These are truly the dog days of summer. WNY is not exactly known for its sweltering summers; this summer however is the warmest I can remember. With the mild winter that was just had and now the searing heat- maybe just maybe we’ve taken a turn for the better.
Although- it is as they say- a double edged sword. With the heat comes less activity, less cooking and more lounging. I mean who wants to cook in 90 degree heat? I know i don’t. Even with central air, most people don’t want to stand at the ovens or stoves for 30 minutes to an hour. And while grilling is the best money saving alternative to indoor cooking sometimes you just need to get out. And I found the perfect spot!
The Frog Hair, located at 7800 Transit Rd. Williamsville NY is probably one of the most unusual and creative summer dining venues I’ve seen. It is casual dining and sporting entertainment all rolled into one. Lets start with the pros…..
The combination of physical activity and casual dining is a great idea. And the Frog Hair serves up both. The outdoor dining space comes equipped with a full putting green, live music in the evenings, fire pits for those cooler nights-which we have yet to experience (I know unusual to say right!), and a fully staffed outdoor bar. The atmosphere is vibrant and lush. The beautiful scenery beckons you to come play. Then when you’ve had enough, enjoy a good meal. While the menu itself is a bit lengthy, it does stay on point. The food is consistent and offers gluten free options that are “mostly” identified on the menu (meaning there are some options that can be gluten free but you need to ask your server). Frog Hair is also the first restaurant I’ve seen that offers “perfect portion sizes” that are also identified (outside of some chain restaurants that is) on the menu.
I started out with the vegetarian quesadillas ($8.25- plus an extra $1.00 for gluten free wrap) and had them tailor it for my digestive needs; which they did so without complaint or mistakes. Served up with fresh chopped tomatoes, caramelized onions, sweet peppers, mild salsa and guacamole; this appetizer was a great portion size and true to taste. Those with digestive sensitivities- it is good to note that guacamole (which contains avocado) is very healthy for stomach lining, digestive regularity and immune support. Next was the lemon basil shrimp ($9.95). This is a great starter for those ordering full meals, or can be served up as your only dish. Fresh golf shrimp pan seared with olive oil, basil, lemon pepper (also good for digestive regularity), white wine, tomatoes and garlic bread are not only filling but have that “just out of the sea” taste. This is a great “pick food” and very healthy. I will note that for those who are on a low cholesterol diet, shrimp is a high cholesterol food so please eat these in moderation.
Moving on to the main courses (yes I said courses) I started with mussels provencel ($8.95). These are easy for me to eat because they are a low fat, no dairy food. This is a perfect portion size dish and came dressed for the occasion- in a light tomato broth (non dairy), white wine, basil, tomatoes and garlic. Being very picky about my mussels I was impressed with the freshness. They were delicately cooked, not rubbery and had very little grit. I decided to skip over the salads, pizzas and soups and went right for the grilled sandwiches. The portobella sandwich ($9.95) is a safe bet when you’re not sure how your stomach will react to certain foods. Mushrooms in general are fairly good for those with celiac disease, high cholesterol or irritable bowl syndrome (IBS). Normally this sandwich is served with grilled red onions, tomatoes and a goat cheese dressing on a whole wheat bun. I opted for red onions, balsamic vinaigrette, and tomatoes…..NO CHEESE. I’m sure to the waitress- by this point- I probably sounded like Monica Geller- but like many of you, my stomach dictates what I eat.
With daily dessert specials and a menu that contains an array of foods from souvlaki salads and sandwiches to NY strip steak, there really is a little something for everyone. Come in on a weekend and the outdoor patio and live bands are truly music to the ears. There were minimal complaints about my ordering style and playing golf was quite a unique experience.
What made the cut but didn’t finish well with me (a nod to all you golf fanatics) were the slightly stiff prices (drinks can send your check soaring) and the lengthy menu choices. It’s a busy menu and can be a bit overwhelming to look through. The other whiff is that while the idea of physical activity and dining rolled into one is a great concept; the actual physical act of golfing is not what it appeared to be. What I thought was a legitimate putting green behind the restaurant is really just a couple of holes. The golfing itself is actually a simulator for both professionals and novices alike. I will admit it was fun to try, but pricey. During peak hours playing on the simulator can run anywhere from $24-32.00 an hour for one person. And anywhere from $20-28.00 per person for a group of two to four people. Not too bad, but when coupled with dinner and drinks it can make for a not so casual dinner out.
Overall it’s a unique experience, offers gluten free and healthy food options, has great outdoor space and a wonderful atmosphere for those hot summer nights. I’d say it was well worth the drive…….