February 7, 2005 | Ask Gael

Compass yet again? Can I trust you?

        Agreed. Chefs and pâtissiers come and go, soar and crash, at Compass, where desperate powers-that-be struggle to get it right. “Let them eat meat” is the current theme with a couple of chefs I for one don’t know - executive Valdo Figueiredo and his understudy, Milton Ramirez - tending the $21,000 high-octane grill. As neighbors, we’ve braved the place through ups and troughs, loved it once or twice, then fled in despair. So we’re cautious tonight not to get carried away by the judiciously balanced sweet-and-savory squash soup with a mascarpone fluff or the elegant beet carpaccio. Still, evidence mounts that someone in the house can cook. Braised short ribs on the $33 prix fixe are better than ever on celery-root purée. Glistening and smartly caramelized from that 1600-degree broiler, the properly pink veal chop impresses our fussy carnivore, as does the splendid sirloin - meaty, not too tender, oozing flavor. We are dipping broccoli tempura in quite respectable béarnaise. (Who says broccoli needs to be good for you?) Even the signature biscuits are better now, and the scones everyone gets in a bag to take home for breakfast have been liberated from an overpowering sugary crust. Can it last? Personally, I don’t believe in cursed kitchens or addresses. So I’m not giving odds.

208 W. 70th St. nr. Amsterdam Ave. 212 875 8600


Patina Restaurant Group