No question, Frederick’s is a biggie in the business lunch biz. At a recent visit to the Melville standby, I saw more suits in the house than on the clearance rack at Brooks Brothers.
What I also saw was a restaurant crying out for a major makeover, its tired beige decor and drab art work making it look older than its 31 years.
And then, there was the food. In the bread basket were tough overdone little finger rolls crusted with seeds and garlic (think “everything” bagel). Larger rolls had been toasted to the point that their interiors were almost hollow.
Crab cakes? Oily and uninspired. I can’t quite figure how the sauerbraten, ostensibly moist and covered with gravy, managed to taste so dry and grainy. But the accompanying potato pancake was absolutely fine, as were the applesauce and tangy red cabbage. And there was undeniable carb appeal in the spaetzle accompanying a friend’s so-so Wiener schnitzel.
Sure, it’s a tough economy, but this Continental-German stalwart can – and should — do better. The crew is friendly, the ambience conducive to quiet conversation — definite draws for a power lunch crowd. Now, all it needs is the likes of Gordon Ramsay (or a reasonable facsimile) to give it a shot of pizzazz.
Frederick's is at 1117 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville, 631-673-8550.
Newsday Photo of sauerbraten / Erica Marcus