Letters

And as for Seibel's claim that New Times is a mere "bird dog" compared with the Herald being a "watch dog," consider this: New Times has done countless exposes on politicians and community leaders the Herald wouldn't touch -- until New Times exposed them. New Times told us about the murder of dozens of prostitutes by a single serial killer ("Seventeen Dead So Far," May 3, 1989); the Herald ignored this story until long after New Times ran it.

Here on Miami Beach, we salute New Times for its unflinching coverage of the outrageous actions of developer Thomas Kramer. The Herald provided almost no such coverage while at the same time glorifying Kramer and his parties in the "Weekend" section.

Please keep on doggin' them birds!
Richard H. Rosichan
Miami Beach

Jen is a Winner
Every week I open New Times to the letters section and read another complaint about one of Jen Karetnick's negative restaurant reviews. Well, you can add another reader to the long list of those who think Jen is a whiner who only evaluates restaurants for the power trip.

Her prima-donna review of Firehouse Four ("Heat Resistant," November 12) failed to inform readers of the phenomenon occurring along South Miami Avenue ignited by the reopening of the restaurant. For the first time in years the restaurant row tucked away just west of Brickell Avenue is breathing new life thanks to Firehouse Four. All the restaurants in this neighborhood, once quiet on Saturday nights, are now enjoying increased traffic because of the vibrance brought to the neighborhood by Firehouse Four.

I work only a few blocks away and have frequented Firehouse Four many times since it reopened for lunch, dinner, and those "hedonistic" happy hours. The ambiance is exceptional for a business lunch, a romantic dinner, or a night out after a long week. The staff is incredibly friendly and professional, especially considering that the restaurant has just recently reopened. The food is remarkable. (I have never been served a dish that was not the appropriate temperature, but Jen dedicated about two-thirds of her article to the temperature of the meal and almost nothing to the creative and exceptional menu.)

As a weekly paper, New Times is expected to be brash and anti-establishment. But Jen's inaccurate restaurant reviews call the editorial integrity of New Times into question. If a staff writer is more concerned with being negative than accurate, what does that say about the rest of the paper?

Peter Rabbino
Miami

Jen is Courageous
In regard to Jen Karetnick's article "A Beef About a Steak House" (October 29), not only do I completely agree with her assessment of El Gaucho, Malaga, Victor's Cafe, and Botin, I strongly support and applaud her careful scrutiny and journalistic courage.

Thomas Pitzer
Miami Beach

Jen is Justified
The "high standards" Jen Karetnick discusses in her review of El Gaucho are completely justified. The panning of a restaurant, Hispanic or not, has more to do with the momentary experience than with what the restaurant means to a community.

Nostalgic value does have its place in a review, as it does in the dining experience, but that should be only a part of the review, taking a back seat to decor, location, service, price, and food.

I've had my share of mediocre meals at supposed Miami landmarks such as Victor's Cafe and Versailles. If they want to draw in customers using nostalgia and Old World reputations, that's fine. But I'll continue to frequent restaurants based on the whole dining experience, and I appreciate reviewers who do the same.

Marc Muroff
Coral Gables

Jen is a Joke
Why in the world anyone would become agitated by pseudo-restaurant reviewer Jen Karetnick is beyond my comprehension. Don't readers realize she is the reincarnation of Red Skelton and Lou Costello? She is the comic section of New Times. What else would one expect from such a gauche individual who probably dines out in her best jeans and a T-shirt?

To even think she could influence anyone's dining tastes and habits is a joke. And by the way, have any readers noticed that when there is a letter written in her defense, it is so phony and patronizing that we all should know she has undoubtedly initiated the response? How tacky of her.

Readers should let up on their rancor as Jen runs a close second to Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters when it comes to mirth and levity. Lest we forget, laughter is food for the soul.

Ronald C. Rickey
Miami Beach

Dante Fascell
This past Saturday former Miami Rep. Dante Fascell died of cancer at his home in Clearwater, Florida. Fascell, whose governmental influence had a major impact on South Florida, was the subject of an August 20 cover story titled "He Made Dade," by staff writer John Lantigua. Readers can find the article on the home page of New Times's Website: www.miaminewtimes.com.

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