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Hilarious: Pete Wells on Guy Fieri, NYT

babette feasts Nov 13, 2012 08:28 PM

Hilarious, awesome scathing review in today's NYT.


"Is the entire restaurant a very expensive piece of conceptual art? Is the shapeless, structureless baked alaska that droops and slumps and collapses while you eat it, or don’t eat it, supposed to be a representation in sugar and eggs of the experience of going insane? "

  1. chowdom Nov 29, 2012 01:21 PM


    3 Replies
    1. re: chowdom
      The Dairy Queen Nov 29, 2012 02:09 PM

      That was kind of sweet, actually.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen
        Ruth Lafler Nov 29, 2012 05:31 PM

        It's interesting that for all his bluster about Wells having an agenda, Fieri's been working to address the problems. Even though I don't like his style, I have to give him kudos for that!

      2. re: chowdom
        GraydonCarter Dec 9, 2012 01:34 PM

        Based on the amount of explanation and apology from the manager, it sounds to me like these two girls were not anonymous, but walked in announcing they were reviewers from The Times.

      3. l
        Lizard Nov 29, 2012 10:51 AM

        Although unaired, an SNL bit with Fieri responding to the review is making its way around the intertubes. Here it is: http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-liv...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lizard
          chowdom Nov 29, 2012 12:03 PM

          That was great...thanks

        2. MGZ Nov 26, 2012 09:54 AM


          1 Reply
          1. re: MGZ
            The Dairy Queen Nov 26, 2012 10:09 AM

            Interesting, thank you linking that. Funnily enough, when I read the Sullivan piece, reading between the lines, I got the sense she didn't think Wells piece was all that well-written compared to the classic take-downs she cited. I continue to think the NYT doth protest too much regarding what kind of review Wells intended to write when he sought out Fieri's restaurant. "We can only guess. Sullivan also tells us that Wells went in wanting to write a pro-Fieri review, despite knowing exactly what kind of restaurant he was getting himself into."


          2. j
            jhopp217 Nov 22, 2012 03:24 AM

            I was the second to comment and now see there are 249 comments, so excuse me if this has been repeated, but I heard Guy's retort was to say "How can someone go to a restaurant four times and not have anything good?" That was the best Fieri could come up with? I've been to many places multiple times and never once had anything to write home about. I have a feeling Guy knows Wells is "on the money" and is just trying to pick up the pieces. That being said, Wells article might very well have helped Guy. Didn't this happen recently on something silly like Yelp, where a customer wrote a review so bad that it drew media attention and the next thing the owner knew he was turning people away. Guy's a good person and I hope he succeeds, but for the prices he's charging that food better be, as he likes to say, ON Point!

            3 Replies
            1. re: jhopp217
              Puffin3 Nov 23, 2012 07:21 AM

              Well it ain't according to those who have eaten there. GF is heading towards that great food show celebrity pasture in the sky. Very few 'foodie shows' that are not about actual food preparation by a real chef/cook last too long. IMO in the end most people want to watch good food prepared by competent people. Everything else is just fluff. I'd put DDD's in that category.

              1. re: Puffin3
                drongo Nov 25, 2012 01:53 PM

                Yet DDD has lasted for 144 episodes over 13 "seasons" (more than 1 "season" per year, admittedly) with the 14th season already in the works. So it's already lasted "too long", lol.

                1. re: Puffin3
                  dondcook Nov 26, 2012 06:30 AM

                  Maybe he needs to have his son go and manage the restaurant for him. I don't dislike "DDD" but I tired of watching it because they have so many shows. However I do enjoy his "Guy's Big Bite" which has been on since 2006 were he frequently has his sons and nephew help prep.

              2. EWSflash Nov 21, 2012 04:24 PM


                1. p
                  Puffin3 Nov 21, 2012 07:39 AM

                  Please someone get A.A. Gill at Vanity Fair to review GF's latest abomination. Now that there would be funny.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Puffin3
                    Withnail42 Nov 22, 2012 10:50 AM

                    That would be a good read!

                  2. Ruth Lafler Nov 20, 2012 02:54 PM

                    I'm pretty sure Guy Fieri knows this is the best thing that could have happened. If he'd gotten an ordinary "meh" review no one would have paid attention. Instead, the story went viral, he got invited by all kinds of media outlets to talk about it -- and by the way plug his restaurants and TV shows -- and people who never would have set foot in there are motivated to go and see if it's really hilariously awful. There's a lot to be said for something that's so bad it's good!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      JAB Nov 20, 2012 05:10 PM

                      " There's a lot to be said for something that's so bad it's good!"

                      I didn't think that would ever be used when talking about food.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        The Dairy Queen Nov 21, 2012 12:28 AM

                        My husband, a NYT subscriber, found the Wells review while reading the paper over lunch (as he always does) and has already informed me he'd like to go when we're next in NY. :( Prior to this review, we were not even aware that Fieri had opened a restaurant in NY.


                      2. s
                        sandylc Nov 20, 2012 09:28 AM

                        I strongly suspect that Guy Fieri belings to a group of people who, after graduating from a college or technical school in something like H&R, become restauranteurs. These folks know how to run a food assembly and service business yet often are not knowledgible about or inspired by the actual food.

                        19 Replies
                        1. re: sandylc
                          mcf Nov 20, 2012 12:21 PM

                          I didn't watch his season, but he did win a cooking contest to get his show.

                          1. re: mcf
                            Ruth Lafler Nov 20, 2012 12:49 PM

                            The Next Food Network Star is only partly a cooking competition. It's more about whether you can put your dish together in front of the camera while talking coherently and about developing and expressing your persona. I can't remember whether the judges even taste the food.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                              Withnail42 Nov 20, 2012 01:33 PM

                              I've always thought of it as a bunch of people competing against the person/predetermined winner that FN has decided will best fill whatever niche they fixated on.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                huiray Nov 20, 2012 01:51 PM

                                They go through the motions with sampling the food. The most important thing that Kermit & Medusa appear to look for (after "TV Presence") is a PERSONAL STORY - sob sob story, how you clawed your way out of poverty, your dying mama and the INSPIRATION you got from watching her die, how you were a junkie and SURMOUNTED your PERSONAL travails, etc etc. That sort of stuff. They want to KNOW ABOUT YOU. If you can make Medusa cry you have a definite leg up.

                                1. re: huiray
                                  sandylc Nov 20, 2012 02:02 PM

                                  Boy, I'm with you here, huiray....that whole PERSONAL STORY crap irritated the s*it out me.

                                  1. re: sandylc
                                    mcf Nov 20, 2012 03:25 PM

                                    I don't like it either.

                                  2. re: huiray
                                    Ruth Lafler Nov 20, 2012 02:13 PM

                                    But since the point is not to determine the best cook, but to determine the best TV personality, that's what's important. After all, no one is ever going to eat anything these people prepare -- it's all about delivering eyeballs to the advertisers. In that sense, Guy Fieri has been the poster child for TNFNS.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                      huiray Nov 20, 2012 02:17 PM

                                      Quite true. Which reinforces the notion that the FN and TNFNS (and by extension Fieri) isn't really about good food per se anymore. (...and I certainly would not begrudge anyone who takes them - and their favorite representatives - to task over it)

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                        mcf Nov 20, 2012 03:24 PM

                                        In your opinion, of course, but that goes without saying, after all. Clearly, they're hiring an on camera person and those qualities matter, but the food has to appeal to the judges and the viewers as well.

                                        1. re: mcf
                                          Ruth Lafler Nov 20, 2012 05:07 PM

                                          Not really. Fieri doesn't cook on his shows. The *recipes* need to appeal to the viewers, but those can be developed by production assistants who do most of the prep work as well. And anyway, they just have to be able to cook as well as the average home cook, and if they botch the dish no one will know, since they can't taste it and if it's really bad they can do re-takes.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                            mcf Nov 20, 2012 05:43 PM

                                            I was talking about winning the competition.

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              Ruth Lafler Nov 20, 2012 05:53 PM

                                              I haven't watched it often, but I don't think how the food tastes is a very important criterion for the reasons I gave: Food Network "Stars" don't actually have to cook very well.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                mcf Nov 21, 2012 07:08 AM

                                                Having watched quite a lot of it, the quality of food on the plate has always been very important in the judging, even though the best cook, if not an appealing character, may not win if another excellent cook is better on camera.

                                                1. re: mcf
                                                  huiray Nov 21, 2012 08:05 AM

                                                  I think Giada de Laurentiis actually said somewhere that it doesn't matter too much if you can't cook, they'll TEACH you how - but you NEED to have a great TV personality and camera presence - i.e. THAT is far more important.

                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                    mcf Nov 21, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                    I thought the opposite was stated at times, too. That people had to want to make your food, and that on camera skills can be taught. Not to a completely unappealing candidate but to one who needs teaching, the way Aaron McCargo did, IIRC.

                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                              dondcook Nov 21, 2012 07:39 AM

                                              Guy doesn't cook on triple D he does on hos other shows.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                EWSflash Nov 21, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                He does (or did) on his cooking show. Don't know if it's still being filmed, but it wasn't a bad cooking show except for the horrendously tasteless kitchen he filmed it in. Kind of a NASCAR & testoterone version of Nadia G's.

                                                1. re: EWSflash
                                                  sandylc Nov 21, 2012 04:57 PM

                                                  The cocktails on that show were Sandra Lee-esque. All flavored- and sugared-up.

                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                          mcf Nov 20, 2012 03:24 PM

                                          They always taste the food, always have.

                                    2. b
                                      Brad Ballinger Nov 20, 2012 06:16 AM

                                      Below is a link to a column from today's Twin Cities Star Tribune. David Page, producer of the first several seasons of DDD, and Twin Citites native, is quoted. Granted, there's no love lost between Page and Fieri. So his motivation for commenting is certainly what it is. But I don't think any of his comments amount to lying. http://www.startribune.com/entertainm...

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Brad Ballinger
                                        huiray Nov 20, 2012 06:51 AM

                                        "...and they said they couldn't because the sandwich came pre-made with the grill marks already pressed into them." --- Regarding what Page ordered at one of Fieri's places in California. Heh. HEH.

                                        1. re: huiray
                                          Brad Ballinger Nov 20, 2012 07:50 AM

                                          And they made him pay for it!

                                        2. re: Brad Ballinger
                                          The Dairy Queen Nov 20, 2012 10:54 AM

                                          HAHA! You gotta love C.J. (the gossip/social columnist) for getting out there and getting a quote. I sure wish I knew what the terms of the Page/Fieri settlement were. Confidential, I suppose?


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                            Ruth Lafler Nov 20, 2012 12:47 PM


                                        3. f
                                          Fydeaux Nov 19, 2012 10:43 AM

                                          Can someone PLEASE explain the Calvin Trillin slam to me? Does Wells have some kind of jones with Trillin that we who dont regularly read the NYT would not know of?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Fydeaux
                                            pickypicky Nov 19, 2012 04:15 PM

                                            I don't read the sentence as a slam of Trillin at all, but rather another sly slap of Fieri.

