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To the Editors of the Crimson:
I sincerely hope that the reporting of Rathborne and Luskin is usually more accurate than it was when they reviewed the Green Turtle and Ferdinand's Restaurant in your July 7th issue. I have never eaten at the Green Turtle, but my husband is one of the owners of Ferdinand's; and although your reviewers are entitled to their opinions. I would like to correct several untruths reported as facts.
Ferdinand's is not open for lunch from 11:00-2:00 as they stated. We serve lunch from 11:30-2:30 Monday thru Friday, 12:00-3:00 on Saturday and not at all on Sunday. They did manage to get the evening hours correct.
Another minor inaccuracy (I say minor because it has nothing to do with the food but nevertheless shows how bad the reporting was) was the description of the dining rooms. They are not oaken as stated. One is dark stained pine planks, one is painted and one is papered. As to the reference to the "Dubuffet reporductions on the walls," that is just plain laughable in its ignorance. The artist's name happens to be Bernard Buffet, he enjoys some small amount of fame, and the one Buffet we have is an original. It seems the eyes that mistakenly reported oaken walls everywhere also misread the signature of an artist they were unfamiliar with.
Your reviewers maintain that we "charge excessive prices for mediocre food." We are not cheep. We do not pretend to be. You cannot serve prime beef, use real butter, make all your sauces from scratch, and use fresh fruit and fresh potatoes (even for the boiled ones) and have a particularly inexpensive menu. My statements can easily be checked. Come over and I'll being made fresh before each meal and the Prime stamp on the meat.
Your reviewers mentioned Chicken Livers Provencale. If you can find that on our menu, I'd like to know about it. As far as I know, it isn't there. They also said the salad dressing contained pickle relish. We do not put pickle in any form in our salad dressing. Mrs. McGovern took a bottle of it with her last time the dined at Ferdinand's and she said it was fantastic. I realize that that is only one person's opinion and Rathborne and Luskin need not agree with it, but please don't report as fact that there is pickle relish in the salad dressing when you haven't the faintest idea of how it is made and obviously have even less idea after tasting it.
The statement that our "fresh fruit in Kirsh wasn't really: the fruit was canned, topped with a lone fresh strawberry, and what may have been a fresh banana" was the crowning blow, especially to the cook who spends considerable time peeling, coring and cutting up all that fresh fruit that really is. We have never used canned fruit and the supposedly expert taste that detected canned and the supposedly discriminating eye that saw the banana was wrong again. We don't put bananas, canned or otherwise, in our fresh fruit. Perhaps there is not a great deal of difference to the casual diner between fresh fruit and canned fruit (although we think there is), but one expects more from a "restaurant reviewer" doesn't one? And I do think it is grossly unfair to your readers to have a review about food written by someone who can't even recognize a pickle or a banana.
We appreciate constructive criticism. We realize everyone cannot like everything on our menu and we realize that some may prefer a different atmosphere. These are all legitimate differences of opinion and we respect them. But when someone states as the truth all the untruths mentioned above, it is time to refute them. I believe that the article by Rathborne and Luskin was a blatant misrepresentation of the facts and an inexcusable display of ignorance.
I have some constructive criticism for Rathborne and Luskin. If I were you, I would take basic cooking course somewhere, anywhere, and stick with it at least until you can recognize a banana--it'll be tough but you can do it! And after you've mastered that, take a good basic course in Art Appreciation before you "posture" as an art critic, too. And then go to some really nice hot dog stand and have a really good meal, you know, a hot dog with lots of pickle relish on it--or was that a hamburger?? Oh well, hamburger, hot dog, they're so similar. Doesn't everyone get them confused
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