Okay I admit it, I was curious about Fring’s like everyone else. Fring’s is a new spot on 455 King Street West, and it is co-owned by one of my favourite chefs, the celebrated Susur Lee, and one of my favorite legendary singers, rapper Drake. There has been a lot of excitement about this duo opening this restaurant in the former home of Crush Wine Bar. This place has been busy since day one with tons of press and lots of celebrities dropping by.
Firstly, I have to say that the restaurant is more for the under 40 crowd. The place is really dimly lit, and you need a flashlight to read the menu. The music is on the loud side, although I am a fan of Drake’s music. The place is trendy and cool, with dark tufted booths, cowhide bar and bar stools. The light fixtures are made with plastic hangers, the armchairs with faux fur. The room has a capacity for 150, with a large central bar. It has an understated aesthetic, and I hear it was designed by Susur’s talented wife. There is a room that can be draped off into a private area upstairs and a cool private VIP room in the basement. Drake and his crew, the Raptors, Rhianna, Michael Jordan, and Jada Pinckett Smith among others, like hanging out there. So yes, I felt a little out of place.
I decided to go on a Sunday night when things were more relaxed. But you know, the place got rather busy even on a Sunday night.
The waiters suggest you order share plates, (what else is new) but guess what, it isn’t necessary. You would be fine with a starter and main if you so desire.
There is an expensive cocktail list and a decent wine list. I tried the sangria and it was surprisingly very good at $16 per glass. We started with some guacamole and some fantastic homemade corn chips. The guacamole could have used a little extra punch but was still good. We followed with one of the toast selections. The waiter recommend the wild mushroom and maple syrup prosciutto with gouda and creme fraiche, served on forno cultura bread. This dish was enjoyable. My favourite dish of the evening was a special of the night. It was a salad with 18 ingredients in a lemon grass and miso dressing that marinates for 24 hours. I could just have that entire dish for my dinner. It was infused with a cornucopia of flavours and had wonderful texture of crispy, and creamy. It included fresh warm and tender strips of chicken, with black rice and just cooked hard boiled eggs. They should put this item on the menu permanently. I was looking forward to Mom’s homemade sweet and sour meatballs, with crispy thin onion rings, but they were a letdown for me. I found them to be dry and on the hard side. I prefer a lighter and juicier meatball. The sauce was tasty but reminded me of a bottled sauce from my youth. The grilled octopus was a beautiful presentation but it was ridiculously salty. Too bad, because it was otherwise tender, and served with a creamy potato salad, red pepper relish in a white balsamic tapenade.
Another great dish was the southern spicy maple fried chicken. It was served with a maple butter and some great hot sauce, and was accompanied by a little jar of vegetable crudité. The chicken was juicy and the breading had a great crunch to it. The JK fries were a disappointment. I know JK fries as I am a big fan of Jamie Kennedy and frequented his restaurants for years. His fries were extra crispy and hot. The ones served at Fring’s were lukewarm and soggy. You don’t do the name JK any justice, and I don’t think he would be pleased. The parmesan and black truffle version at $20, was also not good. I saw no evidence of any black truffles and the cheese was too powdery tasting, reminiscent of sawdust.
For dessert we had the monkey bread. We were told it was a signature dish. A suggestion, if the restaurant ever reads this, soak the bread a little longer, as it was too dry. It could be a great dish with just a little tweak.
I would say the food is fusion with comfort food thrown in. I love you Susur and Drake, but for me the food fell short and didn’t live up to all my expectations. But having said that I still enjoyed a lot of my dinner. Maybe I just need to be a lot younger …