                                            "Has anyone ever told you that your high-wattage passion for no-collar American food makes you television’s answer to Calvin Trillin, if Mr. Trillin bleached his hair, drove a Camaro and drank Boozy Creamsicles? "

                                            Very cleverly, Wells starts the sentence comparing Fieri to journalist Trillin (the guy who found his backstreet diners on his own and wrote brilliantly about the adventure of American food), and then twists the sentence to say that -- oh, but! by the way, hero Trillin is a real person of skill and talent while Fieri is just a crazy construct of attention-seekingness. All of this by beautiful implication. It's a sharp, very smart review, imo.

                                            1. re: pickypicky
                                              Justpaula Nov 19, 2012 07:59 PM

                                              I see that "dig" towards Trillin (I do not see it as such), as some sort of wink to, well, pretty much everyone who had commented on this thread. His, "hey, I knew what to expect going in to your place, Guy, but just in case some of my readers are confused as to why, I will mention Calvin Trillin".

                                              1. re: Justpaula
                                                Fydeaux Nov 20, 2012 06:20 AM

                                                OK, I'll accept your's and Pickypicky's explanation.

                                                I guess Mr Wells' writing is just too subtle for me. (^_^)

                                                1. re: Fydeaux
                                                  pickypicky Nov 20, 2012 11:37 AM

                                                  Hey! You get points for picking up Trillin's name!

                                          2. s
                                            sandylc Nov 19, 2012 10:35 AM

                                            I watched a video of Guy's Today Show response. He does an excellent job of damage control, FWIW. Appears much more intelligent than I had perceived him to be previously.

                                            23 Replies
                                            1. re: sandylc
                                              RUK Nov 19, 2012 03:48 PM

                                              I agree with you!
                                              I actually saw that interview, since I do watch NBC in the morning. I now watched the clip again and in all fairness, GF does have a point when he said that Wells had eaten at his place 4 times and wonders about his agenda. If I were to have eaten such crummy food, I would surely not return at all. Wells obviously planned his scathing review very carefully.
                                              Btw I didn't see anything wrong with someone giving the guy some sort of platform to respond. I would consider that a measure of fairness!
                                              I should mention that I am certainly not a GF fan whatsoever!! Btw did I mention fairness?

                                              1. re: RUK
                                                LindaWhit Nov 19, 2012 04:03 PM

                                                "GF does have a point when he said that Wells had eaten at his place 4 times and wonders about his agenda. If I were to have eaten such crummy food, I would surely not return at all."
                                                Wait - isn't that what ALL restaurant reviewers do? They dine at the same restaurant over a period of several weeks, eating different meals so they get a good overall view of what the place is like on different days, with different waitstaff, etc., so they can be sure they didn't just show up on a single bad day. So why would Pete Wells do anything different for this review?

                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                  RUK Nov 19, 2012 04:08 PM

                                                  I guess, that is one for you then, Linda! :-)

                                                  edited to add - perhaps this one is more fun, Louis de Funes as restaurant critic.....

                                                2. re: RUK
                                                  sandylc Nov 19, 2012 04:06 PM

                                                  Uh, I didn't say GF had points....I just said that he did a good job of damage control....I didn't necessarily agree with him.

                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                    RUK Nov 19, 2012 04:30 PM

                                                    And I said, I am not a fan of Guy Fieri!

                                                  2. re: RUK
                                                    donovt Nov 19, 2012 04:08 PM

                                                    Of course he ate there four times. Any decent reviewer will have multiple meals before writing the review.

                                                    1. re: RUK
                                                      huiray Nov 19, 2012 04:12 PM

                                                      Serious food reviewers (such as Wells is) DO NOT write reviews of restaurants without multiple visits to the place. They simply do not, unlike amateurs (like Yelpers and, I daresay, even CHers) who pronounce judgement after a single visit. So the statement " GF does have a point when he said that Wells had eaten at his place 4 times and wonders about his agenda." is without merit. You, personally, may not return to a restaurant after a single bad meal, but serious reviewers will - nay, *have to*.

                                                      You seem to be very concerned about fairness. Well, it has been remarked that the Today Show was anything but fair. They devoted all their attention to him and did not even bother seeking out any other food writer or reviewer (other than Wells) to provide any sort of balance. Did you see this post of mine upthread linking to a critique of what the Today Show was doing? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/877562#7719126

                                                      "Wells obviously planned his scathing review very carefully"
                                                      --- What do you base that conclusion on? Have you read the interview where Wells explains how the review came about? http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/me...

                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                        RUK Nov 19, 2012 04:32 PM

                                                        Yes, I read your lovely post, including the link.

                                                        partially edited....

                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                          linus Nov 19, 2012 04:50 PM

                                                          wait...you mean you have to base a conclusion on something?


                                                          1. re: linus
                                                            huiray Nov 19, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                            Normally one does, yes... :-)

                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                              Ruth Lafler Nov 19, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                              Unfortunately, there are huge segments of the population who base their conclusions on either a belief or an ideology. Facts, how quaint!

                                                          2. re: huiray
                                                            babette feasts Nov 19, 2012 10:30 PM

                                                            "if Wells’ impressions of the food are right — I haven’t eaten at the restaurant — it’s not that Fieri is serving an unworthy, declassé kind of food. It’s that he’s taken the kind of authentic, lusty American foods that he’s showcased in his Food Network eating tours, used it to build a personal brand and used that brand to pass off a lousy imitation."

                                                            This. The greedy hollowness of it all.

                                                            1. re: babette feasts
                                                              huiray Nov 20, 2012 05:21 AM

                                                              Did you read this embedded link to Helen Rosner's article within that Poynter interview (by MJ Tenore, of P Wells) just above the citation of Poniewozik that you in turn cited?
                                                              Here it is: http://everydayforever.org/2012/11/14...

                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                babette feasts Nov 20, 2012 06:28 PM

                                                                Yes, very well said.

                                                                I think I actually find both sides of the story equally schadenfreude-inducing. Guy being taken down, and the thought of Pete Wells having to suffer through such wretched dining experiences.

                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                  pickypicky Nov 20, 2012 06:52 PM

                                                                  The only thing I will question about the excellent essay you posted is this: does Guy Fieri actually do anything? I've never seen his show, but I assume he only goes to places his staff finds. Did he have the passion Trillin did for the places Trillin ferreted out on his own with no production staff? Or is Fieri's show just a gimmick with Fieri's appearance or manner or phrase-making part of the gimmick? Trillin is a smart man. He'd never open a restaurant because he's eaten in so many, he knows how hard it is to make a good one. But doesn't everyone now believe he or she can run a great restaurant? Isn't all you need a concept and money?

                                                                  1. re: pickypicky
                                                                    The Dairy Queen Nov 21, 2012 12:26 AM

                                                                    All of the legwork for the show is done by the DDD staff. Fieri just shows up and does his thing. He has become a caricature of himself.

                                                                    Because Page is located in MN, Minnesota establishments have been disproportionately featured and we do watch the Twin Cities episodes when they are on because I think it's fun to get a behind the scene glimpse of these places, but I can barely stand to watch.



                                                            2. re: RUK
                                                              Ruth Lafler Nov 19, 2012 04:17 PM

                                                              It's standard practice for a reviewer to make multiple visits before writing a review in order to try more of the menu and to evaluate the restaurant's consistency. I think three visits is the norm for professional reviewers (not bloggers and yelpers, who often form their opinions based on whether the cute hostess smiled at them!). Since this place has such a huge menu, maybe he thought a fourth visit was necessary to evaluate enough of the food, or perhaps after three visits he decided to take one more look before writing such a scathing review.

                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                RUK Nov 19, 2012 04:30 PM

                                                                I didn't realize that, my mistake. I already said so above to Linda Whit!

                                                                1. re: RUK
                                                                  Ruth Lafler Nov 19, 2012 04:54 PM

                                                                  LOL. Five of us posted the pretty much the same thing at the same time!

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                    RUK Nov 19, 2012 06:42 PM

                                                                    Yes, indeed.

                                                                    Obviously I was incorrect regarding the job of a restaurant critic, I will certainly think twice before I jump into this lion's den again.
                                                                    Carry on.

                                                                    1. re: RUK
                                                                      Ruth Lafler Nov 19, 2012 07:39 PM

                                                                      That's okay -- apparently Guy Fieri is unaware of professional reviewing practices as well if he's making a big deal about the four visits.

                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                      LindaWhit Nov 19, 2012 07:31 PM

                                                                      I win. :-)

                                                              2. re: sandylc
                                                                Withnail42 Nov 20, 2012 12:16 PM

                                                                I met Guy once, socially, years ago. (ironically in NYC close to Times Square.) He had won the food network competition but had not yet had a show. We had a nice chat for about ten or fifteen minutes.

                                                                I found him to be thoughtful and intelligent and could not have been nicer. He did seem to know his stuff when it came to food.

                                                              3. Withnail42 Nov 19, 2012 07:42 AM

                                                                What gets me is how much time the Today show devoted to this. They sent Savannah Gutherie(sp) down there to talk to Guy with Matt involved back at the studio.

                                                                Later they brought in Guy to be part of ta panel discussion. With Dr. Phil 'analyzing' Pete Wells. The whole time everyone was kissing Guy back side.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Withnail42
                                                                  huiray Nov 19, 2012 08:26 AM


                                                                  I never thought much of the "Today Show" - if I even watched it at all - and I think even less of it now and of msnbc as well.

                                                                  1. re: Withnail42
                                                                    Phoebe Nov 19, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                                    NBC has an affiliation with Guy Fieri. He used to host a game show on their network called "Minute To Win It". It didn't last long and was cancelled. Repeats are now being shown on the Game Show Network.

                                                                    1. re: Phoebe
                                                                      MGZ Nov 19, 2012 11:26 AM

                                                                      Regardless of any relationship with any network, the restaurant appears to have one of the most massive marketing/PR budgets, for a non-chain restaurant, in history. I saw Guy on CBS's morning show (which is certainly a bit more newsy than the Today Show) prior to the Storm. That's about a month ago. He was defending negative reviews then. Let's be honest, there's an a*sload of money behind the place. The food, by unchallenged concensus, sucks, and they have paid to get airtime to try and keep the ball in the air before the most common of NY visitors walk past it to wait in line at the Olive Garden.

                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                        Withnail42 Nov 20, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                                        Actually now that I think of it he did the CBS show a day or so later.

                                                                        I had forgotten about his game show.

                                                                        1. re: Withnail42
                                                                          MGZ Nov 20, 2012 10:10 AM

                                                                          After the Wells review was the second time that he was on the CBS show.

