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Remember the "superstar effect," from the Nojo review? Point being that there are about ten restaurants that everyone wants to go to, all the time. Frances is one of those ten.

But let's come at Frances from behind the veil of ignorance, and pretend it's as easy to go to as any other restaurant. How is it then? To quote Larry David, pretty... pretty good. Some of the signature dishes are overrated (looking at you, bacon beignets). Some are not (what up, chickpea panisse). But the average level of quality is high. The room is comfortable. It's a good spot.

So let's ask the harder question. Is it worth the 60-day planning horizon and pint of blood you have to give up to eat here at 7:30 on a Friday? Probably...not? Frances is good, but it's not a game-changer. We didn't go home telling tales of lumberjack cake and reminiscing about the pastas. We're not proselytizing the Frances way, like we do for some places. It's just a very solid neighborhood restaurant.

We don't want to hold their popularity against them, though. They didn't ask to be the eye of this hurricane of interest (largely from the crowd that liberally use Infatuation bad words). But we wish we could drop in here on a whim more often. It reminds us of that old Yogi Berra line: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

Food Rundown

Bacon Beignets

Kind of just fried dough. Didn't bring the bacon flavor enough for our bacon-craving palates. The creme fraiche dip, though, that was solid.

Panisse Frites

Mmmmmm...fried chickpeas. If potatoes are "french fried," are these "Jerusalem-fried?"

Bavette Steak

Perfect pink steak atop a little pile of vegetables. We respect your efforts to sneak healthy foods into our meats,Frances.

Kale Salad

KALE kale kale I love kale everyone loves kale don't you love kale?

Duck Breast

Perfectly pink duck atop a little pile of fruits and vegetables. Also good.

Lumberjack Cake

This may be controversial, but o-ver-rat-ed. Dried out and just not punching with flavor. Maybe we got it on a bad day.

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