Mack, Turkeys and Beaver's

Only one Beyoncé: I'm so glad that someone finally hit the nail on the head concerning Solange Knowles. ["Turkeys of the Year," by Rich Connelly, November 27]. I don't always like Beyoncé, but you have to give her her props — she can dance her ass off, and she can hold her own with other pop singers. I'm reserving my opinion of how she does in Cadillac Records 'cuz I haven't seen the movie yet, but I plan to. In the last movie I saw featuring Beyoncé, I couldn't see her for Jennifer Hudson, who blew me away — completely. However, she's about as far ahead of Solange as Jennifer Hudson's singing is of hers. Just so glad there are others out there besides me and my friends who are tired of their dad trying to push her down our collective pop culture throats along with Beyoncé. One Beyoncé is quite enough — her sister just doesn't have "it."

Name withheld by request

Hail Mack

Great subject, great story: Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the story on Mack McCormick, a just tribute to a (too often) unsung hero ["The Collector," by John Lomax, November 20]. Those Henry Thomas liner notes deserve a Pulitzer Prize of their own, not to mention all that remarkable work with Lightnin' Hopkins, the pure research, the insightful and exploratory writing on so many diverse subjects — and now I've got the Whitman-Dickinson play to look forward to!

Peter Guralnick

Bummed about Beaver's

Online readers weigh in on "Busy Beavers," by Robb Walsh, November 6

Major disappointment: I've tried Beaver's four times, violating my three-strikes rule. I should have followed my one-strike rule used for truly bad experiences. On three of four visits, service was horrendous. The staff just didn't seem to give a crap about their jobs as "servers." We spent most of the nights asking for things — napkins, a fork, a spoon, water, a second cocktail after our glasses sat empty for 20 minutes, a dessert menu, etc. It would have been laughable if the prices were not so ­precious.

Secondly, I've never been impressed with the food. Every dish seems to be doctored to be "different" for the sake of being different instead of being better. The potato salad, as you mentioned, is atrocious. The mac and cheese is a joke. Not that it should be "normal," but it is a whole lot of nothing — why bother? Paying for bread in a supposed barbecue joint is offensive. The ribs and brisket were tougher than tough. It's like they baked the meat for 20 minutes and slapped sauce on it. Nothing was outstanding except perhaps the cocktails, when you could get one. This is not a place to go for barbecue.

Let me add that I am a huge fan of Monica Pope. I've been a fan since she opened the Quilted Toque, where I dined three times a week. I loved Boulevard Bistro and regularly dine at t'afia. Beaver's is a major, major disappointment.

Comment by JohnM from Houston

Bad service: Nothing can ruin your dinner quicker than being made to feel insignificant. Let me qualify what I am about to say by pointing out that I have been in the restaurant/bar business since I was 12 years old. Before I became an attorney, I worked every position imaginable in a restaurant, from dishwasher to manager. I am critical because I was in the industry, and I know what I was capable of — so if I could do it, others can too. I just had a terrible experience at Beaver's, a place I was really excited to try out. I was woefully disappointed by the service.

When I got there, since I was alone, I decided to sit at the bar. The bartender looked straight at me as I sat down. The dining room had a few tables, but nothing major; they certainly weren't "slammed."

So I sat there, and I waited...and I waited. I watched this guy take care of another couple that came in to join the people at the table. Then I watched him take care of another guy that bellied up to the bar for a drink. Finally, he came over, and I asked for a menu. There was another, heavyset guy there who was either the bar back or the second bartender, but dressed identically to the first who I made eye contact with. This kid didn't even so much as look at me.

So I waited, and I waited some more. Not until the skinny guy told him to come get my order did the chubby one come over and say, "What can I get you, boss?" WTF? Whatever happened to "sir"? Regardless of the fact that I am a 42-year-old lawyer old enough to be his dad, he doesn't know me; he should be calling everyone sir.

So they finally got my order, and I waited and waited some more. I ordered the smoked sampler for one and the iceberg salad. One beer. The wait continued. No salt on my beer like I asked. No silverware. Just waiting.

Finally, the food came, and the salad was completely wilted. The barbecue wasn't half bad, but nothing to write home about. I got no further attention from chubby boy, and the slim one came over all of one time since I got my food to check on me. He brought over another beer....still no salt. I had to order kosher salt separately.

I finally had to get someone's attention for a to-go box and my tab. All the while I was watching these guys chat it up with each other, count their tip money, yuk it up with the waitresses and fawn all over the other people at the bar. Now I was sitting there wondering, WTF? I don't look like a bum. I don't smell funny. My money's green. What did I do to earn this type of indifference? The only thing I could think of was my skin is brown, and all the other people in the place were white.

Is that jumping to conclusions? Is that having a chip on my shoulder? Is that off base? Maybe. Hell, since November 4, probably. But service people need to understand that there can be unintended consequences to their behavior. You may be careless or tired or just lazy all the time to everyone. But keep in mind, when you act that way to a minority customer in a service industry, he may take it the wrong way and never come back.

Now, I talked to the manager, and she was very nice and very apologetic. She even offered to buy my dinner, but as I pointed out, I wasn't saying something because I wanted a freebie. I was saying something because when I was a manager, I would've wanted to know. I understand this place ain't Morton's, but when you pay $30 for a plate of barbecue, a salad and a couple beers, you expect a little more than just being ignored.

Comment by Eddie_Esq from Houston

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Correction: Starting Over

Due to an editing error, the December 4 column "Backlash Upon Backlash" (by Margaret Downing) gave the wrong date for when Abe Saavedra began as superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. The correct year was 2004.

The Houston Press regrets the error.

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