                                                                  2. The Chowhound Team Nov 19, 2012 07:33 AM

                                                                    Folks, just a reminder that we're here to talk about Pete Well's opinion about a restaurant, rather than to talk about our fellow hounds. It's fine to discuss the article, talk about the author's motivations, etc, but when you're getting into nitpicking each other and questioning your fellow hounds' motivations or right to post, you're getting off-topic for Chowhound. If you truly believe something is inappropriate for the site and against our rules, please use report to bring it to our attention, but please don't publicly tell someone that they can't or shouldn't post something.

                                                                    Our guidelines for discussing food TV ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/334317 ) say this:

                                                                    Please keep your comments focused on the show and avoid discussing the discussion, or psychoanalyzing your fellow hounds. The conversation tends to go downhill as soon as hounds start making comments that are about their fellow hounds rather than about the show.

                                                                    And the principal behind those guidelines apply to all discussions on this board.

                                                                    1. b
                                                                      Bkeats Nov 18, 2012 11:25 AM

                                                                      Long thread that took me a while to read through. I work not too far from this place. I have no doubt that plenty of tourists in Times Square will go here and eat. Whether its a success is another question. The Olive Garden packs people in but the ESPN Zone has closed. Could go either way.

                                                                      I get the idea that a lot of the commenters here are not regular readers of the NYT. If you have been reading the paper as long as I have, you will know that this isn't the first "mean" review. If a place is bad, the critics over the years have had no problem bashing it. Sam Sifton was pretty good with satire when needed. As to reviewing chains, Pete Wells reviewed the Shake Shack a few months back. Gave it a one star review. Now there was a review that I said really, do we need a review of SS? What's next? Five guys?

                                                                      1. The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 05:05 PM

                                                                        The L.A. Times cracks me up: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...


                                                                        1. The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                                          How big is a 500 seat restaurant, by the way? Can someone name another one, just for comparison sake? It sounds absolutely gargantuan.


                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                            roxlet Nov 17, 2012 05:13 PM

                                                                            It's huge. Places like that scare me. I guess it would be most comparable to a banquet or ballroom where you might have a very large charity event or wedding. 500 seats is a lot, no doubt.

                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                              The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 05:31 PM

                                                                              I'm imaging one of those huge, multi-level dim sum houses. It sounds like a tremendous undertaking. I wonder what made Fieri think he could pull off something on this scale.


                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                roxlet Nov 17, 2012 06:08 PM

                                                                                Well, I doubt that he has much to do with that aspect of it.

                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                  linus Nov 17, 2012 09:56 PM

                                                                                  i guess it's how you define "pull this off." i don't recall from the article how crowded the restaurant was when wells reviewed it.
                                                                                  i think the crowds, or lack thereof, may guide us in determining whether or not he's "pulling this off."
                                                                                  of course, if we're talking on a strictly culinary level, that's a different question.

                                                                            2. salvati Nov 17, 2012 01:46 PM

                                                                              You don't even have to go to Guy Fieri's 500 seat theme park in the restaurant wasteland that is Times Square and you pretty much know what you are in for. This was a no-brainer; a predictable review in every way. Was there a point? People eat at Red Lobster, Olive Garden, TGIFridays, Applebee's and they will continue to eat those places. Who am In(or anyone else) to begrudge them their pleasures?

                                                                              1. b
                                                                                burgeoningfoodie Nov 17, 2012 12:12 PM

                                                                                Can someone tell me if he gets to choose the restaurant or if his superior assigns it?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Nov 17, 2012 03:30 PM

                                                                                  the editor decides, not the reviewer.

                                                                                2. p
                                                                                  pickypicky Nov 17, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                                                  Wells' review is a moral imperative. It hits a much larger issue and one that needs to be addressed: Concept Restaurants which are more about marketing and ideas than food yet present themselves as "authentic dining experiences." We suffer from that in San Diego with the Malarkey guy and his chain of PR, self-promoting outlets of food distribution.

                                                                                  For Fieri to say that he celebrates American food is like a porn maker or pimp saying they celebrate women. Wells just calls him on it.

                                                                                  1. The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                                    Here's what I don't get, Wells primary objection to the Roasted Pork Bahn (sic) Mi (aside from the spelling error, which I didn't notice until I read Wells twitter feed) was that it didn't "resemble" a pork banh mi. Wells described it thusly:

                                                                                    "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?"

                                                                                    But, what kind of banh mi does one expect to get in a restaurant called Guy's American Kitchen & Bar? Soy, pork, and cucumbers actually are typical banh mi ingredients. It sounds like an adequate Americanized rendition to me. It certainly at least "resembles" a banh mi. Sure, the cabbage is a little unusual, but it's not that far afield as Vietnamese cooking is all about crispy, fresh vegetables.

                                                                                    What's even weirder is that this (paraphrased) is the description of the sandwich from the online menu: "rotisserie roasted pork, honey-soy glaze, pickled carrots and radish, cucumber ribbons, cilantro, and house made mayo" That REALLY resembles a banh mi sandwich with the possible exception that there are no jalapeno peppers.

                                                                                    I suppose it's possible, that the sandwich was changed after Wells visit to be more banh mi like, but I suspect it wasn't changed after the review, or, presumably, they would have corrected the spelling.

                                                                                    But, the menu makes no mention of cabbage at all. Did Wells get it wrong? Because he didn't complain that the menu described the sandwich inaccurately, just that it didn't "resemble" a banh mi (which I think it does based on either Wells or the menu's description.) Maybe the bread was terribly wrong, but we'll never know since neither the menu nor Wells describes it.

                                                                                    Finally, how does this sandwich taste? Is it any good? If it's one of the best things Wells ate, couldn't he have at least given us a little more info about it? Was he so (pre) determined to dump on Fieri he wasn't even willing to adequately report on one of the apparent highlights?


                                                                                    1. Tripeler Nov 16, 2012 05:54 PM

                                                                                      The reason the Wells review captured so much attention is the same reason why commercial Pro Wrestling always has an audience -- so many spectators love to see someone ELSE getting beat up. The fact that Fieri is so flamboyant and visible is more icing on the cake. I think Bourdain summed it up best by calling the place a Terror Dome and left it at that. In any case, Fieri will survive and perhaps get a fair measure of sympathy from the review.

                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Tripeler
                                                                                        hal2010 Nov 16, 2012 08:42 PM

                                                                                        The place will always be packed with tourists who want to eat at the place owned by that guy on TV. The restaurant is not there to present great food, but rather to capitalize on celebrity.

                                                                                        1. re: hal2010
                                                                                          TrishUntrapped Nov 17, 2012 06:13 AM

                                                                                          Remember Rocco's? From the reality TV show The Restaurant? ALL that publicity.
                                                                                          Done and gone.

                                                                                          If Guy's place is going to thrive he needs to fix his menu and service. All the reviews, not just from Wells, have been uniformly poor.

                                                                                          1. re: hal2010
                                                                                            MGZ Nov 17, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                                                            Do you really think that when the publicity machine invited every publication in The City to eat at and review Guy's new - non-chain - restaurant, they were hoping for a dozen or more "Holy sh*t this place sucks even more than I thought it possibly could suck" reviews? Everybody needs to accept the fact that Wells's review got so much traction because it was well-written and sincerely funny - not to mention the fact that the food clearly sucks.* Otherwise, shouldn't there be at least a few threads explaining why the folks at Time Out New York, New York, the Daily News, etc. had no right to say Fieri's food is lousy?

                                                                                            Just out of curiosity, how many other 'hounds read the NY Times every day? Personally, I look forward to every Tuesday morning when the "Dining & Wine" section of the online paper adds a lot of content. Wells, Sifton, Bittman, Clark, even Bruni sometimes are a welcome part of my morning tea. Honestly, on this Site, we should really be talking about Pepin's Steamed Turkey - that's been the coolest thing the Times put forth this week:




                                                                                            *I mean, think about it, have you ever seen Fieri take a bite out of something in a place he visits and say "Wow, Dude - that's really vile!"? Seriously, don't you sometimes need to be honest about the fact that some of the Dives serve crap? I realized after a few episodes that DD&D was really a promotional commercial. I wouldn't be surprised if the featured places solicit, or even pay, to be considered. I raised this basic question on my local board over the summer:


                                                                                            1. re: MGZ
                                                                                              The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 06:55 AM

                                                                                              I do. Some of us Midwestern rubes, you know, we the unwashed masses who relish dining at a restaurant in Times Square, are actual subscribers.

                                                                                              My husband does, too, and actually sent me a link to the review while reading the Times over lunch, which is what he does with his spare time instead of hoovering up social media.


                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                MGZ Nov 17, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                                                                "We . . . relish dining at a restaurant in Times Square . . . ."

                                                                                                So we can all understand. You're 'hounds who subscribe to the NY Times, read the Dining & Wine section and "relish" eating in Times Square when you make it to The City? Honestly? That just seems so wholly contradictory.

                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                  huiray Nov 17, 2012 08:08 AM

                                                                                                  I also subscribe to the NYT (7 days a week) and have done so for years. I don't see what is so fanciful about what TDQ says - even if I don't particularly yearn to dine in a Times Square restaurant but at the same time don't see it as such an evil as some of you (who doubtless only dine at Le Bernardin or Per Se) do.

                                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                                                                    You know, I'm a chowhound, but I'm also a wife, a mother, an employee, and a co-worker. If I'm visiting New York, there are a myriad of reasons I might end up at a place such as Guy's American. Maybe we're doing touristy things near Times Square and I need to find a place I can take my kid and get seated RIGHT NOW, rather than wandering around in search of some obscure hole-in-the -wall Chowhound-approved place with a just a few seats, a teensy questionable bathroom, and that accepts only cash. Or, we want to visit a place we read about in the NYT and just have to see for ourselves what donkey sauce is. Or a co-worker drags us there thinking is the sort of place Midwesterners like. Or my husband really wants to try it. Or, I'm a client of the NYT and they extend an invitation to a gathering for 200 they are hosting that I'm not in a position to decline. Or whatever.

                                                                                                    P.S. we'd be completely turned off by the prices, by the way. $16 for a banh mi sandwich? If the menu were posted at the door, we might move on in search of a better value.


                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                      FattyDumplin Nov 17, 2012 02:38 PM

                                                                                                      Totally agree. Well stated.

                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                        roxlet Nov 17, 2012 04:48 PM

                                                                                                        Lol, but I live in NY, and TDQ, I can't remember the last time I dined in a NYC restaurant with a teensy, questionable bathroom. Now, Paris is a different story! And searching for obscure holes-in-the-walls is made a lot easier by the way NYC is laid out in a grid. I'd avoid my long-time home, the West Village, Soho, Tribeca and other downtown neighborhoods that do have hard-to-find locations. These days, almost every phone has GPS, which makes searching for obscure locations a lot less of a problem. But if you are in Times Square and looking for a place to eat, just walk one more block west to 9th Avenue, and I'm sure you'll find better food and a better value at many spots there than anything Mr. Fieri has on offer!

