Bernhard Schutte, Chairman
South Africa USA Chamber of Commerce
via the Internet
Belkys knows best: My, how we mock that which we do not know. Jen Karetnick's scathing review of Gryphon was actually quite comical ("Basic Extinct," June 14). There are so many inaccurate and ridiculous statements that we question her motives, as well as her integrity as a journalist.
Let us clarify something for Ms. Karetnick: Gryphon is a nightclub that serves incredible food. Guess you didn't notice our logo on the front of the building that says: "Drink, Dance, Dine." Apparently you walked through our front doors expecting Churchill's Fine Dining, the former tenant. (By the way Churchill's was a fine-dining restaurant, not an "upscale pub" as you reported.)
Gryphon has been open for some 12 weeks; in that time we have been featured on Channel 7's Deco Drive, had two great reviews from the Sun-Sentinel, and been reviewed favorably by The Herald three times. Funny enough, we were voted Best New Restaurant by the readers of New Times in the "Best Of" issue. Obviously the readers of New Times have better judgment than the writers and editors. None of the aforementioned parties was confused about our concept or décor.
We do not take reservations because Gryphon is a nightclub. In a "conventional restaurant" you eat dinner, then leave. Our guests come to eat, then stay to party. We cannot predict when a table will turn over. The fact that no one escorted you to a table really seemed to bother you. We have an "open seating" policy: Early in the evening, guests may sit wherever they'd like -- just like other nightclubs! Why is that so hard for you to understand?
As for the catty comments about our corset-wearing server, initially she was trained as a champagne hostess only. We used to have a champagne room; when food sales started soaring, we retrained our former champagne staff. Just because she was new to food sales and nervous doesn't give you the right to say that her corset was "depriving her brain of much-needed oxygen." Retract your claws, Jen.
To write that our "hours are ridiculously long" is absurd. Hello? We're a nightclub! Our eclectic gourmet menu seemed to perplex you because you couldn't pinpoint one particular culinary style. The food at Gryphon has a variety of influences: Polynesian, Asian, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and American. How can you call a three-page menu "extravagantly wasteful"?
We buy only the finest grades of meat, fish, and poultry. Our Chilean sea bass is NOT cooked in butter as you reported. Sea bass is a naturally buttery-flavor fish. It's also one of our bestsellers! Our gourmet pizzas are made on potato flatbread (which is soft and chewy), not focaccia. Our pork tenderloin is smoked in-house, and our pot-stickers are made from scratch every week. Our Xango cheesecake is also one of our best-selling desserts -- a drizzle of amaretto and caramel sauce hardly "cripple[s]" it!
To write that our food tastes "as if it had been purchased premade from Costco" is an absolute insult. As a matter of fact, our chef, Christian Russo, has been asked to appear on Channel 7's "A Bite with Belkys" -- a show about talented local chefs. It's pretty amazing that, in two short visits, you were able to sum up our entire business, even making assumptions as to what type of owners we are without ever having met or talked to us!
The fact that you blasted us for not asking why you didn't order an entrée is laughable. Many of our guests just order appetizers or just dessert. Or some no food at all! Again, we're a nightclub. Should we chastise each guest who doesn't order food? And the couple "engaged in heavy petting" was on their honeymoon. Sorry if public displays of affection bother you. You must be a very sad, lonely person if a bucket of greasy chicken and a porn movie is an entertaining night for you.
Ms. Karetnick, we have issues not uncommon to any new business, and accordingly we have monitored, changed, and adapted to suit the needs of our guests. You're entitled to your opinion, but the maliciousness in your review was completely uncalled for.
We are very optimistic. We have adapted. We have turned weak spots into strengths. And we will be around a lot longer than your silly little article. The dodo bird is you, Jenny Karetnick.
Angelina and Daniel Schmier, Proprietors