Week of June 29, 2005

Ari's and Shine
Take it from a gyro connoisseur: At the suggestion of a friend, my husband and I recently dined at Ari's Greek-American Cuisine [Rose Martelli, "Grecian Formula," June 22]. It is a bit of a hike from our house, but I like Greek food so I thought that I would give it a try. I was so pleased by the staff. They were very friendly and accommodating. The owner of the restaurant greeted us and came by our table later to check on us. We got so much attention that I thought I was in a five-star restaurant. My tasty salad was loaded with feta and olives. My husband, who considers himself to be somewhat of a gyro connoisseur, was very impressed with his large, open-face gyro filled with delectable meat and creamy sauce. Speaking of sauce, I haven't had a tzatziki sauce as good as theirs since I visited Greece after college. In fact, I ordered some to take home. Finally, the baklava, made by the owner's wife, was to die for. I would make the drive back for that alone. I got the impression that the people working and running this new restaurant were "bending over backwards" to make it work.

Obviously, I am disappointed in your review. I certainly feel that everyone is entitled to their own opinion; however, not everyone can express themselves in a column reaching thousands of people. I am saddened that Rose Martelli felt it was necessary to berate this new, family-run business in such a scathing way. Three long, nasty paragraphs was definitely overkill and could easily put a fledgling business in jeopardy. I can't imagine how any reader could be entertained by her nonstop negativity. Enough is enough!
Jennifer Phillips
Town and Country

Worth another try: Thankfully, I had dinner last night at Ari's before I read your review about this recently opened restaurant. There were five people in my party and all of us thought that overall the food was good. As with any new restaurant, there can always be improvement. Also, the service was excellent.

I suggest your reviewer give Ari's another try very soon.
Mary Layton

Wake up those taste buds: I couldn't believe what Rose Martelli wrote about Ari's. We live in the neighborhood and have eaten at both Ari's and Colossus at least three or four times. Ari's is Greek-American -- more American with a Greek touch. Every time we've been there our food was great and so was the service. They might have a few bugs to work out, but come on, they've only been open ten weeks and they sure didn't deserve such a harsh review.

As for Colossus, the reviewer must be a friend. It's a fun place to go in the neighborhood, but sorry -- the food is not so great. I think your reviewer's taste buds must have been on vacation at both of the restaurants.
Judy Abell
St. Louis

Turnabout is fair play: I'm the owner of Ari's Greek-American Cuisine, and I'd like to comment on Rose Martelli's review in last week's issue. I liked your idea of reviewing three restaurants serving Greek food in one article, and I've always respected other people's opinions, but the ouzo must have taken effect by the time you entered our restaurant.

You ate and wrote about very specific Greek dishes at the other two restaurants in the article but only refer to the Italian dishes you sampled at my restaurant. How is that consistent with a review of Greek restaurants? Did it occur to you to try our lamb kebab, moussaka, dolmades, pastitsio or spinach pita? I have to wonder if the actual reason you didn't enjoy the Italian dishes is because you were confused and thought they were actually supposed to be Greek! You mention the atmosphere in the other two restaurants but don't mention the ambiance at mine. Could that be because the visual appeal of my restaurant blows theirs away?

I feel as though you played favorites when writing this review. I've often felt that your articles were long on flowery prose and short on ability and experience, and this one serves as confirmation. Be consistent and do your homework in the future so you don't continue to look so foolish and amateurish.

Ari Mehtas, owner
Ari's Greek-American Cuisine
St. Louis

Music Reviews
Northern exposure: It has become apparent that the RFT search for the city's best DJ only travels to Delmar and remains south of that boulevard ["Buffet of Champions", June 15]. The small handful of DJs that were mentioned as the "best DJs" in the area seems to never expand to the city's vast north side, where some of the most bumping DJs perform. These clubs and bars are where you never need a vote to know whether or not your music is hitting because you will be run out of the place if you have fallen into commercial heaven.

The lack of recognition for DJs who do not perform at RFT's handpicked favorite ultra-cosmetic clubs and bars only leaves me to believe that there is either a fear of coming to the 'hood where the DJs throw down with merciless beats and then smooth you over like a satin sheet on a no-wave waterbed, or the interest is only in the commercial name of DJs that represent the advertisers and supporters of a newspaper that may not really be interested in the best of the city but only what's best for RFT.
Rick Hawkins, a.k.a. DJ Slick Rick
University City

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