                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                          salvati Nov 17, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                          Agreed with that and much more worthy of ink in the NYTImes than a theme park of a restaurant that really had no chance to be anything else.

                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                                                                            Well, my standards for restaurant bathrooms have changed now that I have a toddler (thinking in particular of several in Minneapolis St. Paul that require you to descend a steep flight of dark, narrow stairs; don't have changing tables or have them, but have them awkwardly located; etc.) but I haven't been to NYC since I've had a toddler. But, I do understand your point. (And am glad to hear it!)

                                                                                                            My point still stands, though, that there are many reasons a person might end up at such a restaurant.

                                                                                                            I don't own a smart-phone, by the way.


                                                                                                      2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                        The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 09:23 AM

                                                                                                        Yes, that's my point. We're not all unwashed rubes who relish dining at a restaurant in Times Square. And, apparently, Times Square restaurants aren't only for tourists, as the NYT itself hosted a dinner for 200 at Guy's just this past week (ironically, the day Wells review was published.)

                                                                                                        Unfortunately, Pete Wells, in his supposed defense of the food that middle America loves so much, hasn't done me (or any of his other readers, unfortunately) any favors, personally. As I mentioned, my husband, a daily reader of the NYT was previously unaware that Fieri opened a restaurant in Times Square. Now he's aware of it and wants to check it out because he just has to see the spectacle for himself. And, unfortunately, Wells review was so full of bile and hyperbole, he didn't get around to letting us know (aside from the banh mi whose apparent crime was that it didn't adequately resemble a banh mi for reasons undislosed) what the OTHER decent items on the menu were. There were at least "a few that can be eaten without fear or regret", but Wells didn't bother to let us know what they were. I guess there was no room in his spitteful rant piece for anything remotely favorable.

                                                                                                        I guess I'll have to order the offensively un-banh-mi'ish banh mi, or take my chances with the complete unknown.


                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                          piccola Nov 17, 2012 05:24 PM

                                                                                                          There's a couple safe bets listed in the sidebar with the hours, address, etc.

                                                                                                          1. re: piccola
                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Nov 17, 2012 05:28 PM

                                                                                                            Thank you. I have since noticed that (and corrected my error somewhere below).


                                                                                              2. s
                                                                                                sedimental Nov 16, 2012 04:06 PM

                                                                                                Wow, some people really get worked up over chain restaurants and celebrity chefs here, lol.

                                                                                                I guess this one touches close to being both!

                                                                                                1. The Chowhound Team Nov 16, 2012 01:44 PM

                                                                                                  Folks, as always, please try to keep your posts focused on the subject under discussion, and away from discussing your fellow hounds and their motivations for posting. If you're getting into how and why your fellow hounds have posted, instead of talking about the subject itself, it's no longer on topic.

                                                                                                  1. c
                                                                                                    cheesemaestro Nov 16, 2012 08:25 AM

                                                                                                    It takes chutzpah to open a place that seats 500 and make it work. Who else does that successfully? It's no wonder that the food and service suffer. No thanks, but I won't be visiting this palace of pabulum any time soon.

                                                                                                    The review is a great piece and really funny. Pete Wells' decision to write it in the second person, making Fieri himself, rather than the restaurant, the ultimate target, gives it added impact.

                                                                                                    1. BrittanyHound Nov 16, 2012 07:17 AM

                                                                                                      Wells is doing for jourmalism what Fieri and company have done for educational culinary television,.i.e, sophomoric entertainment. In this sense think that Fieri is to Pepin as Wells is to Claiborne.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: BrittanyHound
                                                                                                        pollymerase Nov 25, 2012 02:06 PM

                                                                                                        Very well said.

                                                                                                      2. greygarious Nov 15, 2012 10:00 PM

                                                                                                        Is this the same Peter Wells as in the memorable CH thread, Excremental Encounter? If so, he has long since established his bona fides as a witty writer! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/261442

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                          GraydonCarter Nov 16, 2012 07:43 PM

                                                                                                          Witty yes. But while normally incisive, in this case, he was quite even-handed and gracious

                                                                                                        2. s
                                                                                                          sandylc Nov 15, 2012 05:58 PM

                                                                                                          The crowd at Serious Eats (I respect their opinions, or at least their sincerity) reviewed Guy's new venture about a month ago:


                                                                                                          They really didn't see a big reason to go there.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                            huiray Nov 16, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                                                            That was a pretty scathing review too. Their last paragraph wrap-up was definitely a kiss-of-death (and answered Peter Wells' first question, heh).

                                                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                                                              The Dairy Queen Nov 16, 2012 01:00 PM

                                                                                                              That was a pretty scathing review, but I preferred it. It's as is they were sad to have to be so disappointed, instead of making it a giant jerk-tastic romp.


                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                durianbreath Nov 17, 2012 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                "jerk-tastic romp" was a good way of putting it. the idea of fieri's restaurant may bum me out, but wells beating up on the dork in the corner bummed me out even harder. it's like siskel and ebert doing a critique of kim kardashian's performance in "deep in the valley", or diane sawyer brutally cross-examining honey boo boo child. why?

                                                                                                          2. Breadcrumbs Nov 15, 2012 05:29 PM

                                                                                                            Here’s what I think about this review:

                                                                                                            Mr Well’s is in business. His business is reviewing restaurants. As a savvy business person he capitalized on the success of someone who has become a household name. Whether folks like or hate Mr Fieri or, whether they’re somewhere in between, few don’t know who he is. This was a good business move for Mr Well’s who has now:

                                                                                                            • Brought attention to himself
                                                                                                            • Broadened his reach
                                                                                                            • Brought attention to his employer
                                                                                                            • Entertained many people…myself included

                                                                                                            In reality, who cares about newspaper restaurant reviews any more? I don’t know the answer to that question. Many notable publications are even questioning the relevance of the Michelin Guide in this day and age, though undoubtedly there is still an economic value to achieving their recognition. A quick read of the Chicago board will show you that Chicago hounds will continue to advocate for their favourite restaurants despite the fact that Michelin got it wrong this week.

                                                                                                            On this thread, and elsewhere in the media, the consensus is that folks will continue to dine at Mr Fieri’s restaurants regardless and perhaps because of what Mr Wells had to say. I believe it.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                              SteveRB Nov 15, 2012 05:49 PM

                                                                                                              I've eaten in thousands of restaurants, yet never had food or drinks nearly as bad as the reviewer describes. Maybe he is just really unlucky, yeah that must be it.

                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                linus Nov 16, 2012 04:56 AM

                                                                                                                mr. wells isn't in business. he's an employee of a business, the new york times. he may suggest what restaurants to review, but the ultimate decision comes down to his bosses as to what reviews are published.
                                                                                                                how do they make that decision? which review will sell the most advertising and the most newspapers.
                                                                                                                mr. wells was doing his job. life goes on.

                                                                                                                as to who cares about newspaper restaurant reviews, well, you do, for one. you read it, and you're commenting on it. sames as me, same as all the people here.

                                                                                                              2. s
                                                                                                                sandylc Nov 15, 2012 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                I thought the review was clever, albeit slightly gimicky, and there were true critiques of the food buried in it. I am growing tired of the cheerleading-type reviews that we get in our local papers and some snarkiness is refreshing to me.

                                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                                  sandylc Nov 15, 2012 02:59 PM

                                                                                                                  Guy's schtick would be (slightly) less tiresome if he'd come up with some new material once in a while.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                    Veggo Nov 15, 2012 03:24 PM

                                                                                                                    I agree. The menu seems like the usual ho-hum bar food, somewhat overpriced. I don'e see how it could impart high expectations.

                                                                                                                  2. Bob W Nov 15, 2012 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                    I find amusing the attacks on Pete Wells for being a "snob." Well, if knowing what a good hamburger or fried calamari tastes like, then call me a snob.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                      MGZ Nov 15, 2012 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                      Me too - make me a capital "S" "Snob" - maybe even a "Prick" or worse . . . .

                                                                                                                    2. The Dairy Queen Nov 15, 2012 11:14 AM

                                                                                                                      Did you all read this info about the NYT staff party at Guy's restaurant that took place the very same day Wells review came out? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/877797


                                                                                                                      1. The Professor Nov 15, 2012 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                        Hilarious. and about what I would have expected with regard to his restaurant.
                                                                                                                        I wonder if they're having a big 'ol staff meeting right now. LOL.

                                                                                                                        I hope they did't sign a multi-year lease...

                                                                                                                        1. coney with everything Nov 15, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                          Going through the comments on the NYT public editor blog, we find the original DDD producer's comment; IMO he makes a good point:

                                                                                                                          "As the original producer of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (my company did the first eleven seasons but no longer does the show so factor in any axe I may have to grind) I applaud Mr. Wells for focusing on the key point -- that everyday food can and should be good, home made, something a chef is proud to serve. Since Mr. Fieri is trading on his reputation for featuring such places and such cooking, Mr. Wells is certainly well within his scope as a critic to see where Mr. Fieri as a restaurateur lands on the hypocrisy scale.

                                                                                                                          David Page
                                                                                                                          Page Productions"

                                                                                                                          24 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Nov 15, 2012 04:11 PM

                                                                                                                            David Page must have some sort of system in place that alerts him every time something is published about Guy Fieri so he can jump in and go after him. it's common knowledge that their working relationship did NOT end well, and there's no love lost between those two. he has bashed Guy in the comments section of every piece i've read about him in the past couple of years. to be clear, i'm *not* defending Guy or his restaurant - the concept doesn't appeal to me in the slightest, and his shtick is beyond tired. but David Page is one of the least objective people on the planet when it comes to Fieri - that axe he has to grind is pretty darn big.

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                              Veggo Nov 15, 2012 04:26 PM

                                                                                                                              Axe? It was a chain saw massacre....

                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Nov 15, 2012 06:13 PM

                                                                                                                                i wasn't referring to the review, rather the quote coney posted from David Page - who qualified his comments with "factor in any axe I may have to grind". but yes, it certainly was a massacre.

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                  sandylc Nov 15, 2012 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                                  Rumour has it that Mr. Page has witnessed many unsettling things regarding Mr. Fieri. If true, I am amazed that Mr. Page showed so much restraint here.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                    huiray Nov 16, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                    ...and depending on who you choose to believe, so has some other (ex) team members who appear to have backed up what he (Page) said.

