Letters from the Issue of June 12, 2008
All Food, All the Time
Let them eat pancake!: Great writing from Lee Klein in "Flapjack Flip-Off VIII" (June 5). I'm not much of a pancake fan, but I feel drawn to both the Icebox Café and Original Pancake House after having read the article. Thank you for providing me with a few chuckles each week before getting back to the day-to-day stress of everyday life. Keep up the good work.
Flapjack Flip-Off VIII
He's a brute, or something like that: Regarding Lee Klein's restaurant review of Fratelli Milano, "Value Veal" (May 29): Working in downtown Miami is a troublesome affair. The city is in grave disrepair. The homeless use the sidewalks as public toilets, and as temperatures heat up, the air becomes ripe. I have walked the streets alone for more than 10 years and have witnessed assaults midday — stabbings, muggings, you name it. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau would have you believe it is all high-rises and Heat games. It is not, and downtown is seriously not ready for its closeup!
Fratelli Milano is owned and operated by young Milanese twin-brother chefs and managed by their family. The staff is youthful and unpolished. The place is small, but it's all they could afford as first-time restaurant owners. They must make their living only during daylight hours, when office workers with cash wander the stinking streets seeking refuge from the bleak reality that is the daily downtown grind. I am one of the grateful grubs who know from personal experience that your review is uncharacteristically cruel. Where is your sparkle?
Your work is clever and entertaining, and I often quote it to my friends. But your usual light touch and charming style seem absent from "Value Veal."
I just wish you saw what I see and felt a bit more benevolent about their extraordinary efforts. They are sweet and genuine and doing a laudable job creating a pleasant oasis in an increasingly underperforming area. Most of the good guys aren't winning. Frankly it's really frightening out here, Mr. Klein.
Your review was a bit ... tu brute.
Via web commentary
He's sure not from Milan: Has Lee Klein been to the Piazza del Duomo lately? Nowadays the busiest restaurants surrounding the Piazza are anything but sophisticated.
Do you think it would be smart for any lunch-only establishment to invest thousands of dollars in a broad list of wines when you know firsthand they will be placed on the shelves for months to come? Also, what other restaurants in downtown Miami have an onsite pasticcere who prepares everything from bread to pasta, pastries, and desserts daily? Where in downtown do you even see artisan pastries like ours? Why do you think our menu works so well with our customers? Are 150 people crazy to eat at Fratelli's for the good price? I don't think so. Executives, bankers, and lawyers recognize good quality no matter how it's labeled. Tu sei Italiano? We are! How do you even know if we speak Italian or not? Did you even bother to ask?
With 10 years of experience with the downtown Miami crowd, we can tell you right now, Mr. Klein, we are doing great, and believe us, we have no need to pretend to be good at our food preparation or service — the waiting line outside Fratelli says it all.
100 percent Milanesi,
Roberto and Emanuele Bearzi
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