A La Carte
1:12 PM EST, November 14, 2012
Updated: Guy Fieri responded angrily to the review on the Today Show Thursday morning. "I just thought it was ridiculous," Fieri said. "That to me, went so overboard...it really seemed like there was another agenda."
It's not pretty. Among critic Pete Wells' zingers, delivered in the form of an open letter to the over-the-top Food Network personality:
"When you saw the burger described as 'Guy’s Pat LaFrieda custom blend, all-natural Creekstone Farm Black Angus beef patty, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty-cheese) and a slathering of Donkey Sauce on garlic-buttered brioche,' did your mind touch the void for a minute?"
"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?"
"Does this make it sound as if everything at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar is inedible? I didn’t say that, did I?"
Wells' takedown is only the latest in scathing writeups by New York and national food media. Here, we bring you some of the harshest reviews:"The Un-Guide to Drinkin' in FLAVOR TOWN"
Critic: Talia Baiocchi
Notable excerpts: "We grab a seat in the bar between two female tourists splitting a Miller High Life and a guy taking his girl out for an espresso martini—which, here in hell, is rimmed with white chocolate."
"I go for the El Azul Watermelon, a mix of Tequila Blanco, watermelon, pineapple, and blue curacao rimmed with shocking-pink sugar. It's not so much a drink, as it is a cup of diabetes that tastes like a crackhead with a sweet tooth melted down blue raspberry Dum Dums, gum balls, and Sour Patch Kids and put it on ice."
"[Sutter Home wine] deserves a second chance. Turns out that the best thing about drinking it again is the irony of it arriving in a wine glass and the fact that I do not throw up."
Publication: New York Observer
Critic: Joshua David Stein
Notable excerpts: "Mr. Fieri’s most egregious transgression isn’t what he puts into his fellow citizens’ stomachs, it’s how the cynical slop interfaces with what he puts into their minds."
"By advocating an America in which the symbols of our salvation—manufacturing (embodied in those classic cars), rock ’n’ roll (the old guitars), and a return to the rough-hewn America of yore (the vintage flags, the faux taxidermy mounts)—becomes linked inseparably with a place in which pepperoni and mozzarella deserve to be rolled in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried, where the quantity of sauce on a fry demands even more frying, where chicken alfredo has many thousands of calories, Guy Fieri is using patriotism as a Trojan Horse for his infectious and insidious garbage."
"Not Our Type of Guy"
Publication: New York Post
Critic: Steve Cuozzo
Notable excerpts: "I wouldn’t feed the mess to a cat — the end-product of our struggle to extract edible elements from heaps of sugar and sludge masquerading as normal food."
"A protest scored us a perch in the far back “Studio” room, where the televised NFL barely took the edge off turd shaped Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders, tasting not of chicken, pretzel or any recognizable digestible matter."
"The [blackened chicken Alfredo pasta dish] must hold 3,000 calories. Could one human eat it all? If so, should he or she be allowed out of the house?""Searching for Guy Fieri At Guy's American Kitchen and Bar"
Publication: Village Voice
Critic: Nick Greene
Notable excerpts: "Two TVs were tuned to ESPN while the others featured the Food Network -- the primordial ooze from whence Guy crawled. Paula Deen was on. About half the women I saw dining at Guy's American Kitchen and Bar had gray hair and warm smiles and looked just like Paula Deen."
"After seeing the menu full of choices like 'Guy-talian Nachos' and 'Slamma Jamma Chicken Parm' I realized that, holy s--t, I'm going to have to take down at least three courses of this by myself."
Lest you think it's limited to just snotty professional critics, Yelp users have gotten in on the act, too.
"If Guy has given his seal of approval on this, then he has either 1) never eaten here, or 2) doesn't care," wrote one reviewer (one star.)
"... really, really hoping that most of these reviews were written by Guy-hatin' foodie snobs who just wanted to tarnish his reputation. Unfortunately, the reviews are fairly accurate," another wrote.
Last month, Fieri defended the New York restaurant, his eighth, in a CBS segment. "I know what I make, I know how I cook," he said. "I know the success of my food. I mean, you can't have eight restaurants and be doing it wrong...or that wrong."
To his credit, Fieri has brought national recognition to hundreds of hometown eateries with his travel show, "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." Among the featured spots: Connecticut's own O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, Corey's Catsup & Mustard in Manchester, Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk and Black Duck Cafe in Westport.
But with reviews this dismal, we doubt Nutmeg State diners visiting the city will want to return the favor.