                                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                mcf Nov 15, 2012 04:29 PM

                                                                                                                                I didn't enjoy it, either. I thought it was more snotty than witty. And I am also a non fan of Guy's.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                  monfrancisco Nov 15, 2012 05:59 PM

                                                                                                                                  More snotty than witty? Sounds like a lot of Chowhound threads to me.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: monfrancisco
                                                                                                                                    prima Nov 15, 2012 06:23 PM

                                                                                                                                    I find Chowhound threads tend to be more snarky than snotty, fwiw.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                    durianbreath Nov 17, 2012 05:46 PM

                                                                                                                                    not that there is any more need to weigh in here, but my two cents:
                                                                                                                                    (disclaimer: new yorker, food industry, don't know much about fieri aside that he seems like a cheeseball, but don't have any more against him than i do any other celebrity chef.)

                                                                                                                                    -agree with monmauler and mcf that i didn't think it was particularly clever or funny; wells is capable of better -- while it was him at his most colorful, perhaps, it was also quite mediocre. if you're going to skewer someone, do it in style. or if you're gonna be crass, do it better than anyone else.

                                                                                                                                    -speaking of skewering: i felt to me like a cheap (and elitist) shot. new york times restaurant reviews are generally intended for new york times readers; i think it's fair to say that this was not a place on the agenda of most new yorkers -- between the times square location and fieri's general appeal, the place is geared towards tourists from out of state. i'm not saying it was nobody's place to review the restaurant, but i don't think it was a job for the NYT to serve up the definitive review. if USA Today or Aol or Rachel Ray, or some other more mainstream middle-American entity had given it a critical review and asked questions about celebrity chefdom etc etc, *that* would have actually been interesting/valuable. sure, the times could have written a social commentary on it, or some other piece, but it was facetious to do it as a restaurant review. fish in a barrel.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: durianbreath
                                                                                                                                      GraydonCarter Nov 18, 2012 12:20 PM

                                                                                                                                      Granted The Times is a whole three blocks away, but Guy's would be hard to avoid if you are walking uptown.

                                                                                                                                      Also, The New York Times had already skewered Fieri in Julia Moskin's piece on Aug 10 2010.

                                                                                                                                  3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                    coney with everything Nov 16, 2012 04:32 AM

                                                                                                                                    I know the Page/Fieri history, but I still think his point re: what Fieri touts on DDD vs. what his restaurants apparently serve is valid.

                                                                                                                                    Bourdain's also had a go at this restaurant, I think he called it a terror dome.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                      sandylc Nov 16, 2012 09:41 AM

                                                                                                                                      Sounds like this place is doing DDD food the same way that fast-food chains do "artisan" breads.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Nov 16, 2012 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                        i think Bourdain's comment is funny :) several outlets have reviewed Guy's, and they all panned it. this particular review - *IMO* - just took it too far.

                                                                                                                                        i don't have a dog in the Page/Fieri fight - heck, i don't even have a dog in Wells vs Fieri, i just didn't think the review was written well or objectively - i was simply pointing out that Page seems to seek out every possible opportunity to pile on.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler Nov 16, 2012 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                          Fine, you personally don't think it's funny. That's certainly your opinion -- I found it mildly amusing, not "hilarious" -- but whatever. But its rather hypocritical to make the argument that Pete Wells shouldn't have bashed Guy Fieri the way he has when you're bashing him the way you have, making accusations and insinuations beyond just critiquing his review.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Nov 16, 2012 11:53 AM

                                                                                                                                            i'm not "bashing" him, i'm stating that i don't like his writing style and i walked away from reading it feeling as though there was an unspoken agenda at play. it's all open to interpretation - that comes with the territory of *opinion* pieces, no? and restaurant reviews are opinion pieces.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                          huiray Nov 16, 2012 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                          Bourdain's take:

                                                                                                                                        3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                          cambridgedoctpr Nov 17, 2012 04:17 PM

                                                                                                                                          his comments about mr. fieri are quite measured.

                                                                                                                                          I have eaten at a DDD place in Cambridge, Mrs. Bartley's; it had to be as they have been around a long time and remain very busy. Just burgers and sides but good food at a reasonable price. I wonder if Mr. Fieri's restaurant matches the places that he reviews.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Nov 17, 2012 04:38 PM

                                                                                                                                            Mr. Bartley's.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                              cambridgedoctpr Nov 17, 2012 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                              i stand corrected

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                                                                                                                                Bob W Nov 19, 2012 06:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                For many years -- and certainly when I was a Cantab, it was Mr. and Mrs. Bartley's.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Nov 19, 2012 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Then both cambridgedoctpr and I are correct! LOL

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                    Bob W Nov 20, 2012 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                    It's win-win!

                                                                                                                                                    Man, I used to love their bearnaise burger. That sauce was a perfect accompaniment for the onion strings. I don't think my heart loved it, though.

                                                                                                                                                    Chase it all down with a raspberry lime rickey! Some of the best food in the sea of mediocrity that was Harvard Sq in the mid 80s.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                                      huiray Nov 20, 2012 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Mr Bartley's. http://www.mrbartley.com/

                                                                                                                                                      Huh, I used to walk past that place off-and-on when I lived in Cambridge MA ** and never thought to go in and try the food.

                                                                                                                                                      ** I associate "Cantab" with the colleges/university in Cambridge, East Anglia, England. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                        Bob W Nov 20, 2012 12:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Yes, it's a twee name for sure. Used to be a favorite of Boston Globe sportswriters.

                                                                                                                                                        OTOH, many drunks also associate it with this place:http://www.cantab-lounge.com/

                                                                                                                                      2. p
                                                                                                                                        Phoebe Nov 15, 2012 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                        Mr. Fieri (Ferry) appeared on the Today show this morning to respond to the scathing review he recieved in the NYT. The interviewer had to point out that Mr. Fieri flew in on the "red-eye" just for this interview. (Keep in mind, he has an affiliation w/ NBC with his "Minute To Win It" game show.) The only excuse he kept offering up was that this restaurant had only been open for two months and they were still a work in progress, ironing out the problems. He must have stated this at least 5 times, in the 3 minute segment. In my mind, a poor excuse. You don't open a restaurant and then try to work out the problems.

                                                                                                                                        Good food...is good food. How can you mess up simple American food like a good burger and hot crispy fries? Or a salad served with only four or five croutons and then charge $17.50 for it?

                                                                                                                                        Mr. Fieri was in my hometown this past summer, filming for several of his shows. Opinions of him spread fast...and were not good. To state it simply...he acted like a diva the whole time. We have a great restaurant on the Outter Banks that is located in one of only five "registered" diner cars in the country. Was that one of the locations they filmed D,D & D at? No! There was also a drive-in that has a long standing reputation here that was ignored. The restaurants chosen were a joke. Very few "locals" go there, and the food is poor. Everyone here was left scratching their heads.

                                                                                                                                        Mr. Fieri put himself in the situation he is now in. I'm sure Guy's American Kitchen & Bar will make him a ton of money, so he can add to his car collection. No different than Emeril and Martha being sued over the inferior knives they "hocked" on QVC. Once fame hits...nothing else matters other than how to make MORE money.

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phoebe
                                                                                                                                          4X4 Nov 15, 2012 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                          Maybe Robert Irvine and his crew can help Guy make this a better place!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: 4X4
                                                                                                                                            LurkerDan Nov 15, 2012 11:14 AM

                                                                                                                                            Well played.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: 4X4
                                                                                                                                              sandylc Nov 15, 2012 11:17 AM


                                                                                                                                              1. re: 4X4
                                                                                                                                                chowdom Nov 15, 2012 11:48 AM


                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowdom
                                                                                                                                                  Violatp Nov 17, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I know that he put Pier 23 (in San Francisco) on that show and the food there suuuuuuucks. So bad. And you pay a ton for that crappy food. Even more egregious, the pours are pathetic. Other friends of mine have eaten at other places he's taken that show and, generally, it is agreed that the food is NOT good. I suspect kickbacks or something along those lines.

                                                                                                                                            2. TrishUntrapped Nov 15, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                                              Any restaurant that charges money for food is open to being reviewed, end of story. The only review I ever saw justly criticized was in Boston for a soup kitchen for the poor. Those folks don't charge so a review wasn't fair.

                                                                                                                                              Guy uses over-the-top hyperbole on his menu and he got an over-the-top hyperbolic review. Game, set, and match.

                                                                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                                                                MonMauler Nov 15, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                I have to disagree with a majority of the posters here, I think. Wells' review, while outside the general range of most food critics, isn't particularly funny. There is a line or two here and there that could be classified as comedic, I guess, but overall it seems just a regular review couched in a preconceived, scathing attack with a mildly humorous simile or metaphor thrown every once in a while. Moreover, as some of the links in this thread demonstrate, Wells' review is very much a rehash of what several reviewers have previously posted or published elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                Please don't get me wrong, I have no particular affinity for Guy. Like many on this thread, I, too, cannot fathom why anyone interested in good food in NYC would go to this restaurant, or any other in Times Square for that matter, which makes the review seem all the more out-of-place and of design other than as a serious restaurant review.

                                                                                                                                                As several others here have mentioned, this probably works for Guy in the "any publicity is good publicity" sense. Just this morning he received 7 free minutes of air time on the Today Show to play up his schtick.

                                                                                                                                                1. ipsedixit Nov 15, 2012 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Are readers of the NYT even the same demographics of people who would dine at GF's American Kitchen & Bar?

                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Nov 15, 2012 04:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                    nope. which is why i personally think the review was only published to generate buzz for Wells (who can use all the help he can get). i, for one, didn't enjoy reading it. the bashing got old after the first couple of paragraphs, and i can't stand that all-question format.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                      linus Nov 16, 2012 04:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                      wells was doing. his. job. all restaurant reviews are in newspapers for one reason: sell advertising, sell newspapers.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                        huiray Nov 16, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I don't buy the notion that Wells did it just to generate buzz. I enjoyed reading it, although I did not find it earth-shatteringly funny.

                                                                                                                                                        It seems to me that there is in this thread the "anti-Wells" group, the "anti-Fieri" group, the "Fieri lover" group (and maybe the "Wells lover" group but that is doubtful to me; maybe the "Wells defender" group instead) with membership in either one or two (but of course not all three) groups. :-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                          sandylc Nov 16, 2012 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                          <<<<I don't buy the notion that Wells did it just to generate buzz. I enjoyed reading it, although I did not find it earth-shatteringly funny.>>>>>

                                                                                                                                                          Well put.

                                                                                                                                                          I also think that his observations regarding the food were probably accurate. Had he written a straight, bland review with the same points in it, I wonder what would have happened?

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Nov 16, 2012 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Wells has been "doing his job" for months and it didn't look anything like this. i'll admit i've never enjoyed reading his reviews, but this still wouldn't sit well with me if it was from Sifton, Bruni or Reichl. there's a way to write a scathing review without making it sound as though you're being mean for meanness' sake (see: Bruni's review of Ninja, circa 2005).

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                            EWSflash Nov 22, 2012 09:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                            GHG, I agree.

