By Cathy Wharton
For Hometown News
Walk through the front door of Frappes North and expect to be warmly greeted. On your next visit to Frappes, not only will you find the same friendly reception, but it's likely you'll also be greeted by name. One of their mottos (from Chef James Beard) is "my favorite restaurant is the one that knows me."
Without question, Frappes is one of the premier eating establishments in Ormond Beach.
It all started in 1990 when Meryl and Bobby Frappier were looking for a business to go into. Since she's from New York, where restaurants abound, and he likes to cook, the food business was a natural fit. They decided to open a sandwich shop in South Daytona -- Frappes Famous Hoagies. Its success led to a second venture, Cafe Frappes, in downtown Daytona Beach.
In September 1997, the Frappiers opened Frappes North in Ormond Beach. In the interim, between closing the cafe and opening their new restaurant, loyal customers were eager to support the duo, and the new location became an even greater success.
Upon entering Frappes, one of the first impressions one may have is the attractive openness of the front room -- a large lounge with high ceilings, an angled bar and several intimate seating arrangements. There also is a small stage for live entertainment. Next to the lounge are three separate dining rooms -- each with its own unique decor.
When my guest and I arrived on a recent Friday evening, we were graciously greeted by Mrs. Frappier, then escorted to a two-seat table in the front dining room.
Our server, John Hoopsick, was quick to welcome us to Frappes. After handing us menus and a sizable wine list, we were ready to begin our gustatory journey. I began with a glass of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay while my guest stayed on the lighter side. Before scanning the menu, however, John returned to tell us of the day's specials. The words, "fresh-caught grouper," were all either of us needed to hear.
In fairness, however, we looked over the other selections -- entrees that ranged from Organically Groovy Chicken stuffed with spinach and feta cheese over mushroom risotto ($19.95) to Ahi Tuna Salad over organic field greens, with a Mediterranean salsa of feta cheese, kalamata olives and tomato ($21.95). Also on the dinner menu were Grilled Filet Mignon, Penne a la Vodka, Pork Saltimbocca, and Pan-seared Shrimp and Scallops.
Soon we were ready to order. My guest chose the special: Grilled Black Grouper over braised "heirloom" potatoes and "rainbow" Swiss chard, served with saffron cream sauce. But that wasn't all. The salad special sounded equally as tempting: Arugula and spinach with thinly sliced pears, shaved red onions and goat cheese, finished with a balsamic glaze and sprinkled with almond dust.
Though grouper is one of my favorites, I decided to go with an entree that has been on the Frappes menu for 19 years: Bobby's Famous Cajun Panned Chicken and Shrimp over penne pasta, with asiago cream sauce and tomatoes. I also ordered the smaller version of the Frappes Salad -- baby greens, tomato, cucumber and sun-dried cranberries with balsamic vinaigrette.
The presentation of each dish was outstanding. The artistic combination of flavors and colors only added to the enjoyment of the meal. I even got to taste the grouper dish -- simply wonderful! The portions of each entree were ample, but not too filling. With extra indulgence, we may have gone for dessert, but decided to resist the temptation.
One unique aspect of Frappes' menu is it offers both lunch and dinner menus "of the moment." Thus menu selections are not static. Some are subject to change, depending on the season or availability of certain food items. This allows not only flexibility for the chef, but an element of surprise and delight for regular customers.
In addition to its excellent menu, Frappes offers catering, event planning, private parties, wine and tapas tastings, a "pampered picnic basket" and cooking classes with Chef Bobby. Details are available by calling the restaurant.
To quote from the menu: "A good time place to eat, meet, laugh and drink ..."
Frappes North is at 123 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach.
Hours are: Lunch: Tuesday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Phone: (386) 615-4888.