Week of May 25, 2005

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Kitchen Confidential
Coming soon to Jasoom -- warm-weather comfort food: We would like to thank the Riverfront Times for the exposure our new restaurant Jasoom received in the form of Rose Martelli's May 11 review. Though we were stung by some of the criticisms (considering that we gambled everything we had personally and financially to make our dream real), on balance we found the comments on the food to be overall fairly favorable and gratifying. We were a tinge dismayed that most of the positive part of the review focused on a cocktail and that our great main courses did not get any mention until the last paragraph. We did appreciate it, however, that Ms. Martelli admitted that ordering every single one of our fried items all at once as a starter course for only two or three people was not a wise decision. Ordinarily just one of those items would take care of the initial nosh urge for a table of two or three.

The thing that really chapped our behinds, though, was the remark about the place looking like an "institutional cafeteria" because of the exposed kitchen. I am sure that in her obviously extensive eating career, Ms. Martelli must have dined in our space when it was inhabited by its previous occupant. Our postage stamp-size digs were a postage stamp-size dump when we moved in, and with our own hands and hard work my partner Jeff and I turned it into a rather pretty restaurant. We were hoping that we would get some props for accomplishing what is, in fact, a huge physical improvement to the South Grand business district.

Despite the exposed kitchen and the undersize, non-genetically engineered organic corn kernels on our house salad, we hope that everyone will give us a chance -- even in the summer. Ms Martelli was daunted at the prospect of staring down the barrel of our menu in July, but we have frequent seasonal menu changes and we expect that we will be giving lots of people some really comforting lunches and dinners even when it's hot outside.
Christopher Fletcher, owner, head cook and assistant dishwasher
Jasoom Restaurant
St. Louis

Rope Jump
"They"? Don't you mean "We"? Randall Roberts' story on downtown speculators David Jump and Sam Glasser did an excellent job of spotlighting a couple of wealthy assholes, but they aren't the cause of the loft district's problems ["Stranglehold," May 4]. They're just a symptom. A rancid, pus-filled symptom, sure. But a symptom nonetheless.

The real problem is the premium vodka-sippin', Audi-drivin' hordes of neo-yuppies swarming downtown like maggots on the pope. Any individual or business that originally made the loft district a cool place to be has been banished by ridiculous prices and an oppressive cloud of pretension. The loft district used to be a place people could go to escape these pricks, but those days are long gone. The new downtown residents are the latest manifestation of this town's massive inferiority complex. It's Saint Fucking Louis. It's not New York. It's not Chicago. It never will be. Hipness does not exist here. They're still hillbillies. They're just hillbillies in Kenneth Cole shoes and overpriced lofts.
Rob Dunnett
St. Louis

TEN Commandments
Not funny, pathetic: I'm not clear about Unreal's diatribe regarding The Evangelical Network (TEN) conference workshops on relationships [May 4]. Anyone can take statements out of context and write them in such a way that they appear to be something they were not. I don't think the word "funny" describes this article; "pathetic" is far more descriptive. It appears that Unreal was interested in making jokes at the expense of others who were being very real when discussing their relationships.

Everyone has and is entitled to an opinion. My opinion is that Unreal wanted to give the readers a good laugh and the way in which he or she presented the material was a very lame attempt to discredit God and those who believe God to be the primary focus of their lives. I am certain that I will never find a reason to browse the Riverfront Times again -- not that it will matter to you.
Lynn Matejka
St. Louis

Unreal, boat misser: The TEN item reminded me once again why I don't read RFT. Unreal missed the boat altogether in only attending one seminar in a weekend-long event. The focus of the entire conference was being Christian. Some of the other workshops Unreal missed were about building bridges between the GLBT community and nongay-affirming churches; community outreach to the homeless and needy; and using technology more in ministry.

In an effort to be "on the edge" and "controversial," you have missed another opportunity to report on a good thing. Some of the attendees were straight, and it wasn't all about gay dating. It was about being Christian in a difficult environment.
Cindy Bush
St. Louis

Short Order
A subpar patty: Based on Rose Martelli's review, we tried Big V's burger and onion rings ["V-licious," April 27]. If we had been served our order reasonably soon after it had been cooked it might have been really good. Unfortunately we waited and waited while we watched many takeout orders being picked up. All our food was lukewarm, and my wife's burger patty was so overcooked that it crunched like a Frito. We didn't complain, but I felt that it was a big enough disappointment to deserve writing about.

Usually when the owner is in the kitchen you can expect attention to the cooking, but it didn't pan out. Will we go back? Doubtful.
Wylie Williams
University City

In the "When It Rains" Unreal item of May 11, we misattributed the opening quote from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Mayor Slay issued the statement in a press release.

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