DRINKING AND TOWING
Editor: Re: "A Thanksgiving Duck," by Rafael Alvarez [Nov. 20] -- two things gnawed at me about Mr. Alvarez's story.
First, while I spent six years working on tugs -- both ocean and inland Chesapeake -- I never saw the drinking he rests the story's outcome on. There wasn't that kind of tolerance for it in the "old days" and, recent legislation . . . and the general attitude have diminished the tolerance to zero.
Second, hawsers are not "coiled fore and aft." Decklines are. The hawser is the line that attaches to the barge for towing. There is only one hawser on the deck at a time -- sometimes, on lucky tugs, there is a spare hawser stowed somewhere below. It lives )) in the stern, usually coiled into a great pile on the fantail. (Arcane knowledge, I realize, but the inaccuracy drove me nuts.) Decklines, not hawsers, are tied to the barge when it's made up on the hip (i.e., alongside the tug) to bring it into the harbor, dock it, and turn it for loading or unloading.
CRITICIZING THE CRITIC
Editor: On Nov. 13, 1994 our restaurant, Captain Harvey's, was reviewed by Elizabeth Large. I feel that Ms. Large should, by all means, critique the food, service and ambiance of a restaurant. However, she uses her power as a critic to mention many things that are misleading and sometimes unkind in regard to both the restaurant and the people who work there. She mentioned that "Captain Harvey's is definitely for the well-heeled," when, in fact, she and her friends ordered the two most expensive items from our menu.
Our entrees for dinner begin at $13.75 and go up to $38 (for the baked stuffed lobster tail). Certainly this wide range is quite appropriate for a "white tablecloth" restaurant. Shouldn't a food critic know this?
Ms. Large stated in her review that we serve canned stewed tomatoes. This is not true. She also chose to mention that sour cream was served at her table even though no one had ordered a baked potato. In fact, it was not sour cream at all, but what we call "Tiger" sauce, which we serve with some of our entrees.
At one point in her article, Ms. Large said "Captain Harvey's specializes in motherly waitresses." If it was meant to be a compliment, it didn't come across that way. It sounded cynical and unkind.
I believe Ms. Large enjoys very formal dining and very formal service. Our aim is to give service formal enough to be comfortable and to present the best product we can for the best price we can.
We appreciate Ms. Large's compliments about our lobster, oysters and Captain's toast. Based on those dishes, she would have voted us "the best seafood restaurant in Baltimore, maybe the world." High praise indeed, but it didn't seem to help when she awarded us only 2 1/2 stars. She raved about our crab cake and enjoyed several of our homemade desserts. . . . And still 2 1/2 stars.
Ms. Large has become quite difficult to please. . . . I think sometimes fairness and ego battle each other and the readers are more confused after reading her evaluation than they were before.
Eula M. Marshall,
Co-owner, Captain Harvey's
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