By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
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By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
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By Kyle Swenson
Linda Harrington, shareholder/director
Rich International Airways
Regarding Jen Karetnick's review of Les Deux Fontaines ("Les Deux Faux Pas," August 1): A couple of years ago my wife and I dined there for the purpose of my reviewing them for Ocean Drive magazine. After we politely returned two dishes that were inedibly prepared (undercooked beans, overcooked steak), the manager came to our table and proceeded to make us feel as though we, not the kitchen staff, were the ones having problems. I was so taken aback by their unfriendliness and arrogance that although I had already plunked down a not-inconsiderable amount of money and was nearing deadline, I decided to review a different restaurant instead. So when I read Ms. Karetnick's recent criticism of the management's attitude, it was like deja vu all over again.
Which brings me to some recent letters taking Ms. Karetnick to task for her negative appraisal of this restaurant. I'm sure, as letter writer Adeline Tankousheva (August 22) suggests, that many people have had positive dining experiences at Les Deux Fontaines. That's a valid comment. But to question Ms. Karetnick's motives and professionalism is an insult to all the readers who value her honesty and integrity, and smacks of either a PR-orchestrated letter campaign to control the spin on a bad review, or just mean-spiritedness.
In any case, I think these people ought to show Jen a little more respect -- she is, after all, the second-best food critic in town.
Fontaine Blues, Part Deux
After reading Adeline Tankousheva's letter about Jen Karetnick's Les Deux Fontaines review, I feel the need to share with you my own experience at this restaurant. We were two couples that decided to have dinner at Les Deux Fontaines. After we sat, we waited for ten minutes until a waitress came to greet us. We ordered drinks, then had to reorder them twice because our order -- just two simple beers and two glasses of water -- "got mixed up" (remember the high-tech device to take the orders?). We had to ask two other waitresses to have someone come and take our order for dinner. After 30 minutes in the restaurant, a different waitress finally brought some bread; we then waited another ten minutes for a fork. Two waitresses bumped into us twice without even apologizing.
Of course, we put up with this horrible service for two reasons: First, our conversation was entertaining; and second, we were not going to leave any tip (remember the meaning: To Insure Promptness).
It was a big surprise when we got the check and the credit card receipt showed seventeen percent added to the total for food and drinks, and an additional space for a tip. After we complained, someone who identified himself as the manager/owner explained that the law in the State of Florida was to charge a seventeen percent tax, and then the client would add the tip. I guess he believed we were tourists. After being corrected about the actual tax and the discretionary nature of a tip, he got upset and yelled at us: "This is my law and you have to pay." At this point the very embarrassed waitress offered to pay the seventeen percent; otherwise she would lose her job.
This "gentleman" is probably behaving that same way with the many people that complain about the service. Maybe he doesn't need any more customers. As for me and my friends, we will never go back to that place! MDCC and other fine educational institutions have classes on how to treat customers; I suggest Les Deux Fontaines' owner/manager sign up for one of these.
Name Withheld by Request
Owing to a typographical error, last week's letter from Linda Harrington, daughter of aviation pioneer Jean Rich, contained an incorrect fax number. Harrington had solicited employees of Rich International Airways to contact her. They may do so at this (correct) fax number: 305-664-8947.