the extra charge. Impressive and delicious.

  • Patty Melt ($6.95)
  • Side of Onion Rings ($2.95)
I think ND's being a little uncharitable in his characterization of the decor. It's true that the place comes in about halfway between a "Crap On The Wall" restaurant (e.g. TGI Friday's, Applebee's, &c) and a sports bar. It's also true that the signage felt like someone was trying too hard. But it's not an uncomfortable place to be in - in fact it reminded me of a bar & grill I used to visit in Terre Haute, Indiana (side note: Go there, the patty melts are delicious).

In fact, it was partially due to the memory of that bar & grill that I decided to go for a patty melt today. And while I was abandoning the pretense of eating healthy, I decided that some additional onion rings wouldn't be out of place. I should start with the onion rings, which were clearly dipped and fried on-site, but which were nothing special. That sentiment was echoed in the other appetizers - avoid them unless you're just looking for something to nosh while you drink.

The patty melt was surprising. The construction was the same as any good melt - a generous patty, some good marbled rye bread, and some cheese which may have been Swiss but was probably Monterey Jack (if it was Swiss it might as well have been MoJack, since it had no bite). This one eschewed any additional dressing, which was fortunate, as it would have overshadowed the melt's one unique contribution, which was a strong black pepper taste. I have to admit that recently I have been ... rediscovering black pepper, for lack of a better word - it's such a ubiquitous condiment that sometimes one can forget it's really quite a nice flavor when given some real prominence. So, returning to the melt, I will comment that the pepper flavor was a nice twist on a good execution of the patty melt, and it's recommended. I should mention there is a Fuddrucker's-esque condiment bar with pickles, lettuce, etc over by one of the walls, but the patty melt didn't need anything of the sort.

The prices here may be a little overinflated, but to be honest they're cheaper than something off TGI Friday's menu, and the food is decent enough if you're in the mood for the bar and grill genre. I'd be interested to try one of the other locations - there's one downtown, and a newish one on 72nd in La Vista (near the husk of the old Walmart, in the place that used to be Boston's).