And when we saw your signature, we thought it said "Put a Sock in It": I cannot stand to read another restaurant review by the St. Louis-hating Rose Martelli ["Mob Scene,"November 9]. The review of Maggiano's Little Italy was the last straw. Bringing a sociologist to lunch and referring to Marxism in your review reeks of the kind of self-loathing criticism you would expect from some upstate too-good-for-this-town critic. Do the entire town of St. Louis a favor and crawl back to whatever suburb of New York you crawled out of.
When I glanced at your byline, "by Rose Martelli," I could have sworn for a second that it said "Born Miserable."
Chain mail: I enjoy reading Rose Martelli's accounts of new dining experiences in my old hometown. In your Maggiano's review, you mention that Maggiano's was originated by Lettuce Entertain You in Chicago. Maggiano's is now a product of Brinker International in Dallas, and I had assumed it was originated by them.
While living in Dallas several years ago, I peered inside the Maggiano's in North Park Center. Having the same initial impression you received, I didn't bother staying for dinner. Maggiano's was truly a caricature of an Italian restaurant, but believe me, the Dallas chain dining industry has created far worse. Some featured waitstaff attempting dreadful renditions of Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar, and most mercifully never expanded beyond north Texas before disappearing.
Why does St. Louis, of all cities, flock to places like this? To the chains' credit, could it be that the old Hill family restaurant formulas (either simple taverns with limited menus featuring melted cheese-laden pastas or expensive Continental dining in the mold of Tony's) are no longer appealing to Gens X and Y? Perhaps establishments like Portabella, Limoncello and Trattoria Branica can fill the gap.
Bossier City, Louisiana
Crowd pleaser: Why, she asks, are we all rushing to the newly opened Maggiano's even though they have done no local advertising? Well, duh. It's because we are familiar with the Chicago original and are delighted to see it re-created closer to home. The food is so good it was obviously a struggle for Ms. Martelli to find ways to slam the place.
She professes to be offended by wood "fixtures" that are possibly not actual mahogany, by a location and streetscape that are convenient and attractive and by servings that are really large. Give me a break! Next time, RFT, send someone who enjoys dining out.
And Now, Dessert!
Bar none: I just read Rose Martelli's review of Boogaloo ["Hot Plates," November 2].. Without a doubt your comments were are on the mark except for one.
By no stretch of the imagination does this establishment serve the second-best caipirinha in the city. In fact, it's probably the worst. I acknowledge that Yemanja has one of the best caipirinhas. But they do have serious competition in Café Brasil just down the road in Rock Hill.
While I am a lover of caipirinhas (can you tell?), this will certainly not keep me away from this wonderful restaurant. Know that your review has led others to tell a friend who has told a friend about Boogaloo. It is sure to become a frequently visited spot by my friends and me.
To Mariah, from Down Under: In regard to the November 2 "Critical Fatwa," about Mariah Carey re-releasing her album: Why not? I think she knows that it has been done before. I feel that the item was quite harsh, and irrelevant to her latest success. She has done an amazing job, which I believe no one else could do after two flops of albums.
Hold the Applause
As we went to press last week, the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists announced the winners of its 2005 Excellence in Communications Awards. Riverfront Times staff writer Malcolm Gay garnered first-place honors in News Analysis for his November 3, 2004, feature "A Shot in the Arm," and in Political Coverage for his September 22, 2004, story "Blowing a Fuse." Staff writer Mike Seely took home firsts in Sports Feature for "Prince Joe's Lament" (November 17, 2004) and in General News for "Strobe Light Special" (May 11, 2005). Riverfront Times competed in the category for newspapers with a circulation of 100,000 and up.
For links to the winning stories, park your browser at www.riverfronttimes.com.
Dean C. Minderman's November 16 B-Side item "Soul Survivor" attributed "Joy" to the wrong songwriter. Lucinda Williams wrote the song.