Letters

Letters from the issue of Thursday, July 14, 2005

Food Fight

Let the poseurs beware: Loved the "Reality Check" review by Stephen Lemons (Cafe, June 30), because there's nothing I love more dearly than seeing the mighty taken down.

I'll bet Christopher Gross is screaming bloody murder to everybody who will listen about Lemons' being a hack who wouldn't know good chow if it bit him on his posterior.

I have said for a long time that Lemons is the best food critic New Times has ever employed, much better than Howie Seftel (New Times' loss is the Arizona Republic's loss), but what he needs to do is this: Stop turning us on to so many ethnic eateries and slap the shit out of the overpriced, living-on-their-laurels types like Gross and Chris Bianco.

I think it was Lemons who wrote that those who truly love New York- or Chicago-style pizza wouldn't go near Pizzeria Bianco's Gucci pies. Hear, hear!

And about living on one's laurels, there's no restaurant more guilty of that than Christopher's. His place was pretty good when it first kicked off, or maybe we just didn't have great restaurants here back then, but now it's just overpriced and below average.

Tell Lemons to kick more ass; his readers are savoring it each time he ravages a poseur.
T.C. Arnold, Phoenix

From one critic to another: Kudos on "Reality Check." I'd like to hear your take on some other overpraised, oh-so-pleased-with-themselves spots such as Pizzeria Bianco and Barrio Cafe. Here's looking at the naked emperor!
Elin Jeffords, via the Internet

Phoenix's best?: I'm new to Phoenix, and some friends took me to Christopher's, saying it's one of the best restaurants in the city. Well, if this is one of the best, I'm hightailing it back to Denver as fast as I can!
Teddy Gonzalez, Glendale

Those who can, do; those who can't, teach: I don't know what Stephen Lemons was smoking when he wrote the review on Christopher's, but it must have been some good shit!

He should be fired for that steaming turd he laid on New Times' readers about arguably the best restaurant in the city. I'm just wondering if Lemons even went to the same restaurant I've frequented for years.

One thing I've wanted to know for a long time is why New Times critics have to be so fucking negative. They are not doing anything to improve the cultural scene in Phoenix by bitching all the time.
Ted C. Pugh, Peoria

So-so busted: It's about time somebody busted Christopher's for its so-so food and not so so-so prices. Next up, I hope, Tarbell's.
Ren Tomlinson, via the Internet

Not up to par: Spot-on about Gross. His is one of the few decent places to go in the Biltmore area, and he's sleepwalking with the food. This place should shine. I think the best choice is Zinc Bistro [at Kierland Commons in Scottsdale].
Seth Goldberg, Scottsdale

Hell's kitchen: Wow! The "Egoführer" was finally exposed for what he is: a culinary sham! The menu you described is the same he presented in Christopher's and the Bistro in the '90s.

I would have to speculate that his behavior in the kitchen has finally alienated any talented cooks from his brigade. I would suggest that he return to Missouri and the fried bologna sandwich from which he sprang, but that is the "Show-Me" state, and as you so aptly pointed out in your review, he doesn't have it to show.
Name withheld by request

Pay no attention to the greasy curtain: I don't care what you say, I love Christopher's! It's a classy place and unworthy of the drivel you call a restaurant review.

I'm sure that the greasy curtain you mentioned was a figment of the writer's imagination, put in the review to sell papers. Your reviewer (whose name is some kind of inedible citrus fruit, I believe) should be dismissed posthaste. He is a cad who's unworthy of licking Christopher Gross' loafers.

Be gone, vile fruit! Be gone!
Name withheld by request

Mo' Better Food

Out of Africa: I've always enjoyed reading Stephen Lemons' restaurant reviews, and I often take his advice as far as interesting places to eat. I don't always agree with his observations about the restaurant scene here in Phoenix, but he's always an entertaining read.

The Somali place he wrote about recently ("Somali Sublime," June 23) intrigued a co-worker and me, and so we went down to Little Somalia to check it out. It was just as Lemons reported, particularly when it came to the Somali section of Juba Restaurant's menu.

I found the aromatic rice to be delicious, along with the chicken and beef dinners one can choose to go with them. I even liked the Somali iced tea.

But as Lemons also reported, it is a new place, still "working out the kinks," and there were a couple of items not available.

Anyway, please have Lemons keep telling us about the new ethnic food places in the area. He's the only food writer I know of who's willing to go this far off the beaten path in search of them.
Nick Heimert, Glendale

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