Dining “al fresco” brings the imagination to small tables in an open spaced front of a bistro. In Howard Beach the tables may be on top of or alongside a restaurant facing a canal of private boats. Frenasia, located at 163-35 Cross Bay Blvd., had built an abutting patio for your dining pleasure, just one aspect of this Asian fusion eatery.
Enter into the lounge where the indoor bar sits across the way from the Hibachi tables. Continue through to the back dining area as you pass the sushi bar headed by K.C., who should have been a “Flower Child”.
My friend Nancy and I chose that back area, particularly for the booths with cushiony seats and back support. Can you say, “Aging”? Sam is the owner who told us that the restaurant has been around for 12 years. Sonny is the kitchen chef who has been working with Sam for 18 years. A check of the menu reveals much of the sushi ilk. Aside from Japanese, I view items of the Thai, and Korean.
Drink menu looks good, but I’ll pass on any of the cocktails and go right to the cold sake.
Ozeki Dry Sake from California. Must be “in” as Gekeikan is also using the same Sierra Mountain waters. Loved the sake itself, odd having it being served in a glass containing shredded cucumber.
Frenasia Dumpling Soup was the first of many indulgences. Dumplings are a mixture of pork and shrimp seasoned with ginger. A mildly tasting broth contained fresh cilantro, scallions and bean sprouts. Cutting the dumplings into the broth gave a greater flavor. This is the first time that I notice a small red carnation on the serving plate. We will realized that the chef likes to use artistry in “painting the plates.”
Kumamoto oysters are great on its own. Top it with a mango salsa and the slurp will have you chewing in order to obtain the whole savory-ness. Each oyster arrives on a soup spoon with slices of cucumber and lemon on the side and….an edible flower.
A Spicy Salmon Tartar rested atop slices of fresh avocado sitting in a tartar dressing. It was decorated with both red and black fish roe, and microgreens. The spicy mayo dotted the plate along with a few tiny…flowers.
Soft shell crabs are a favorite of mine as I don’t have to pick out the meat. Served atop slices of mango, this non-oily crunchy (but not thickly floured) delight had added sliced avocado and the chef’s spicy sauce. The combination sparks “umami”. Not sure what kind of flower was on top…looked sort of like a yellow carnation and not edible.
Here is another favorite. Seaweed Salad. The marinated seaweed with sesame seeds are frozen when any restaurant purchases it. What the restaurant adds can make a difference. In this case, it rested on a thick slab of mango. Do you get that mangos and avocados are popular? Some little purple edible flowers decorated the top.
Order the Frenasia Specialty Slider and you’ll not just get some heavenly tasting short ribs in a steamed bun. The decorations (complete with flowers…of course) are worth a photo. Does it take away from the flavor? Not at all. Very tender, slightly on the sweet side but enhanced with a spicy sauce.
Time for a few maki rolls. Duck roll with ginger, a spicy mayo atop. Peking duck. Tasted both a bit peppery and sweet. I don’t have to tell you what the plate was decorated with.
Dancing Shrimp Roll sounded good. Shrimp tempura and lobster wrapped with mango, avocado served with a sauce to dance to: reduced balsamic vinegar and orange curry. Gave it that little bit of cumin flavor. Slices of cucumber and….decorated that dish.
Chilean Seabass Roll…different. It was a combo of both the seabass and eel. Eel sauce inside and a few sauces on the plate. Okay, were starting to get full. The thing is, there really wasn’t much that we ate that was so terribly filling. No, we just wanted to pig out on good food.
One more dish….before dessert. Grand Marnier Coconut Shrimp. OMG. Just enough spice and served with broccoli, asparagus, green beans and a sweet potato puree.
As for the dessert…I will try to describe it. Mango tart topping a chocolate cake. Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, berries, mint and pieces of chocolate.
Last temptation was a dessert plum wine called Aragoshi Kumi’s Umeshu. Great after dinner drink. I usually get drunk on Scotch Tape. Sake doesn’t bother me as much. Sake to me! Kampai!!!