November 14, 2012
Does Guy Fieri own the country's worst restaurant?


Drinks that taste like a "combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde." "Turd shaped" chicken tenders. "(A) restaurant that would be indicted for crimes against humanity, if only that crime fell within the Department of Health's purview."

Those are actually some of the more positive comments levied by restaurant critics for Guy's American Kitchen and Bar, the Times Square restaurant overseen by Guy Fieri's restaurant group. The Food Network star's latest restaurant has been savaged by critics since opening in September. One of them, published Tuesday in the New York Times, has since gone viral. Penned by Pete Wells, the paper's restaurant critic, it's more of a rant than a review. It reads as an open letter to Fieri, with each sentence save for a final "thanks" written as a question.

"Did you notice that the menu was an unreliable predictor of what actually came to the table?" ... "Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?" ... "Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste?" ... "When you hung that sign by the entrance that says, WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN!, were you just messing with our heads?"

And on, and on, and on ... This literary device gets a little stale out after the second paragraph, and stringing together a bunch of punchlines for an entire review reads like a writerly cop out - but yeah, this place does sound awful. Journalisms aside, it is a pretty entertaining review, and getting tons of reads online. If any of your Twitter or Facebook friends are into food, chances are at least one of them has shared this piece.

If all this sounds like sour grapes from the New York Times, well they're not alone. The New York Post ripped this restaurant on Oct. 2, dropping such critical bombs as, "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."


If that's not enough dogpiling on Fieri, the New York Observer had this to say about Guy's American Kitchen and Bar: "Mr. Fieri not only serves truly horrible-tasting food, an awkward origami of clashing aleatory flavors, but he serves this punishing food emulsified with a bombastic recasting of deep-fried American myth."

On a somewhat related note, Fieri oversees two eateries in the Sacramento area: Tex Wasabi's, a fusion of sushi and Texas barbecue, and the palace of pungency known as Johnny Garlic's in Roseville. Also of hometown interest, Davin Vculek of the popular KrushBurger food truck was formerly a corporate executive chef for Fieri.

But hey, it's just about lunch time, so if you're grubbing at your desk or twiddling away on your smart phone, click over to these links to the full reviews of Guy's American Kitchen and Bar:

* New York Times: "As Not Seen on TV"

* New York Post: "Not Our Type of Guy"

* New York Observer: "The Crispy Crimes of Guy Fieri: Junk Food T.V. Star Takes Times Square"

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