Restaurateur and Food Channel host of Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, has taken to television to defend himself and his restaurant from a slew of bad reviews. In an appearance on The Today Show, the interviewer asked about negative reviews from other members of the press, and his Yelp average of 2.5 stars. Guy Fieri (who’s real name is Ferry), said “I’m doing the type of food America loves, and I’m doing it the right way”.
From Huffington Post: In his interview with Savannah Guthrie, [embedded below], Fieri offers three possible defenses for his restaurant. He says that the restaurant has only been open for two months and is still ironing out its kinks — OK, fair. He says that his restaurant is gigantic so it’s hard to ensure consistency while making all his menu items “by hand,” as he proudly announces his staff does. This is less sympathetic… if Fieri knew he wouldn’t be able to serve 500 people good food all at once, he probably shouldn’t have designed a restaurant that seats 500 people.
It should be noted that every major newspaper and magazine in NYC reviewed Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar before the scathing NY Times review that has brought so much attention from around the world.
I’ve noticed that the press seems to be cutting the time between a restaurant opening to review from 3-4 months, to two months (or even less). Mike Russell over at The Oregonian even pointed to a review on Yelp, for the new restaurant Trigger – which based on a pre-opening dinner – hardly fair.
It can be argued that a restaurant is taking your money from the first day they open, and the food should be up to standards from that day. Other people (and restaurant owners) argue that it takes at least three months to get the bugs out, and therefore a restaurant should not be reviewed until some time has passed.
Years ago I ran a poll asking this very question – How long should the press wait before a restaurant is reviewed. I’m going to run the same poll again, and see if there is a difference. You’ll find it on the home page of the website; if you have time, please take a moment and vote.
That Guy felt so threatened by the reviews he decided to do a live interview on The Today Show was gutsy, but I can’t help but wonder if this is all backfiring on him. It seems every major food blog and news site is now mentioning the review for a second time. If someone missed it the first time around, most likely they are aware of it now.
Based on other reviews of equally spectacular criticism, I can’t agree with Fieri that the Times writer had an agenda. Here are some excerpts from those reviews:
The Guy’s American Kitchen waitress studied the half-chewed pork, slaw, salmon, mashed potatoes and maybe moon rocks we’d left on our plates. 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.
“Would you like me to wrap that up for you?” she chirped.
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.
…a restaurant that would be indicted for crimes against humanity, if only that crime fell within the Department of Health’s purview.
…Guy Fieri is using patriotism as a Trojan Horse for his infectious and insidious garbage.
This Donkey Sauce presents a mystery to be unraveled. What could it be? (It involves mustard, mayo, Worcestershire, and garlic, apparently.) You could line up behind the tourists—who are indeed lined up—to experience it for yourself, of course. But Fieri’s craft is such that going to that length hardly seems necessary. Read it, eat it: The kick is the same.
Eater NY -
First up, the cocktail list, which is a glorious piece of white trash ephemera—a love letter to food coloring and sugar. 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.
Be it from the Donkey sauce, grease, Whiz-like cheese, or the oily spawn of this unholy orgy, my burger came out sopping wet. It isn’t horrible, though, and in a way reminds me of a Shake Shack burger. I don’t particularly care for the Donkey sauce, identifying me, in Guy’s words, as an ass (but you already know this).