The Other Critics

Pete Wells Just Wants to Party at Señor Frog’s

“I had more fun at Señor Frog’s than at almost any other restaurant that has opened in the last few years.” Photo: Camilo Fuentealba

In this week’s New York Times review, critic Pete Wells details his visits to Señor Frog’s, the chain of margarita-fueled party-straunts that came conga-ing into town in September. Wells’s assessment, though, may surprise you — especially if you expected the critic to reprise his takedown of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. Wells is … definitely into the place. Yes, he writes, Señor Frog’s is not a particularly good restaurant for getting the food you order, but Wells, for one, thinks its a rip-roaring time. The restaurant only gets a “fair” rating in the end, but who needs stars when you already have Frogasms? Here, some of the choice lines from the review:

On his station as a critic:

Many thoughts went through my head at that moment. I wondered, briefly, why anyone trusted me with an expense account. But the dominant idea was: Señor Frog’s, where have you been all my life?

On making up for lost time:

“My most memorable spring break was whiled away in my room reading The Sorrows of Young Werther in German … This did not get me invited to many orgasm contests, but I was inclined to think the time with Goethe had been well spent until Senor Frog’s opened on 42nd Street last summer. For the first time, I wished I had some memories of the chain. So when I ate there, I brought people who had gone to Senor Frog’ in their wilder years.”

It’s the kind of place where forgotten dishes can be a blessing in disguise:

Getting just half of what you order at Señor Frog’s can be a blessing if it’s the right half.

When it comes to food, there’s unexpectedly good surprises and some really bad stuff:

The Reuben is good, for some reason … I thought [the chicken enchiladas] tasted like tuna, but a more acute observer said the flavor was like pork sprinkled with fish food.

Wells couldn’t help but unleash his inner Lady Gaga:

But … here, hold my Frogasm, I need to stand on the speakers and dance.

On theatrics in modern restaurants and what Señor Frog’s and Eleven Madison Park both get right:

A few chefs and restaurateurs still understand that people go out to have a good time; Daniel Humm would serve a chili dog on a skateboard if he had thought of it first.

Is Señor Frog’s the greatest restaurant of the year?

Because I had more fun at Señor Frog’s than at almost any other restaurant that has opened in the last few years.


Pete Wells Reviews Señor Frog’s