You don’t have to be a die-hard foodie to appreciate the goodness of Frog and The Hen, but if you are someone who pays inordinate attention to what’s on the plate, this restaurant is going to make you very happy. Everything — everything — is a cut above.
For instances: creamy deviled eggs come capped with little ribbons of crisped prosciutto; pimento cheese is accompanied by house-made saltines; brunchtime biscuits are smothered with maple-charged sausage gravy; French toast is stuffed with vanilla pastry cream and roasted apples; gooey warm cinnamon rolls are speckled with bacon. High-end desserts include artisan ice cream sandwiches from Nightingale creamery in Virginia.
And the signature roasted chicken? At first look, there isn’t anything obviously extraordinary about it. Simply, it’s a handsome roasted half-chicken. But, oh, what a joy it is to eat! It is tender enough that you simply stick the tines of a fork into the meat and gently tug to get a bite. Its radiant flavor sings of idyllic country life. (In fact, Frog and Hen says their chickens are raised with no hormones, no antibiotics, and no pesticides.) It lolls in a puddle of what the menu bills as chicken jus — luminous natural gravy that is essence of yummy poultry flavor — a condiment so good that it also is available as gravy for buttered mashed potatoes.
Among side dishes, Hen’s mac & cheese is complex, elegant, and deeply satisfying. Collard greens are in a class of their own. Sweet, tangy, and pepper-hot, they deliver potent vegetable flavor. The greens’ texture is extraordinary: firm enough to be a joyful chew, but tender enough to feel like they might just melt on your tongue. (The greens are listed on the menu as FHT greens, referring to Frog Hollow Tavern, whose creators are behind this place.)
… and so on, and on. Nothing I’ve eaten at Frog and The Hen is ordinary, boring, or lackluster. Recipes are clever, flavors are huge. Meals are not merely satisfying; they are enchanting.
It isn’t only food that makes this place a pleasure. Service goes beyond perfunctory. During multiple visits, I was taken care of by a staff who are genuinely hospitable and helpful. On one occasion, when I asked waiter Joseph P. for a box to carry leftovers, Joe whisked them away and packed them up as neat as a picnic basket, providing extra ramekins of barbecue sauce and sorghum butter for a next-day feast.