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Week In Reviews: Frederick's, Compass, Francesco at Mix, Bistro Du Vent, Alto (Again), Skyway

Bruni, on the verge of calling Frederick's 'good', back peddles, two newly installed chefs get passing marks, things get a tiny tiny tiny bit better for Alto and a tiny tiny bit better for Batali's newest, and Sietsema shows once again that if it's at the very outer edges of the Milky Way, he's in. You'll be asleep in no time flat, people.

1) Maybe Bruni resorted to Fredrick's for his scene fix after Amy banned him from Bette. Indeed, addiction, and the lack of control of one's self that accompanies it, is the only reason to review a place that is totally and completely irrelevant. But, he went, so we have to read about it. To make matters worse, for a second -- but only a second -- it looks like he's going to say something nice.

[There is] some accomplished, occasionally impressive food. What makes Frederick's interesting beyond the mirror it holds up to a gilded sliver of Manhattan life is how ably it feeds more than just its patron's egos.

Indeed, strange as it is, he seems to be setting up for a compliment. But then,

To be clear, Frederick's neither composes an interesting enough menu nor performs consistently enough to lure many diners with no other business in the East 60s. It's not especially dashing, either.

That was a close one. In fairness, he later says that several dishes were quite good, and gives it one star overall. But let's be honest: When the far superior Le Bilboquet is just around the corner, who cares?

2) John Fraser at Compass and Francesco Berardinelli at Francesco at Mix both get the once over from Platt and NY Mag. His verdict on Compass is that the chef is trying a bit too hard and at Mix Berardinelli more often than not gets it right. Again, these restaurants with their constantly changing but consistently mediocre menus are so borderline irrelevant that we're going to let you follow up on your own if you happen to live within a half-block of either and are interested in knowing more.

3) Remember Bistro Du Vent? It's Iron Chef Mario's new place, the one you heard about six months ago but then put in the back of your mind because the last time you were at 42nd and 9th was when you went to see Cats. Cuoz trekked over there and found that, though noisy, "the payoff is on the plate". No, we know you're still not going that far west.

4) Down on lower Allen St., Sietsy stops in at the Malaysian Skyway and is very pleased.

If you can gather enough diners, sit in the raised and fenced booth at the rear of the restaurant labeled "V.I.P." and feel like Malay royalty. But the rest of the premises is pleasant enough, some tables corralled, others roaming free in a room with sparse, eclectic decoration. The decor doesn't matter, though, because the fishy and fiery food is unforgettable.

Though certainly obscure, this could get you serious points with your foodie friends from LA. Keep it in your back pocket.

5) Finally, a bit more on the situation at Alto. Following the critical debacle last week, the lunatics at The New Yorker and Chowhound both start to rally behind Conant ever so slightly. Especially at the former, where the word is that "Conant has a deft touch for dishes that, if somewhat contrived in their complexity, are undeniably exquisite." Bruni, your serve.
· Nourishing Egos on the Upper East Side [NY Times]
· Try, Try Again [NY Metro]
· Vent Blows Hot & Cold [NY Post]
· Savoring Screw Pine [Village Voice]
· Tables for Two: Alto [New Yorker]
· Alto Review: Bruni Has No Cred [Chowhound]

Le Bilboquet

25 East 63rd Street, New York, NY 10065

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