HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Guy Fieri in Times Square..NYTimes review

  • erica Nov 14, 2012 04:57 AM

Lots of tables available for Saturday night!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
  1. Read it earlier this AM. What a pan, guess that's what one would expect from a 500 seat establishment. The review makes for a good laugh.

    1. Wow that was the worst review I've ever read in the NYT, dude can't even get the nachos right.

      1. It was a well earned review : )

        1. Whammo , this place gives Dives a bad name!

          1. And it will do just fine because it's in Times Square, and the people who go to eat there don't know anything about the NY Times, but they know a lot about Guy Fieri. Really revolting.

            10 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              This is a classic, albeit pathetic, example of the old line about "laughing all the way to the bank". Such a shame, if people did just a little digging they could find places to eat that would really give them an idea of what NYC offers and at less then what this crapshack is charging.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                Crapshack?.......Beautiful. May I quote you?.....lol

                1. re: gavspen

                  I would be honored : )

                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                    Consider yourself so honored ;-)

                2. re: Spiritchaser

                  I frequently have guests from Egypt who think that places like MacDonald's and Burger King are fine places to eat. They think that Times Square is the center of NYC, and that no trip to NY is complete without a photo there. I'm not sure that they would actually go to this place, but if they did, they might be slightly puzzled, but they would think that it was pretty much ok. These are the folks who, when I've taken them to Pepe's Pizzeria, ask the waitress for ketchup to put on their pizza.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Right - Guy Fieri's fans won't care about the New York Times review. It will just be a fun meal for them to post on Facebook.

                  2. re: Spiritchaser

                    Spirt, rox......quite right and nicely stated. Crapshack....love it!

                    1. re: Spiritchaser

                      "Crapshack" is my new favorite word :)

                    2. re: roxlet

                      I rest my case.


                      1. re: roxlet

                        That is indeed the worst of it: that it will do OK because of its location. Only tourists will ever go and he will make money on serving inedible, overpriced, pretentious crap.

                      2. What a great review. However, I bet the place is packed every Fri and Sat night.

                        1. While in Times Square this summer on a hot July day, we were forced to duck into Hard Rock Cafe to use the restrooms. We decided to cool off and have a drink at the bar. I was stunned to find the place packed at 2;30 on a Wednesday and even more stunned to hear that most of the people around us were not American. What in the Sam Hill? This place will do just fine.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: southernitalian

                            Wow! The cheapest thing on the kids menu is PB&J @ $12.95!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            1. re: tgseaver

                              did that come with Donkey Sauce? or is there a certain age requirement for that condiment?

                              1. re: jester99

                                WTF is Donkey sauce?

                                1. re: sal_acid

                                  contray to what most minds would think, it is his signature sauce that he created that i believe has mayo, mustard, garlic and worcheshire sauce

                                  1. re: jester99

                                    ass sauce

                                    1. re: jester99

                                      Seriously? Are those the actual ingredients ? Should he apply for a patent given the groundbreaking nature of this creation? Shouldn't everyone reply to this thread in the form of a question?

                              2. re: southernitalian

                                the restuarant at Dave and Busters is packed every Friday and Sat night. Thats a video game hall.

                              3. Great review and one of the reasons New York is such a great food city, it can sort out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak! Guy Fieri is a "celeb" with nothing to do with great food.

                                1. Fieri seems like a reasonably intelligent person so he must know that the restaurant is awful, and must have concluded that it will be profitable for him despite being awful.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: redfish62

                                    Yep. I'd probably do the same... And would laugh all the way to the bank. Don't think he was hoping for stars from Pete Wells, or Michelin, for that matter.

                                  2. Crapshack....love it! One thing is; he is not claiming to be anything other than a dive on high priced real estate charging NYC prices and yes throngs will beat down his door. For those who do care about what and how they eat , fore warned should be fore armed! Caveat Emptor

                                    1. Why did the NYTimes bother to review this place? The review and subsequent "poor" rating was predictable. A no-brainer. I think Wells and the Times now must review Applebee's, TGIFridays, and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company to be fair and then compare them all. It's more a poor reflection on the newspaper than on a Times Square theme park-type restaurant where anyone who reads the Times food reviews knew the food would be abysmal.

