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I notice that you do not yet have a review for Ciao Bella, the restaurant that just took Chez Goo Goo's space. I wanted to share my experience with you so that it may or may not be added to the upcoming review.

I just ordered take-out and while eating my fettuccine ai porcini I found a cigarette butt in the sauce. When I called to complain I got through to the owner whose response was, and here's the kicker, "No one smokes here, so i find it hard to believe that it was in our sauce" and so i said "Well, I'm not a smoker" and he said "Like i said, no one smokes here so i don't know how that happened" so then i said "I am on my way over to pick up my refund" to which he said, again, "sorry about that but no one here smokes, so, um, did you want something else instead? !!!!" As though my appetite was not already spoiled and would like to eat something else instead of *at least* getting my money back!

I hope your experience there is much better. best, morgan

- Name Withheld

Dear Free Williamsburg,

I have to say that I disagree with your restaturant review for Citara. Not only was the service bad (read stunningly, amazingly awful), but the food was so terrible that I'd seriously say the reviewer needs to brush her teeth more often, use mouthwash and quit smoking because her taste buds are shot to hell.

We had the korma and aloo gobi, and they were worst than the worst indian food I have ever had. The dishes were soupy, bland and undercooked. The naan bread (the only bread available out of a list of maybe 5) was the consistency of big league chew, and tasted like they had been sprayed with butter flavored pam and microwaved on high for 4 minutes.

I would highly recommend that you advise readers to avoid this place at all costs.

- Name Withheld

F. Sot FitzgeraldDude, I'm not happy with your review of Rain Lounge. Nothing personal, mind, but I don't see it that way at all. As someone who spends a good deal of time avoiding tourist traps, your review made me wonder if I'd lost my touch.

Then I decided you were just wrong, or befuddled in love by the Pat Benatar-like bartender, whom I am guessing was Amanda. I tried Galapagos, North Sixth (excrement, true shit, sure to close before October), Iona, Yabbey, Mugs, Turkey's Nest, Stinger (love, love it, just not more than once in a while), and others, and Rain was the only place I feel comfortable every night I go. Cozy is part of it, lack of pretension the rest. I dunno what décor you were looking at, but it's just paint and cheap lights, man. A small budget used wisely.

This is what I would have written:

"Opened two months ago by musician Bobby Bell, the Rain continues to draw a low-key, low-poser crowd, straight and gay, black, white and Latin, creative and international. The other night, just a normal night, I met a Japanese student couple, three Danish girls (one local, two visiting), two new arrivals from San Francisco, an eight-year-resident English musician and a ten-year-resident German composer, besides the usual dotcommers, working stiffs, a dozen Brooklyn natives and two local old Polish men. The bartenders are pleasant (among them a DJ, a painter, a French art student, an actor, a musician), Bobby is friendly, and there's a small garden in the back. Drinks are about $4 for a bottle, $6 or so for a mixed drink."

I'm betting you were there that one night Rain had a sort grand opening or shortly thereafter, when it wasn't open continuously yet. I think this because:

First because their bottled beers have since expanded to Red Hook, Rolling Rock, Corona, Red Stripe, Heineken, Amstel Light, Budweiser, Bud Light and a couple of others (sometimes Kirin), including two kinds of Sam Adams on tap (when the taps are working: the irregular tap beer is definitely a problem). Not the most creative selection, but Coors Light? Michelob? Are you kidding? Maybe I missed them, but damn, I'd buy it and pour it out just to keep it from poisoning the kids. Bobby's got better taste than that.

Second, because that whole juice bar work permit sounds dubious. As the kind of guy who reads work permits religiously (looking for the taint of McDo and Starbucks), as well as movie permits, parking permits, vendor permits, elevator inspection certificates, etc., etc., I'm suspecting you were confused with the place one block down, on a corner on the same side of the street. Or something.

Third, because your drink prices don't sound right. The prices I quote above are what I get charged, when I go. I think. Bobby has been fiddling with the drink prices, looking for a good cross between keeping customers and staying in business. One thing he's done is to expand happy hour.

I should note for the record that I am merely a customer of Rain Lounge. My intimate knowledge of the place is a result of my alcoholism and sturdy liver; any other place that so facilitates one of my bad habits will merit the same kind of red-nosed attention.]

Thanks, in any case.

PS: Your Planet Thai review is right on the money. Blech

- Name Withheld.

F. Sot replies:

Points well taken, Grant, though I still think the interior is slick and not merely "paint and cheap lights." I'm glad you enjoy the place. Maybe I just caught it on a bad night. All I can tell you is what I saw and experienced, which didn't leave me hankering for more. Again- a straight shot of $12 a bottle whiskey (and that's retail) was $7 before tip. At some point in the future I'll stop by again. Hopefully by that time Rain will have its beer selection and drink prices more settled and I can re-do the review.

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