You knew the smackdown was coming. When Guy Fieri — the Food Network personality and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” host — got so popular as to host a network TV game show and open a three-level, 500-seat mega restaurant in Times Square, the backlash was inevitable.
Food snobs, of course, have never really taken Guy all too seriously. There’s the frosted hair, the rock ‘n’ roll attitude, his inner “bro” that he liberally lets escape on our TVs and the fact that he’ll put something called Donkey Sauce on a menu.
So when the New York Times’ Pete Wells unleashed a stinging zero-star of review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar under the headline, “As not seen on TV,” he was putting into words that a lot of people had been thinking for a few years now. Since last night, it’s zoomed around the web and was even a chatter item on “Good Morning America” today.
Here are a few choice quotes:
What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?
Why undermine a big fist of slow-roasted pork shank, which might fly in many downtown restaurants if the General Tso’s-style sauce were a notch less sweet, with randomly shaped scraps of carrot that combine a tough, nearly raw crunch with the deadened, overcooked taste of school cafeteria vegetables?
Is this how you roll in Flavor Town?
Is the entire restaurant a very expensive piece of conceptual art? Is the shapeless, structureless baked alaska that droops and slumps and collapses while you eat it, or don’t eat it, supposed to be a representation in sugar and eggs of the experience of going insane?
Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?
With a review so dismantling, there, of course, have been detractors, taking the Times to task for snobbery and beating up on Fieri’s restaurant for sport. The Awl has a collection of reactions and some digestion of its own.
I kinda can’t lie here. While I wouldn’t try this place if I were in New York, I kinda want to try one of Guy’s Bay Area restaurants now. Just for the show and the experience. I suspect that’s what Guy Fieri is all about these days anyway.