By BARRY LANK
ECHO PARK – Frogs legs are returning to the menu at Taix French Restaurant, raising questions such as … where do restaurants get frogs legs, anyway? What’s the “right” kind of frogs leg, and what’s the wrong kind? And if frogs legs taste kind of like chicken, how do they not taste like chicken?
Notice I didn’t say frogs legs have “hopped” back onto the menu at Taix, or that they “jumped” back. For one thing, they were not actually on the printed menu when I dined there a few weeks back. They’d been missing from the kitchen altogether for four months until the beginning of the month. There hadn’t been enough of the “right” kind of legs available – and too many of the “wrong” kind, said Taix’s owner Mike Taix.
The wrong kind are large, Taix said. The right kind are smaller – at least 10 per pound – which are more delicate and sauté quickly. These used to be available from Europe and the southern United States. But now Taix gets them from Vietnam.
“The supply on the larger, gamier, chewy frog legs remained constant. However the smaller size became unavailable for close to half a year,” Taix said. “No one had them. I was told because of harvest season, but not too sure about that.”
As for flavor, they taste like the forearm part of the chicken wing – that mid-portion with the radius and ulna. But the meat is softer on first contact with the lips, a little chewier – and more moist, a bit like shellfish. The bones are thin – about the width of a quality matchstick. But strong and smooth, like hard plastic. They’re how I imagine fiberoptic cables must feel.
The legs are still attached in pairs, so there’s no mistaking what you’re eating. They come in a Provençal sauce of parsley butter with garlic and diced tomatoes – a sauce that could make dry cat food palatable, even prized.
“This iconic dish is highly requested and has been truly missed by our patrons,” Taix said in a press release earlier this month when frogs legs first returned to the restaurant. “In fact, we have some customers who dine at our restaurant just for this dish.”
Would I order them again? Well, like most people, I’m a creature of habit, more likely to have chicken or fish – or lamb if I’m feeling reckless. But I jumped at the chance when Taix offered free promotional frogs legs to the media. And if any of my friends wants to split a frogs legs appetizer, crusty bread and enough wine to blind us, I’ll arrive early. But my friends are old and cranky and occasionally vegetarian, so … we’ll see.
Since the menu may not specifically list frogs legs for awhile: The dinner portion is $19.95 and includes about 10 or 12 pairs to a plate. With the rich Provençal sauce, you’ll feel full sooner than you think. The appetizer version is about half that portion for $12.95. Prices may be subject to change. Taix is on the 1900 block of Sunset Blvd.
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