                                                                                                                                                        3. f
                                                                                                                                                          Fydeaux Nov 15, 2012 07:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                          It's not like I would ever visit the place when I come to NYC anyway. All in all, pretty funny.

                                                                                                                                                          But I dont understand to cranking on Calvin Trillin, a man whose food writing I profoundly love. [That WAS a dig, wasnt it?] can someone please explain?

                                                                                                                                                          1. o
                                                                                                                                                            Owtahear Nov 15, 2012 07:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                            There is another thread basically saying how can you tell you would not like a restuarant

                                                                                                                                                            I think this fits that thread. This is the exact type of schlocky restuarant that I hate. Part TGI Fridays, part Dick's Last Resort par Hard Rock Cafe. Nope...not for me. I would rather eat at a dive bar that has good wings or sandwiches than places like this.

                                                                                                                                                            1. b
                                                                                                                                                              burgeoningfoodie Nov 15, 2012 06:55 AM


                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                                                                                                                ItalGreyHound Nov 15, 2012 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Glad you posted this...I had forgotten how hard I laughed when I read that the first time on SE back in September!

                                                                                                                                                                The "breadstix" line absolutely kills me.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Nov 16, 2012 03:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  And this line in the Serious Eats article pretty much tells you what this restaurant is all about: Guy Fieri. Not the food.

                                                                                                                                                                  "There are TVs in the bathroom screening his shows (which I found more than a little unsettling)."

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                    Breadcrumbs Nov 16, 2012 04:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Linda I laughed out loud when I read this!! Thanks for that!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                      miss_belle Nov 16, 2012 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, this struck me as a bit odd too. Well, the place is what it is..:-)

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Caroline1 Nov 15, 2012 04:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I suspect Mr. Fieri is laughing all the way to the bank. There is no possibility that any good review of his restaurant would have gone viral. This has. It will attract hordes of people flocking in to see if the food can really be that bad. I suspect it can't. I wonder if Pete Wells will get a kick back on this?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. a
                                                                                                                                                                      ahuva Nov 14, 2012 07:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      a much needed bit of hilarity after the last two weeks of hurricane sandy blackout and noreaster snow!
                                                                                                                                                                      and no - this is not how we roll in flavor town. funky town, yes. flavor town, no.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. f
                                                                                                                                                                        FattyDumplin Nov 14, 2012 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        A few people have asked is all press good press and does this impact Guy Fieri's restaurant? If you read the comments section on CNN, which I assume is a more representative sampling of everyday America than CH, the answer are resoundingly YES and YES, IN A GOOD WAY. There is very much the sentiment from commenters that food critics / NYT are "snobs" and as such, are not able to appreciate American bar food because its not fancy enough, ergo I will probably like this place.

                                                                                                                                                                        Personally, I appreciate the review. I like nothing more than solidly prepared American bar food. Conceptually, if GF actually cared to put together a good offering, I like the idea of his restaurant. But man, that sounded like a horrible place to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FattyDumplin
                                                                                                                                                                          sedimental Nov 14, 2012 04:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          " I like nothing more than solidly prepared American bar food. "

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm with you. I enjoy American bar food. I think bar food, corporate food, fast food and junk food (most of the time those things are all the same, lol) all have their place on the food chain of a chowhound. I enjoy a wide variety of foods when the mood hits- not just the "more polished" items.

                                                                                                                                                                          It is hard to tell if the review is really accurate, meant to show off the reviewers satirical writing style, or just a snub of all things "Guy".

                                                                                                                                                                          In any case, it was fairly funny and I would bet that it doesn't hurt the restaurant any!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. GraydonCarter Nov 14, 2012 01:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Is this how you roll in Flavor Town?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. chowdom Nov 14, 2012 12:39 PM


                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowdom
                                                                                                                                                                              MGZ Nov 14, 2012 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Yep. As I noted above, Wells's review is one of several pans recently in the local press. Remember, Guy's folks asked for them.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowdom
                                                                                                                                                                                cowboyardee Nov 14, 2012 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Interesting article. If I agreed that DD&D is a great show, based on a serious desire to praise the humble but worthy, then I could see how Wells' review would be doing a great service in holding Fieri's restaurant to the same standard. But that basic starting assumption is where the argument falls apart for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                Shining a light on the overlooked makers of great, humble food is a good idea for a show (of note though, Fieri wasn't the first to this concept - Bourdain's much better 'A Cook's Tour' was giving equal consideration to street purveyors and world renown chefs back in '02, and I'm sure I could come up with other examples). But I can't help seeing DD&D as a more cynical exercise in populism and attitude. Fieri's completely uncritical take on anything he put in his mouth, his lack of on-air insight into the food itself, along with the show's emphasis on his catchphrases and in-your-face style - these things together always struck me as hallmarks of a guy who doesn't much care about the food, but realized a show celebrating populism would be... popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                Given my view of Fieri, it would be extremely unlikely that his own restaurant would feature good food and cooking. As such, the NYT review was a foregone conclusion, a 'review' of a place that no one really expected to be decent - or as I put it earlier, target practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not outraged by this or anything. Fair game - Chez Fieri asked for reviews, and they got em. Heck, a scathing NYT review might even help the restaurant, upping its anti-snob appeal. But I don't buy that Wells was doing important work here, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Nov 14, 2012 04:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Good points. While I do enjoy watching DDD to see the independent restaurant owners and their ofttimes unique approaches to food and cooking, Guy's schtick can really get old and his food knowledges clearly has gaping holes in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                    chowdom Nov 14, 2012 04:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    You know I expected this response from posters and I can't say I disagree...
                                                                                                                                                                                    However, I'm not sure most of the rest of America would. I think Pete Wells gets this
                                                                                                                                                                                    and that it's what irked him. I think this review was just too tempting to pass on...

                                                                                                                                                                                2. EM23 Nov 14, 2012 10:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks P. Wells, for adding “chewy air” to my food lexicon.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. f
                                                                                                                                                                                    FattyDumplin Nov 14, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Aw, man, I am so disappointed I didn't get to post this to the board. If anyone remembers the scathing review that Bruni gave Ninja a few years back, I never thought that standard would be matched, let alone exceeded. But, I absolutely loved this review... and this comes from someone who actually enjoys ending my night watching DDD with the wife.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FattyDumplin
                                                                                                                                                                                      huiray Nov 19, 2012 08:42 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                        babette feasts Nov 19, 2012 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Some great links in there, thanks for sharing!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. f
                                                                                                                                                                                      FattyDumplin Nov 14, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't consistently read Wells' reviews, so don't know whether he generally reviews restaurants of this ilk, although I presume he doesn't. That being said, I've been to the Chili's, Applebee's, ESPNZone (back in the day), etc. in TImes Square and while they aren't putting out fine dining by any stretch, I recall the food being at least served at the right temperature, my orders delivered promptly and tasting as advertised and decent, if not lip-smacking delicious. GF's new restaurant seems to fail on all these accounts and at least by the review sounds absolutely disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll be curious to hear if anyone on the board tries it out just to report back, but if it's as bad as Well's said, then bravo for the scathing review.

                                                                                                                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FattyDumplin
                                                                                                                                                                                        BiscuitBoy Nov 14, 2012 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I wouldn't mind hearing from one of US either. It seems like he went there just to take a swipe, ala Emeril style, at a chef and personality whom the foodie lords fear and dismiss. What? Does the guy have to be brooding? Does he have to have some kind of accent? How long has the place been open? Two weeks ago (or nearly) petey prattled on about not visiting an establishment too soon after an opening. Like someone else above mentioned, maybe he needed a "Ninja" to support his reputation somehow. Chodorow and Ninja deserved it, Fieri operates at a different level

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                                                                                                                                                          cowboyardee Nov 14, 2012 11:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          "It seems like he went there just to take a swipe,"
                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes. That is indeed what he did. This was the restaurant reviewing equivalent of target practice. In Wells' defense:
                                                                                                                                                                                          A) The swipe was entertaining, at least to his normal audience.
                                                                                                                                                                                          B) He can't really hurt the restaurant. People who put credence in the NYT reviews had surely already decided not to try out Guy's offerings; and people who go to/live in NYC and stop by a Fieri joint probably don't care what the NYT says.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                            MGZ Nov 14, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            In fairness to the NY Times, Guy's place has had a monumental push behind it. The publicity machine has gotten them coverage from almost every local paper, magazine, and TV station. They wanted reviews, they got them. The one in Time Out New York, for example, was worse than Wells's - just not as entertaining to read.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                              chowdom Nov 14, 2012 12:56 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Nov 14, 2012 11:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yup. Michael Bauer at the SF Chronicle has explained that if he has a bad meal at a small mom-and-pop restaurant he doesn't review it. But when it's a high-profile opening that's getting a big media push and all his readers would have heard about, he feels obligated to tell them about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                As for the Planet Hollywood/ TGIFridays comparisons -- those are chains. There are plenty of reviews out there, and one review is pretty much applicable to all of them. Guy Fieri's is a "one-off" (at least for now) with a celebrity name attached. Thus, it meets all the criteria for being reviewed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Nov 15, 2012 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Guy has 8 restaurants, and counting... at least that's what he said on Today this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Nov 15, 2012 11:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, but as I understand it, this is a different concept from his others. "Under the same ownership" and "chain" are not the same!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Worldwide Diner Nov 15, 2012 12:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Are they all Flavor Towns or is only the NY joint a Flavor Town?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Nov 15, 2012 01:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        LOL. Well, they're named "Tex Wasabi" and "Johnny Garlic" so I'm guessing they're flavor towns.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: FattyDumplin
                                                                                                                                                                                              bards4 Nov 14, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Here is what the NYT had to say about the review and the reviewer's thoughts about it -- http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bards4
                                                                                                                                                                                                cresyd Nov 14, 2012 11:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't really buy that he had no joy or intention of being able to write this kind of review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                In his early work, this point is clear - "Mr. Wells hoped to make a larger point: that the kind of “vernacular food” that Mr. Fieri features on his show – burgers, chicken wings and the like — is worth celebrating." Wells does go after a good burger and not just fine French technique - but I truly fail to believe that anyone would go to a newly opened 500 seat restaurant in Times Square and expect serious chicken wing magic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                If Mr Wells is looking to celebrate the chicken wing, burger, and fry - I'm sure there are lots of restaurants all through New York City that would have their arms waving in the air begging for this kind of attention and more worthy of it. In this case, he just got to scream "I am the new restaurant critique! It's not Bruni or Sifton anymore!!!!".

