The kitchen and waitstaff at Le Fou Frog have been practicing their Bastille Day cabaret numbers for “Ooh La La Land” every Monday night for four months, but sometimes Carter Holton just can’t help ad-libbing his lines.
The talented pastry chef started working at the French bistro in the River Market owned by husband-and-wife Mano and Barbara Rafael while he was still in high school. Holton left for culinary school, graduated, taught culinary classes and eventually returned to Le Fou Frog. This weekend he turns 30.
When the Rafaels opened their pioneering restaurant in the River Market two decades ago, the neighborhood was rough and the restaurant felt like a sort of tucked-away underground hideway.
Over the years development has caught up and the Rafaels have become well-known for their close-knit staff — and their fablulously outrageous Bastille Day celebrations.
The reservations-only Bastille Day party celebrates France’s national Independence Day with entrees such as crab avocado salad with truffle mayo, pork saltimbocca and yellowfin tuna wrapped in golden zucchini, as well as fancy desserts including the traditional Paris Brest pastry, a sinful chocolate mousse dome, and Marie a Fete, a lemon tart topped with a Marie Antoinette-style “wig” of meringue.
And, of course, the French wines and bubbly will also flow.
As I hosted our weekly Facebook Live show from the dining room with the Rafaels for a Bastille Day preview, Holton dropped to one knee and sang an improvised ditty to “Somewhere” from “Westside Story” in which he managed to hit a high note that flat-lined our mic.
If you want to get in on the fun and frivolity, there is a waiting list on Friday and Saturday night but a few seats are left for Sunday. Go to Open Table on Le Fou’s website to make reservations.
Jill Wendholt Silva is The Star’s James Beard award-winning food editor. Reach her on Facebook and @jillwsilva on Instagram or @kcstarfood on Twitter.