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Still More on "State of the Plate": Ode to Bartenders 

Though I enjoyed your "State of the Plate 2008" (Cover Story, March 19), I am at odds with several of Brandon Fox's conclusions in her sidebar titled "Bad Tastes."

Though I have no opinion on blackened food, I quite like the concept of casual dining; if there happens to be a wait, it's a perfect excuse to cozy up to the bar, order a strong drink and, should the establishment have several well-placed flat-screen televisions, catch a good ballgame. Frankly, I've always preferred eating at the bar. First of all, bartenders normally are graduates from the ranks of servers and tend to have better control of their craft. How many times have I ordered a beverage from a server and then waited an eternity for the drink to arrive?

A bartender is parked right in front of you and is usually quite conscientious concerning your drinks. More often than not, bartenders have a thorough grasp of the menu, and should you need an additional slice of bread or, pray tell, the tomatoes are overly mushy, they are more than willing to correct the situation -- immediately. And if you're really lucky, the bar will have an exquisite selection of fine cigars, so that following your appetizer (possibly a creamy crab dip) and entrée (crab cakes are my favorite) you can light up and sip a B&B.

Oh, did I mention television? The more the merrier.

Marc Lee
Richmond



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