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  cambridgedoctpr Nov 17, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  critic; too bad you can't get Harold's chicken shack from Chicago to open up in Times Square. I eat their wings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: bards4
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maximilien Nov 15, 2012 02:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  He went if 4 times,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "And in his four visits to Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar since mid-October, he said: “I did go in hoping there would be good things on the menu. I would have liked to write the ‘man-bites-dog’ review.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Me thinks it's fair.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Maximilien
                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf Nov 15, 2012 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not only did he go in 4 times, but on Today this a.m., they showed that he was averaging 2 1/2 stars from consumers, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                momjamin Nov 14, 2012 08:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                If you don't want to take the time to read through the whole review, here are "the worst lines, with cats." http://ny.eater.com/archives/2012/11/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                  iluvcookies Nov 14, 2012 09:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love it!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                    babette feasts Nov 14, 2012 06:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Even better!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. ipsedixit Nov 14, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is like pouring salt in the ocean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some restaurants are just review-proof.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Veggo Nov 14, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, pal. The more salt you pour in the ocean, the more lead I have to add to my weight belt when I'm diving....

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                                                                        MGZ Nov 14, 2012 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        And the more beer I have to drink when I am done surfing....

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Veggo Nov 14, 2012 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      A reason I lived only 1 year in Manhattan; they go beyond eating their young.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                        magic Nov 14, 2012 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Great, hilarious article, but it's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel no? I mean its culinary neighbours are ESPN Zone and T.G.I. Friday's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Who the hell would go to places like this when in NYC anyways. Jeez.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Btw, huge DDD fan but very mixed on GF himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: magic
                                                                                                                                                                                                          taos Nov 15, 2012 05:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Who goes there? Tourists who lack the initiative and curiosity to venture beyond Times Square when visiting NYC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Americans worship people who are on TV. They find value in eating at a place that's branded by a crappy celebrity often more than eating at a place with an anonymous chef actually cooking good food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: taos
                                                                                                                                                                                                            magic Nov 15, 2012 06:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            SAD :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: taos
                                                                                                                                                                                                              GraydonCarter Nov 18, 2012 12:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Do visitors to New York eat at Bubba Gump's because they can't get shrimp back home?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. rockandroller1 Nov 14, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I loved this so, so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                                                                                                                                                              CookieLee Nov 14, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              +1 !

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. iluvcookies Nov 14, 2012 06:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The best line:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              "And when we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about? "

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Priceless... I think I'll have that blue drink now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Phaedrus Nov 14, 2012 06:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow. He put the fire back into restaurant reviews. I thought the tone was hilarious and the wordsmithing was tremendous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, anyone check to see if Fieri's hair spikes have drooped?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jujuthomas Nov 14, 2012 06:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  WOW, scathing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. xo_kizzy_xo Nov 14, 2012 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've got Good Morning America on right now, and they sent a reporter in there with a hidden camera to see if the review was justified. The reporter's opinion? The calamari was awful, but the fries were definitely hot, greasy, and spicy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: xo_kizzy_xo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phoebe Nov 14, 2012 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Saw the same story this morning on GMA. The hosts were quite amused at the review. Must be doing something wrong if you actually get called out on Good Morning America. Makes you wonder what their ax to grind is with GF. What 's the old saying..."Any publicity is better than no publicity." (Not in this case!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. coney with everything Nov 14, 2012 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just read it at work and was laughing so loudly that people were asking what I was reading!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Love this: "Somewhere within the yawning, three-level interior of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, is there a long refrigerated tunnel that servers have to pass through to make sure that the French fries, already limp and oil-sogged, are also served cold?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The man paints a picture with words; you can taste the disgusting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maximilien Nov 14, 2012 03:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (disclaimer, I don't really like the guy, and have not looked more deeply into it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Funny review!! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To his "defense", he probably just sold his name to some industrial restaurant group wanting to cash in on his celebrity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Who is/are the actual owners of the restaurant ? Is fieri really involved in this mess ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Maximilien
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mpjmph Nov 15, 2012 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, he's very much involved. Guy Fieri is the industrial restaurant group, so to speak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cresyd Nov 14, 2012 01:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought this was hilarious - but I also think that the NYTimes bothered at all to review it for no other reason than for Pete Wells to break out a scathing review. Does the NYTimes bother reviewing the TGIFridays or Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am totally cool with the NYTimes taking a swing at food celebs when they open restaurants that are just there to milk as much money as possible due to their celebrity while providing subpar service and food. However, doing this under the guise of a restaurant review seemed disingenuous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          40 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            thegforceny Nov 14, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It sells food to diners. It IS a RESTAURANT. How is writing on it "...under the guise of a restaurant review..." "disingenuous?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thegforceny
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              redips Nov 14, 2012 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are right Gforce, but I can actually see what cresyd is saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Take one of your top wine critics and have them do a review of a popular box (not boxed) wine. Anything less than a snark pithy review and they'd be laughed off their wine barrel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Box wine is simply a volume play. Can't imagine an American Fare Food Factory in Times Square is any different...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I would have likely never eaten there, but the review was ridiculous and sophomoric.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: redips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Brad Ballinger Nov 14, 2012 01:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Right. It's not like the NYT sends its theatre critics to review high school productions of South Pacific just because they charge admission. It's a funny piece. But it's for a blog; not for the Times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: redips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  carbonaraboy Nov 14, 2012 03:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exactly. What will Pete Wills negatively review next? Tornadoes? Mutually assured nuclear destruction? Going after easy targets is ultimately just lazy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: redips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FrankJBN Nov 15, 2012 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Take one of your top wine critics and have them do a review of a popular box (not boxed) wine. Anything less than a snark pithy review and they'd be laughed off their wine barrel."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This isn't true at all In fact, I have read favorable reviews of boxed wine in the Times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For historical reference, Frank Schoonmaker, the departed one time dean of American wine writers, had good things to say about Boone's Farm forty years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: redips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      boingo2000 Nov 15, 2012 02:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As a piece of entertainment, the article/review was outstanding....it wasn't sophomoric, it was funny and clever. And I'd dare say it's informative as a review, even if it just reinforces our preconceptions. Take it for what it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: boingo2000
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        carbonaraboy Nov 16, 2012 02:48 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "you need to do more thinking with your brain" That's a good one

