If you’ve been doing much reading at all online the last few days, you’ve likely seen or heard about the scathing review the New York Times gave Guy Fieri’s newest restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar.
It’s a highly amusing and clever piece, the entire article a series of questions ranging from playful to pointed. There was no question, however, of what Pete Wells thought of the place.
For example, “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?” Or, “Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers — called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?”
You have to give credit where credit is due. It’s a fun piece to read and I’m pretty sure his analysis isn’t far off the mark (if not dead on, but mind you I’ve never visited the restaurant myself). What does bother me, however, is the intent. Surely, Mr. Wells, you couldn’t have expected Guy’s American Kitchen to provide a meaningful culinary experience? Did you forget Times Square is a gastronomic wasteland? Did the fact that most of the menu is either deep fried or smothered in melted cheese not tip you off? Did you forget the proprietor looked like this?
But before you write me off as a food snob too, hear me out. Bacon mac and cheese has it’s place. Typically, though, this place hasn’t been the New York Times.
So why, Pete, did you write this review? To save the unwashed masses from wasting $50? Because to be perfectly honest, it feels like a cheap shot on an easy target. Too easy, in fact. It’s all seems a bit high school, the meanness that bites a bit too hard and for no good reason. I can’t imagine Guy’s food is appreciably worse than any other restaurant on that god-forsaken strip. You don’t have to like Guy Fieri, his restaurants, or anything he stands for. But Forbes reports the dude is worth about $8 million, so apparently some people do. And they’re probably not the demographic who give a crap about Pete Wells’ dining recommendations.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending Guy or his allegedly poorly-executed food. I’m just saying let’s all be civil. The New York Times should have better fish to fry. Stick to what you’re good at, Times, and Guy will stick to Times Square. Leave the reviews of Guy’s American Kitchen to Yelp. You’re better than these cheap publicity stunts… or at least I thought you were.