The Guy Fieri Review: Your Thoughts?

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I’d like to hear what people are thinking about the review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square that ran in the New York Times today. Quite an evisceration, yes, and truly snarky. But really funny, too.

It’s especially interesting, this utter takedown, considering that just a few weeks ago, Pete Wells, the restaurant critic, wrote a zero-star review for The 21 Club, but yet started it out with this sentence:

Readers who look forward to the dark thrill of a public execution on days when there are no stars attached to this column should turn elsewhere to satisfy their blood lust. This is going to be a kind of love letter to a restaurant where the food is largely forgettable and the prices are almost always unwarranted.

Today’s review is no way a love letter.

A few phrases:

Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? If you hadn’t come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds?

If servers arrive with main courses and find that the appetizers haven’t been cleared yet, do they try to find space for the new plates next to the dirty ones? Or does that just happen in Times Square, where people are used to crowding?

But what may be most telling is this paragraph:

Has anyone ever told you that your high-wattage passion for no-collar American food makes you television’s answer to Calvin Trillin, if Mr. Trillin bleached his hair, drove a Camaro and drank Boozy Creamsicles? When you cruise around the country for your show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” rasping out slangy odes to the unfancy places where Americans like to get down and greasy, do you really mean it?

Or is it all an act? Is that why the kind of cooking you celebrate on television is treated with so little respect at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar?

If Guy Fieri really does celebrate all that is down and dirty, but downhome and delicious, then does he deserve this very public trashing? Helen Rosner thinks so. Read her very smart reaction to the review right here: 1048 Words about Pete Wells and Guy Fieri. (Thanks Sean Mayer for that!)

What do you think? 1048 words or less, please.

 

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

2 Comments

  1. I feel terribly when I read a bad restaurant review. When I write reviews it is the one area of my life where I leave snark out. I get a pit in my stomach when I see a restaurant go out of business, imagining the crushed dreams of the proprietors.

    That said, as an appreciator of all thing snark and a loather of all things obnoxious (myself excluded), I gleefully drank up this review! If you want me to root against you in every aspect of your life, wear sunglasses on the back of your head. I’ve long found Guy Fieri….unpalatable and, reading about his restaurant in the run up to the open accentuated it for me. I guess a couple of other factors allow me to enjoy this particular crushing review. First, for anyone who’s ever had the misfortune to find themselves in the soul sucking black pit of despair known as Bubba Gump Shrimp in Times Square and looked around to notice how packed it is,you probably realize that awful food and bad reviews will not doom this glitzy culinary misadventure. Secondly, I doubt Mr. Fieri would be financially ruined if this place went out anyway so enjoying the review is sort of a victimless crime.

  2. As a restaurant owner, I know how much of your life-savings it takes to actually get the doors open. In Times Square you have obscene rents but, the luxury of “World” Patrons, those who will see a celebrity restaurant, dine with no expectation of a return trip. I highly doubt he will suffer either way. I will say that the places he visits on his show are the dreams of talented people (owners) who are not looking to buy a second home in Aspen or an 80 foot pleasure craft. The review makes it clear that Mr. Fieri is taking his ideas from DDD reworking the recipes without regard in the name of making a buck. He decided to open a machine that makes money, rather than a restaurant.

    It is clear that Mr. Fieri has hung his name on the door without any regard for the craft and love Executive Chefs put into their food and dishes. Guy Fieri has no training as a Chef. Wiki him….He came onto the scene as a winner of a Food Network Show; and his talent is, what exactly?

    Personally, I am tired of Celebrity Chef Restaurants and believe that most of the Press coddles these individuals like Gods and offers nothing to all the hard-working Chefs with amazing talent that show up at 7 am and leave well after 11 at night; Chefs who are IN their restaurants and put themselves out there daily with the only desire for a compliment here and there. We care less about profit and more about quality and taste. All we want is to put our kids through college. I am pleased that that The NY Times took a look at his reality and stripped away the “Celebrity Varnish”. So, the Chef has no clothes? Check please!

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