Thai Taste

Week of June 26, 2002

Jun 26, 2002 at 4:00 am
Thai Taste
Some new definitions: The May Company's strong-arm tactics have finally culminated in the closing of a business and condemnation of a building [Jim Nesbitt, "Old Man Trouble," June 12]. Therefore I suggest that the Riverfront Times modify the restaurant review of the affected Sen to read: Sen can mean "noodle," "line" or "network," but only in St. Louis can it mean "condemned," "broke" or "shut down." This definition is certainly well represented on the door of this basement establishment, which features a prominent red-lettered sign, placed by city bureaucrats uninterested in maintaining any semblance of business in the downtown area. Forget the simple, elegant presentations and fresh ingredients. It's a slam-dunk for May to use political clout with the good ol' boys in City Hall. Sen was a good excuse to go against the flow and travel downtown for dinner, but Frankie the Saint is apparently more interested in attracting sports fans instead of residents, shoppers and diners.
Chris Polka

Shock Therapy
Don't let the children see: Yesterday I picked up a copy of the Riverfront Times in order to look for a schedule for the St. Louis Jazz Festival. After glancing at the shocking cover for about 30 seconds, I had to rip it from the paper in order to proceed to read what was inside the magazine [Eddie Silva, "Bloodwork," June 19]. Now, I am a 30-year-old man who has seen movies like Reservoir Dogs and Night of the Living Dead over a dozen times apiece. If something disturbs me, chances are very good that it will disturb most others. What possessed the RFT to put such a graphic and horrific image on its cover for the entire public to see, including children entering restaurants with their parents, is beyond me. After reading the gruesome description of torture and rape that are frequent in Eric Stanze's films, I was even more disgusted. Not so much by what is in his movies; he can make whatever type of film he desires -- it was Stanze's snide attitude that St. Louisans and the "Webster Film Series crowd" were just too uptight to understand his work and that his films have no effect on the behavior of others. I would suggest that the St. Louis police sit Mr. Stanze down and let him view the grisly tapes of accused serial killer Maury Travis, described recently in the Post-Dispatch. Then Mr. Stanze can see just how "cool" it is to watch an actual person being tortured and murdered on film.
Dennis V. Smith
St. Louis

Just hated this hateful review: I just finished reading the restaurant review of Chez Leon by Melissa Martin ["French Connection," June 19], and have never before read a review so mean-spirited and hateful. I gathered by the first couple of paragraphs you did not care for the restaurant, but was it really necessary to criticize every minute detail from a moth in a lampshade to Mr. Bierbaum's clothing? What could be the source of your hate? Do you have a personal vendetta against Mr. Bierbaum? If not, then are you being paid by someone to force this man out of business so that they can have his coveted Central West End location? No, again, you say. Is it that you are still so angry with the French for screwing up our Winter Olympics that you decided to go off on all things that are French? I could accept that excuse. Whatever your reason, your pettiness needs to be explained. I have dined at Chez Leon a couple of times and found the decor simple but elegant, the service attentive and the food delicious. If I had found a moth in my food, I would have been alarmed, but a moth in a lampshade -- well, it is summertime in St. Louis. As for Mr. Bierbaum's clothing, he was dressed better than most of his patrons. On another note: Ms. Martin, are you aware that Bosnians make up roughly 10 percent of the St. Louis population? Your implication that Bosnian waiters do not belong in a French restaurant could be viewed as both racist and bigoted.
Richard Henry Brown
St. Louis

Squeal Like a Cop?
A slur and a cheap shot: Your article titled "Squeal Like a Pig" was an affront to all policeman [Bruce Rushton, June 12]. The gratuitous use of "pig" in the title had nothing to do with the story and was insulting to the alleged victims and perpetrator, all of whom belong to this noble profession. Would you title a story about African-Americans using the reviled n-word? Shame on you for use of an inflammatory slur that had absolutely nothing to do with the story. Is it that tough to attract readers that you must stoop this low with your headlines?
Daniel Bloom
via the Internet

Job Opening
The Riverfront Times is looking for a freelance restaurant critic. We want someone who is passionate about food and knowledgeable about the restaurant industry and is able to produce stylish, opinionated columns. Qualified applicants should send a cover letter, résumé and clips (plus a sample review, if you haven't reviewed before) to:
Jim Nesbitt
Riverfront Times
6358 Delmar Boulevard
Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63130