We’ve enjoyed many dinners at our neighborhood restaurant Pair over the past few years. Owners Sarah and Felix Penn opened their second restaurant Frank’s this month, just a few blocks away from Pair, so we stopped in for dinner on their first Friday night to see what the new place is all about.
Dark wood paneling, soft lighting, and high-backed booths give a relaxed, low-key vibe to the restaurant. We were seated on the Oyster House side of the restaurant, opposite the tall doorway that leads to the Parlor and bar. I’m glad I made a reservation, because they were full by 7PM and turning people away. We had a hard time deciding between all of the tasty-sounding options on the cocktail and dinner menus, but we finally agreed on a few things to share. Dawn sampled an Air Mail cocktail (lime, honey, rum, champagne) while I went for the Pear & Cardamom Sidecar (a nice twist on the classic drink).
Our plate of buttery and flaky cheddar biscuits with ham arrived first, with a small ramekin of Calvados apple butter on the side. It was a tasty, homey dish, and I’d buy jars of that apple butter to go if they were for sale. Next up were two mini lobster rolls, served on house-made hot dog buns, with a butter lettuce leaf tucked in. As Sarah explained, the lobster is served Cape Cod style (mixed simply with mayonnaise), sans celery as you might find in some parts of Maine. These definitely felt like fancy lobster rolls, with a subtle grill flavor in the slightly crunchy bread, more haute than what you’d find on the roadside in Maine. Quite tasty, but also quite pricey at $9 a roll.
Dawn tried the chard and ricotta pansotti (a triangular-shaped stuffed pasta), and it was nice and rich – a decent vegetarian option. I loved my filet mignon with horseradish parsley butter. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, melt-in-your-mouth tender, with deep flavor. Easily one of the best steaks I’ve had in the past few years, and a great value compared to any of the pricey steakhouses around town. With a side of creamed kale to go with it, I was in heaven.
For dessert, we shared caramelized bananas with three ice creams. The presentation was interesting, with the ice creams served in a single stack of round discs, but when I took a bite with all three, they just didn’t go together. Each had a different consistency (one was soft, two were hard), and the chocolate ice cream didn’t have a smooth texture (slightly crystallized, like it didn’t freeze properly). The bananas were good, but overall this dish didn’t impress me.
As to be expected during opening week, there were a few hiccups during the evening. It was a full twenty minutes before our waitress came over to our table to even say hello (we were starting to think about leaving), and when she arrived, she apologetically told us that she had forgotten about us. While I’m sure that’s the honest truth, it’s not the greatest thing to hear as a customer. It also felt like we were re-forgotten after every course during the evening, with long waits the norm. Our favorite moment was when our waitress came by and asked, “Has anyone dessert’d you yet?” Well, no, no one has taken our dessert order, but yes we have been deserted! It looked like the staff was in the weeds on this first busy evening, so I’m sure they’ll straighten things out. I’m eager to go back to try some oysters, the razor clam fritters, and another one of those steaks!
Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor
2616 NE 55th St, Seattle