DonRocks

Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, Times Square

37 posts in this topic

I have no knowledge of this restaurant, other than from this review which was just brought to my attention.

About 1/3 of the way through the review, I made a mental note to go back and count the number of question marks after I finished reading it.

About 1/2 way through, I began skimming, dying to get to the end.

Then, when it came time to click on Page 2, I realized I was reading the New York Times.

Honestly, I thought I was reading the experimental work of an amateur blogger - someone playing for the very first time with the use of question marks as a rhetorical tactic.

I still haven't finished the piece.

Am I being too harsh here? I'm more than willing to give it another go, if someone tells me I'm misreading it.

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Am I being too harsh here? I'm more than willing to give it another go, if someone tells me I'm misreading it.

As shock is morphing into reality, I'm attempting to come to grips with this piece, and maybe after several readings, I'll become acclimated to it. I'm working on it and not just dismissing it, I promise. Regardless of the outcome (and I admit, I posted and tweeted very hastily), the restaurant sounds so bad that we may have reached new lows, courtesy of our friend, the television.

More importantly, did Green Acres really run for six seasons?

---

ETA - the beauty of the internet is being able to admit you're wrong in real-time. I was wrong. This review, while certainly over-the-top in its use of question marks, is a delicious trashing of what is almost surely a nightmare of a meal. My apologies, Pete Wells. All it took was a deep breath, a little patience, and some slack for the rhetoric - if any restaurant is deserving of a high-risk experiment in writing style, it sounds like Guy's American Kitchen & Bar is the one. Thank you for having the guts to write it.

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I haven't been to the place either, but if Mr. Fieri's TV show accurately reflects his approach toward food in general, then the review was perfectly calibrated to its subject.

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It's not a review. It's a trashing of Guy's restaurant. I can't stand Guy's tv persona, and I'm not surprised that his restaurant got trashed; however, it might do great business in Times Square. I believe there're quite a few chain restaurants thriving in Times Sq., catering to idiots.

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What I fail to see is why the NYT thought that it was a restaurant worthy of review. What's coming next, the trashing of the new Cheesecake Factory in Islip? That revamped Cracker Barrel just off of Exit 13 of the Jersey turnpike?

Restaurant reviews are about the art of food. Guy's is about the business. Guaranteed that this makes money (at least for a while, anyone remember the Supermodel Cafe?). It doesn't make him a good person or a bad person, just a person making a buck.

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What I fail to see is why the NYT thought that it was a restaurant worthy of review. What's coming next, the trashing of the new Cheesecake Factory in Islip?

Agreed. This review doesn't serve anybody, except for Mr. Wells' personal need to takedown an easy target -- while pandering to a demographic that would never eat there anyway.

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The Cheesesteak Factory doesn't have a face to attack, so this about Guy being an easy target. I don't know if there's anyone on an American cultural pedestal that the general public wouldn't find sport in taking down. That, and perhaps the place was really that awful.

If Rachael Ray opened a Yummo! anywhere, it would be the gift that keeps on giving for some food writers.

I enjoyed the piece and the evocative descriptions of the food and drink disguised as questions.

Is it serious writing? I don't know, but having watched "Triple D" many times, I can appreciate this query:

"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?"

Perhaps Mr. Wells has given his answer.

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I think the "review" makes sense, and succeeds at what looks to be its real purpose, which is not to review this particular place but to point out forcefully that "restaurants" created to slough off money based on celebrity are a poor representation of the restaurant genre and richly deserve opprobrium. Without doubt the real promoters behind the spot are from the fast money crowd, and Fieri's role is no more than lending his name, providing a few cutesy recipes and signature phrases, and collecting his royalty checks. Nobody involved has much if any interest in food quality. It is thus, IMO, a subject worthy of the NYT's attention, in the Food and Dining section. Not a restaurant review, but something else about our culture.

Fieri does have some reasonable food and restaurants creds, or at least did have once upon a time, but his persona has clearly become much more bound up with coolness and hipness, using food merely as a springboard to other ends. He even has served as the host on a game show, among his other food and non-food-based pursuits of the almighty dollar. More power to him. But Wells is perfectly entitled to point out the paucity of clothing worn by this particular emperor.

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The Cheesesteak Factory doesn't have a face to attack, so this about Guy being an easy target. I don't know if there's anyone on an American cultural pedestal that the general public wouldn't find sport in taking down. That, and perhaps the place was really that awful.

http://newyork.serio...html?ref=search

Basically—is Guy's American Kitchen and Bar better than the Cheesecake Factory?...What we found wasn't a disaster, per se. But if one turned up in a suburban mall next to a Cheesecake Factory... we'd send you to the Cheesecake Factory. Hands down. ... At Serious Eats, we try to appreciate restaurants on their own terms, by their own merits. Unfortunately, we found very little merit at Guy's American Kitchen and Bar.