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: carbonaraboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          huiray Nov 16, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whoever this Welzein bloke is, he is not funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: redips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Midlife Nov 17, 2012 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, IMHO, if a winery tried to put the best wine they could make for the price into a box......... I'd applaud it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mass-produced wine IS a volume play, but I really don't judge it outside of the context of its intended consumer market. Where I live, in Southern California, the average bottle price of wine is somewhere between $5 and $6 (I've been told). I don't personally consider wine at those prices to be good quality, but there are millions of people for whom it is as good as they can or wish to afford.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds like Guy Fieri is in the Olive Garden/TGI Friday's/Chili's business. Those chains seem to do very well, so why is that bad? Is there a requirement that every restaurant in NYC be a major culinary triumph or a great value? I shudder at even the thought of what the rent must be on a mid-town location like that, so the prices are at least understandable if not a good value.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        IF the food is really bad, then it casts a shadow on his 'discoveries' on Drive-Ins, Diners & Dives. THAT is disappointing, but I haven't had the exposure to any of those spots to venture an opinion on that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What I DO find interesting about all this, is that his celebrity has allowed him access to appear on just about every early morning network TV show to defend himself. Way to reach out to your base, Guy!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Midlife
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mcf Nov 17, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Sounds like Guy Fieri is in the Olive Garden/TGI Friday's/Chili's business. Those chains seem to do very well, so why is that bad? Is there a requirement that every restaurant in NYC be a major culinary triumph or a great value?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No one has come close to arguing that last in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fieri's media home is a network that purports to be about making and finding *good* food, which comes from all levels of sophistication, from basic and homey to upscale cuisine. This has nothing to do with culinary snobbery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Folks who've visited his DDD reccos have reported the food to be flat out awful, and consumer reviews of this new venture are below par as well. That means that his "base" thinks it sucks, too. I doubt his base is populated by food snobs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cambridgedoctpr Nov 17, 2012 11:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i think that the problem is that the food is both bad and expensive though to tell the truth, i doubt that i will make the effort to findout.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Some of the places on DDD are in NYC so trying them is not too difficult. And many of them are places that have been doing the same thing for many years; I like that sense of continuity. If the place is still rocking after 50 years, they must be doing something right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I doubt that Guy's restaurant will be in Time Square long after his show is off the air.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Midlife Nov 17, 2012 12:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure that what you said isn't the same as what I said. I thought I was saying that Fieri's food has an audience just like boxed wine, Olive Garden, etc.. Whether or not I find value in it is important only to me. The one thing, as I said, I would take issue with is any linkage between DD&D's "great food finds" and Fieri's food quality. But, then, I've never been to any of those DD&Ds, OR his NYC venue, so I can't know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Midlife
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Nov 17, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But so many folks who do know say it sucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think there's an awful lot of room between reportedly terrible and overpriced food and "major culinary triumph or a great value."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Midlife Nov 17, 2012 11:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well I tend to be very reluctant to impose my own value criteria on the tastes of others, especially where food and wine are concerned. Lots of people say Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck sucks, but they sell something like 5 million cases of it a year, and it is possibly the number one selling wine in the US. To the people buying it (possibly the single largest selling wine in the US) I doubt it "sucks". Just sayin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Midlife
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf Nov 18, 2012 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree with that, which is why detailed descriptions of the food/wine in a review is so critical. It helps us to figure out if our tastes are similar to the writer's. Same way I evaluate the reviews and advice of CHers I've been reading over they years, and weight their judgments accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                karenfinan Nov 22, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to disagree with the DDD recs. In Jacksonville, Fl he went to 13 Gypsies, which has a very, very good reputation, one of the best restaurants in Jax. I was surprised he chose it as it is not a diner dive or drive in...albeit a tiny place. He also reviewed a local diner that is very popular and serves excellent diner food. It was packed before begin on his show, and packed after. One other place he reviewed in Ga, a barbecue place also has a great reputation. Can't speak to other places, but the ones he chose that I have been to were very very good restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: karenfinan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jhopp217 Nov 22, 2012 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think he takes price and decor into account much more than it should. By his standards, I think Peter Luger would be considered a dive. I forget the name of one of the diners he went to, but it's considered one of the best restaurants in a 25 mile radius. I believe it's in Jersey. It's technically a diner, but the menu offers things you can't find in any diner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pollymerase Nov 25, 2012 01:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also disagree that the places on diners drive ins and dives have flat out awful food. I have been to several of places he has visited (typically) before they were on tv and many are highly recommended, even by 'food snobs'. Just last night i caught a bit on a place I recently visited on vacation because it was named the best by many resources, including numerous CHs. Sure, I thought some places sucked, but that is a given with all recommendations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: thegforceny
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cresyd Nov 14, 2012 11:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The NYTimes doesn't review every restaurant that opens. Is there an NYTimes review for the Cheesecake Factory or Panera? When the NYTimes wrote a food artcile about Pret A Manger, it didn't do it as a review but rather just as an article.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also the Dining & Wine section has two types of restaurant review columns. The namesake "Restaurant Reviews" where places get the full weight of critique and one star still means it's totally worth eating there. And (whether on purpose or not) 4 star restaurants always coincide to being amongst the most expensive places to eat. And then "Hungry City" which reviews ramen shops, pizza places, and other less "generically fine dining" places. Hungry City - which is not always glowing - does not give stars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My point of the "guise of a restaurant review" is that if you look at all the Restaurant Review columns labled as such (and not Hungry City or another article to be found in the Dining section) - the vast majority fit under a loose umbrella of fine dining. Which whatever (very real) issues I'm sure Guy's place in Time's Square has - it's not selling itself that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Last week, Talde in Park Slope (of Top Chef fame) got a pretty frosty review basically telling him that running a restaurant is not like being on a reality show and that consistency of good food is very important and not just when the cameras are on you. But Dale Talde is a pretty minor star among the Top Chef crowd, let alone the food celebrity world and while the food could be good, it was mostly just inconsistent from visit to visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thoroughly enjoyed reading Well's review - I just think it shouldn't have been presented as a restaurant review. Because all of his points regarding service and laziness of the menu and food served would have been more interesting and more honest journalism if approached as something other than a review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I liked it, I thought it was funny - but the idea of this as a Restaurant Review (the way the NYTimes editting staff has defined 'restaurant reviews') felt unnecessarily snide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Phaedrus Nov 15, 2012 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is there something sacred about a restaurant review? I really don't believe so. Peter Wells is having a bit of fun, and whatever forum he chooses is his business. I happen to appreciate the nature of the pieces as well as the forum he chose. This won't ignite World War III, this won't cure cancer either, so why get all hot and bothered?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cresyd Nov 15, 2012 10:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not hot and bothered, I said I liked it. I just think it was done strictly for buzz and not as a genuine restaurant review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Had Wells really wanted to say something significant, there are lots of ways he could have written about Guy Fieri, the restaurant and the culture of celebrity restaurants. If he really wanted to write a review highlight how awesome a good burger, chicken wings and fries can be - he could have found that restaurant. But he didn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Will Owen Nov 15, 2012 12:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I disagree: I think he did exactly that. He absolutely nailed what's amiss with this whole Celebrity Chef thing, especially when the CC in question assumes he can just phone it in and the masses will come flocking. Those questions, snide as some seem to be, very accurately surrounded and exposed each significant failure of Fieri's efforts, or more accurately his lack of them. His flailing counterattack today amounted to, "Oh, yeah? Sez who?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    carbonaraboy Nov 16, 2012 02:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If this had been another zero star rating from a nondescript restaurant, the review would have died a natural death. But Wells understood that eviscerating a celebrity chef would go nonlinear for sure. He's feeding off of celebrity to make himself a celebrity, and he did so rather cheaply. As Rick once said said to Ugarte, "I don't mind a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: carbonaraboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      linus Nov 16, 2012 04:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      reviews dying natural deaths don't sell advertising. he's not feeding off celebrity to make himself a celebrity, he's trying to sell newspapers. that's his job.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      as to him doing it cheaply, i'm sure he got paid as much or as little for this review as he did for the reviews of le bernadin, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        carbonaraboy Nov 16, 2012 05:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK then: it's wanton commercialism on a bed of yellow journalism with a little celebrity on the side. Everything's just ducky as long as we sell papers, regardless of the means. Where's Machiavelli when you really need him?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And the "cheap" to which I was referring is not monetary but related to style, as in cheap shot. And the cut-rate means that there are many celebrity parasites but some sink to the level of cut-rate by their style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: carbonaraboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          linus Nov 16, 2012 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          one man's commercialism is another man's capitalism, and unless you'd like to dispute an opinion piece with some facts, it doesn't fit anyone's definition of yellow journalism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          me, i'm dying for an example of a NON cut rate celebrity parasite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            carbonaraboy Nov 16, 2012 07:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A noncut-rate celebrity parasite would someone who is justifiably famous in their own right (as in having accomplished something on their own) who then attaches themselves to another celebrity. Bruce Jenner comes to mind. Or the Ali-Cosell relationship. (I can still hear Ali at a press conference: "I made you Cosell!")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Your point about yellow journalism in the current context is right. Can I replace it with "voyeuristicly violent journalism"? Not sure what to call it, but it's like those beatdown videos on Youtube capturing somebody getting their ass kicked, and the pernicious delight that people get from watching them (and I'm as pernicious as the next guy).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love capitalism but not all capitalism is the same. It depends on how you do it. As in, are you a robber baron or the president of Ben and Jerry's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: carbonaraboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              TrishUntrapped Nov 16, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm a journalist, Wells had every right to write this review. It's not yellow journalism, it's an opinion piece. But thanks for your cheap denigrating shot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                piccola Nov 16, 2012 05:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm also a journalist and I totally agree with you. He reviewed a restaurant that was getting a lot of attention - that's what critics do. He did his due diligence by going four times. The fact that it's a chain restaurant, in Times Square, and owned by Guy Fieri doesn't exempt it from review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  carbonaraboy Nov 17, 2012 04:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, that was a poor choice on my part -- I did change my mind about that term (above).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Cheap denigrating shot"? Maybe. But one could also argue if the use of snide hyperbole to review others work is any different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: carbonaraboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Nov 16, 2012 11:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pete Wells was already at what some people might consider the top of his profession: restaurant reviewer for the NYTimes. Now, if he'd used this review to get the job you might have a point, but otherwise I just can't see how this is riding anyone's coattails anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MGZ Nov 16, 2012 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep. He's basically the most significant newspaper food writer in the nation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      FattyDumplin Nov 16, 2012 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also don't think this is out of character with some of his other reviews. Someone else posted his 2002 review on andouillette. Seems like he's always had somewhat of an "edge". It'd be one thing if he normally wrote these boring, bland, reviews and then all of a sudden broke out a new style to generate hype. But that doesnt seem like the case here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: carbonaraboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FattyDumplin Nov 16, 2012 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think when you're in a dying industry, you do whatever you can to stay alive. And yeah, if you need to write a "cheap" review of what is clearly a pathetic attempt to monetize the GF brand, then kudos to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: carbonaraboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                roxlet Nov 17, 2012 01:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BTW, is Fieri really a "chef"? I think he's a cook who got lucky on a TV cooking show, and capitalized on the persona he created. As far as I'm concerned, he's more of a marketer than a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nikkihwood Nov 17, 2012 08:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He has no culinary degree, although one of the junior colleges he attended now has a culinary program. His degree from UNLV is in Hotel Management. I Wiki'd...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think marketer is an appropriate label, roxlet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I'm not a Fieri fan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Will Owen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                carbonaraboy Nov 17, 2012 04:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am not arguing that he shouldn't have reviewed it at all -- it's the method he chose. And at some point we have to decide if hyperbolic opinion pieces are equal to journalism. The fact that we have to ask at all is a very telling comment on the current state of things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What I'm saying is the fact that he could lay a whoopin' on a food celebrity with such a piece was baked into the decision to write it. This was it -- the big chance to go beyond the confines of the food elite. But, in the end, something good may come of all of this (consumption of mass quantities may be bettered), thanks to the Well's decision to use this device. A straight up bad review would never have had this type of run. But that also is a telling comment -- that we need a full bore bully beatdown before we pay attention. I would hope we're better than that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: carbonaraboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cresyd Nov 17, 2012 05:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I personally don't understand people talking about the "right" that Wells had to review Guy's restaurant. Obviously he had the right - but if you look at the history of how the NYT reviews restaurants - this is just not the kind of restaurant they review in the 'serious' context of the NYT evaluating restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  However, what I think is really disappointing is that I think there are other approaches that the NYT Dining & Times section takes for stories that have the crossover of celebrity with food. When Nate Appleman started working at the Chipotle test kitchen - they didn't do a restaurant review of the Chipotle test kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think if Wells' point was that Fieri is taking advantage of his celebrity and customers and not even providing a base level of decent food - he could have wrote a far more direct piece. If Wells' point was to review a restaurant and give his opinion of the food - then I don't buy the sincerity of the editorial staff picking that place as worthy of reviewing. If the decision was the put out a flashy review to bring attention to Wells, than forgive me for not being overly thrilled by the piece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    linus Nov 17, 2012 05:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I think if Wells' point was that Fieri is taking advantage of his celebrity and customers and not even providing a base level of decent food - he could have wrote a far more direct piece"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    what would be an example of a direct piece?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i don't understand the concept wells or the nytimes is under any responsibility to publish a "certain kind" of review.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i understand readers not enjoying the review, the way it was written, etc. that's an opinion everyone posting here has.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    but, again, i don't understand questioning the mere act of reviewing the place. the restaurant is news, it's fair game. it's what the nytimes, or any paper, does.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    they review restaurants to attract readers to sell papers and sell advertising. if this particular review has brought a particularly large amount of attention, shouldn't we be congratulating the nytimes on a job well done?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      piccola Nov 17, 2012 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes things happen that generate so much buzz that news organizations can't ignore them, even if they wanted to -- and I'd argue the opening of this restaurant is one of those cases. It's not like the opening of another Olive Garden. Like it or not, in food circles, this place is actual news.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And sometimes an event or experience is so absurd that you can't write it straight. Which seems to be what happened here, based on what Wells told Poynter: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/me...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You don't have to agree with his rationale, but I don't think there was any kind of secret agenda involved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jhopp217 Nov 14, 2012 01:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just read this earlier tonight and was dying laughing. This was probably the worst review I've read, although he absolutely crushed a Brooklyn restaurant a few weeks ago and I found it to almost be personal, being that adjoining the article were pictures of the chef standing outside his place with huge smiles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              huiray Nov 23, 2012 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Which one (in Brooklyn) was that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thegforceny Nov 23, 2012 07:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most likely Talde


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thegforceny
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  huiray Nov 23, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I went looking for his recent reviews and Talde seemed the only possibility in the search results (on the NYT website) but he still gave it 1 star and it didn't seem to me as if he "crushed" it. That 2nd visit with the "lost" ticket and service/food problems was certainly bad, but it seemed he was disappointed rather than enraged. He had nice things to say about it when it was still new and also when Talde himself was back in the kitchen on his 3rd visit, and he expressed hope for the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    dondcook Nov 26, 2012 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just watched an episode Of "Life After Top Chef" on Demand, were some of The former Contestants went to his restaurant and were quite impressed with his food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dondcook
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      huiray Nov 26, 2012 07:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes indeed. But then, Dale Talde was personally cooking the dishes for them. :-)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8720... ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Nov 29, 2012 12:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, after personally choosing for them as well. Not exactly what you or I might receive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. LurkerDan Nov 13, 2012 08:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha, just read and came here to look for a thread!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Loved the ending listings: "SERVICE The well-meaning staff seems to realize that this is not a real restaurant. "

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