FR.OG reflects the recent affinity for strangely punctuated restaurant names. Like the soon-to-open P*ong, FR.OG is not quite a pun and not quite an acronym. Whatever! It's the downtown expansion of Uptown restaurateur Didier Virot (of Aix). And it's set to begin its war against Balthazar with dry runs on the most auspicious of days: Friday, April 13th.

The inside is going for a slightly cheesy Uptown vibe: pink iridescent tiles, pink stools (never a healthy sign, according to our nurse practitioner), and swirly plaster. Down a mosaic'd stairwell, a lower level seats 40 people, half as many as upstairs. FR.OG, which stands for French Origin, concerns itself with the nexus of Mediterranean and French cuisine. Though its menu shares few similarities with McNally's beleaguered-of-late flagship Balthazar, FR.OG aims to share ever fewer customers. Nearly all of the PR shouts "It's right across the street from Balthazar!" Ah, the French, never ones to shy away from a fight. Oh wait, yes they are.

FR.OG, 71 Spring Street