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Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, Times Square

Times Square American Guy Fieri

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#1 DonRocks

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:42 PM

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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#2 DonRocks

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:54 PM

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?

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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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#3 ALB

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:16 PM

This review sounds like the writer was just so flabberghasted by the levels of bad, all he could say was "really?"

http://www.nbc.com/s...nd-amy/1173561/

#4 Banco

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:18 PM

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.

#5 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:58 PM

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.

#6 JPW

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

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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#7 will_5198

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:17 AM

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.

#8 monavano

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:42 AM

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.

#9 Mark Slater

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:51 AM

I have to say, the snark was delicious.

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#10 johnb

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:04 AM

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.

#11 thetrain

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 11:22 AM

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.



#12 DonRocks

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:22 PM

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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#13 ad.mich

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:58 PM

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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#14 genericeric

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 04:14 PM

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.

#15 dcs

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 04:38 PM

The New York Post posted this similarly unflattering review a month ago.

#16 Waitman

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 04:41 PM

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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#17 Lori Gardner

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 11:45 PM

I love this analysis of the review: http://everydayforev...-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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#18 dcs

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:10 AM

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.

#19 TedE

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:46 AM

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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#20 Tujague

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:25 AM

This should help Guy feel better about mean ol' Pete Wells.

"There's no need to get snippy. I'm just doing my job here."--Marge Gunderson, Fargo


#21 johnb

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:35 AM

Here is what the NYT itself (public editor) has to say about the review, and its place in the greater scheme of things.

#22 Pat

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:26 AM

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.

#23 dcs

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:17 PM

Weird that this has become an international news item.

#24 JuneBacon

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:49 PM

Weird that this has become an international news item.


Yeah, pretty sick of it at this point. And not a single party is really coming out in the negative. All this press is good press for everyone !

#25 weinoo

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:58 PM

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?

#26 weinoo

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:00 PM

And then, I went back to my post on eGullet 4 years ago, when he was on TNFNS - even then I knew he was a d-bag; now, it's only that much more obvious.

#27 Steve R.

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:48 PM

Even my wife (who'll humor me about my involvement with food boards, chefs, out of the way restaurants & weird eating habits, but wont read this stuff) was on the floor laughing at Wells' review. In my opinion, it was very well written and funny as hell.

As to the unfortunate subject matter of his creative writing, I bear no ill will to Guy F. and have watched his shows, which can sometimes be pretty good. But when a Food Channel celebrity lends his name to a 500 seat disaster of a place, it's not the same as a Cheesecake Factory or a Chevy's and he becomes a legit. target for critics. No one thinks he's in the kitchen, but folks have reason to believe that his cred will get them (at least) the kind of food expected from someone who talks about it night and day. Instead, it appears that the whole thing is run by Heartland Brewery (his "operations" controlling partner) and the food is worse than theirs.

Of course, as stated by others, in our world of "all publicity is good", the place will probably draw even more attention and business.... but that's life in the big city.

#28 hillvalley

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:21 AM

I have to say, the snark was delicious.


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#29 Pat

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:36 PM

This could have been funnier, but FWIW: a dress rehearsal sketch from this weekend's SNL that didn't make the air.

ETA: I see this is also posted on the other thread, but I guess I'll leave it here too, unless Don wants to delete it.

#30 Lori Gardner

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:57 PM

I thought the sketch could have been funnier- wonder if they pulled it because it wasn't funny enough or if they thought not enough people would get it. I've mentioned the NYT review in conversations with a number of people and about half aren't really sure who Guy Fieri is. I am shocked to learn that there are people who don't watch The Food Network.

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#31 Anna Blume

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:03 PM

Some of us recognize Guy Fieri even if we don't watch the Food Network. Here in the scriptorium, they prefer to read books to us out loud.

#32 DonRocks

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 02:52 PM

"How One Man Destroyed The Food Network: Guy Fieri Has Made Culinary TV Into A Viewer's Hell" by Farsh Askari on salon.com


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#33 will_5198

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 05:40 PM

 

Ironically lame and misguided attacks on Fieri, along with a big dose of fantasy portrayed as nostalgia. The author rails against Fieri's cholesterol-raising diner visits as an affront to American health...while pining for the serene, butter-and-cream cooking of Ina Garten.

 

I'm sure there's a good diatribe out there on the changes (for worse) made by Food Network, but this ain't it.


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#34 mtureck

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:39 PM

Ironically lame and misguided attacks on Fieri, along with a big dose of fantasy portrayed as nostalgia. The author rails against Fieri's cholesterol-raising diner visits as an affront to American health...while pining for the serene, butter-and-cream cooking of Ina Garten.

 

I'm sure there's a good diatribe out there on the changes (for worse) made by Food Network, but this ain't it.

 

Beat me to it...that was almost my exact reaction. The traditional cooking shows were on a decline long before Fieri showed up. And while his personality is often a turn off, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives showcases a huge variety of places, some healthy, some not, but almost all are small, family owned businesses that probably get a huge boost from being on TV. Might be repeating myself from a previous thread.

 

As for the Food Network, it reminds me of MTV, which started out playing music videos, and now is anything but. Maybe they need a Food Network 2, that just shows cooking shows full time.


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#35 zoramargolis

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 12:07 PM

As for the Food Network, it reminds me of MTV, which started out playing music videos, and now is anything but. Maybe they need a Food Network 2, that just shows cooking shows full time.

 

They do: it's called The Cooking Channel.


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#36 Pat

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 12:39 PM

 

A response to the contrary, also from Salon.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Times Square, American, Guy Fieri

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