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I think the "review" makes sense, and succeeds at what looks to be its real purpose, which is not to review this particular place but to point out forcefully that "restaurants" created to slough off money based on celebrity are a poor representation of the restaurant genre and richly deserve opprobrium. Without doubt the real promoters behind the spot are from the fast money crowd, and Fieri's role is no more than lending his name, providing a few cutesy recipes and signature phrases, and collecting his royalty checks. Nobody involved has much if any interest in food quality. It is thus, IMO, a subject worthy of the NYT's attention, in the Food and Dining section. Not a restaurant review, but something else about our culture.

Fieri does have some reasonable food and restaurants creds, or at least did have once upon a time, but his persona has clearly become much more bound up with coolness and hipness, using food merely as a springboard to other ends. He even has served as the host on a game show, among his other food and non-food-based pursuits of the almighty dollar. More power to him. But Wells is perfectly entitled to point out the paucity of clothing worn by this particular emperor.

This is a great post. One thing I've found is that if you (take the high road and) studiously ignore the idiots, they only grow louder.

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Ink in the NYT can do wonders for a restaurant (so can a visit from Guy and his cameras, but such is life). This much ink for a restaurant hit piece doesn't seem to do anyone any good. His groupies are still going to visit... haters gone hate and all that. Sysyco food, merch, name recognition, and house brewed beer should give the joint a fighting chance to stay afloat off the tourists. Everyone else will stay away.

I must be getting old. I'd rather see the column space be used for saying something nice about a deserving restaurant in a city full of them.

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While I can appreciate the literary tools used by Mr. Wells and the point he was trying to make - his main goal is to serve the readers by informing them of his opinion of a restaurant and why he feels that way. I, personally, had to force myself to get through the review - and by the end came away with more knowledge of the format of the piece than of the information contained therein. Most of this conversation isn't based on food or service, but about the writing itself (perfectly valid). It seems that, in doing so, Mr. Wells fell short of that goal of information.

Guy Fieri opened a bad restaurant and Pete Wells mocked him for it. I agree with ad.mich that I, as a reader, would have preferred to learn something new about a restaurant in a city that is filled with them.

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In general, I dislike the idea of telling critics what they should or should not review -- it's a bit like telling chefs what they should or should not cook.

In specific, I thought it was brilliant and far prefer reading it to yet another mediocre review of yet another trendy Manhattan establishment.

SERVICE The well-meaning staff seems to realize that this is not a real restaurant.

Very close to genius.

Slate likes it, too, but they wander a little too close to literary theory for my taste.

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I love this analysis of the review: http://everydayforever.org/2012/11/14/1048-words-about-pete-wells-and-guy-fieri/

Here's an excerpt:

what Pete isn’t saying in his review is what you might get on a surface read: “Ha ha, Obviously Shitty Restaurant is obviously shitty.” What he’s saying to Guy (and can we pause for a moment to acknowledge the rare successful deployment of the open-letter format in this review? If nothing else, Pete Wells, you are a champion for that) is hey, dude, no one is expecting Le Bernardin here. No one is even expecting Shake Shack. But Guy Fieri is the champion of the terrible-wonderful, he is the guy who lifted the veneer of shame from the chili-cheese-bacon-slaw-dog and taught us—not the “us” that is the five thousand of us who read food blogs and debate the relative merits of different types of hipster vermouth, but the “us” that is, like, actually everyone in America—that you can get your fix of soul-satisfying, sort of intimidating, deeply wonderful, calorically-dense, artery-freezing food without having to go to a soul-sucking chain restaurant.

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The Today Show says it will have Guy on this morning to defend his restaurant. Matt Lauer just said the segment will air in the 7:30 to 8 half hour, if anyone cares.

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The Today Show says it will have Guy on this morning to defend his restaurant. Matt Lauer just said the segment will air in the 7:30 to 8 half hour, if anyone cares.

I caught a short segment of it in the background which seemed to break down to: "mean, snobby writer trying to put down good ol' Guy for makin' food that regular folk want to eat".

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I remembering reading the Serious Eats review when it came out, and it killed any thought I might have that I'd want to go there, even if it was convenient. Looking at their Cheesecake Factory comment in light of the NY Post review that mentions how much worse it is than other chain restaurants near/in Times Square, it actually does seem that Pete Wells has done a public service for people looking to dine out in that area. Someone coming from whatever town that lady who wrote the Olive Garden review was from might decide to look elsewhere if reading that (and the other reviews). It's kind of sad to go to New York City and eat at Applebee's, but if it's that or Guy's, this would be good information to have.

My thought reading Wells was that it was a big: "Hel-lo? Are you there? Do you actually have anything to do with this restaurant other than lending your name and catch phrases?" It read like a letter to an absentee landlord.

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What I fail to see is why the NYT thought that it was a restaurant worthy of review.

Because it's a 500-seat restaurant, opened by a celebrity "chef," in the heart of Times Square?

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