                                      32 Replies
                                      1. re: salvati

                                        EXACTLY, EXACTLY what I was just about to say. Like, seriously, WTF did this guy expect going in there? I mean, come on. The Times just wasted their...and our...time.

                                        1. re: LeahBaila

                                          I must admit (and surely, I can't be the only one) that the review brought a smile to my face. I then forwarded it to a few of my friends, who also got a huge kick out of it. Far from a waste of time, this review gave me something to read, laugh and debate about for a few hours in an otherwise typical workday. Can't ask for much more than that from a free article!

                                          1. re: LeahBaila

                                            This has to be the most read piece put out by Wells since he started as the restaurant critic. I think that has as much to do with why the restaurant was reviewed as anything else.

                                            1. re: cresyd

                                              Another great point, cresyd...

                                              1. re: cresyd


                                                Wells is the worst restaurant critic the NYT has had in the 25 years i've been reading the review. from the moment i saw this piece i suspected it was a ploy to raise his visibility & increase readership - there's no other logical explanation for why they would waste the money & space to review a place that the vast majority of their readers would never consider patronizing anyway.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  I probably took too much time on the Media thread about this article going over how the NYT Dining & Wine section writes about restaurants - and for Guy's place to warrant a "Restaurant Review" is just silly. (It also shows I spend too much time reading the NYT Dining & Wine section - but that's another issue)

                                                  To me it all just read "Who's Afraid of Frank Bruni and Mark Bittman?"

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    "[T]here's no other logical explanation for why they would waste the money & space to review a place that the vast majority of their readers would never consider patronizing anyway."

                                                    The place was reviewed by the NYT for the same reason it was reviewed by pretty much every other publication that does reviews in the area did so - the publicity machine behind the place invited it. Time Out New York, for example, was equally as sh*tty to the place. Three weeks ago (maybe more, it was pre-Sandy), Fieri was on CBS's Morning Show answering to bad reviews.

                                                    BTW - What makes Wells such a bad writer in your mind. I mean, his grammar is proper, he expresses himself creatively and efficiently, articulates original thoughts, maintains his audience's attention, hell, he even capitalizes correctly. If you think he's a bad reviewer because you disagree with his tastes, shouldn't you take the time to eat all of the things he eats?

                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                      i NEVER said i disagreed with his tastes, i just don't enjoy his writing style. and since maintaining the audience's attention is one of the criteria you listed for good writing, you have your answer right there - i lost interest not even halfway through. good grammar isn't the sole element that make something enjoyable for me to read. Wells just doesn't engage me, and i *personally* often feel as though he tries too hard and gets in his own way.

                                                      i didn't enjoy his "Cooking with Dexter" column before he started doing the restaurant reviews, and i also didn't think Sam Sifton's reviews were very good - and Wells was the Dining Editor at the time, and signed off on them.

                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      My fault, I assumed that anyone who asserted that any restaurant reviewer was "the worst restaurant critic the NYT has had in the 25 years [I]'ve been reading the review" implied that the reviewer's taste in food somehow was flawed. Otherwise, I suppose you meant that he is the "worst writer who worked as a restaurant critic for the NYT." I mean, this site is full of poor writers who I consider good restaurant reviewers based upon the fundamental explanations they provide about what they eat. Should we dismiss the thoughts of other 'hounds because they don't write as well as we think proper? Give me the honest thoughts of someone who will try anything, can eat anything, and has a great deal of experience with foods of all kinds.

                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                        mea culpa. you're correct. i should have said that of all the critics the NYT has employed during the past 25 years, i personally think Wells is the weakest writer.

                                                        we good now?

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          I've though Bruni was the worst critic and the worst writer.

                                                  2. re: LeahBaila

                                                    I agree that the NYT was off base reviewing Guy Fieri's place. Just the fact that it seats 500 would indicate that it will suck. He was smart to market his name, and picked the perfect location TImes Square, an area famous for bad food.. I went to Stout near MSG they had to have 500 people in there, it really sucked. Seems the suckier the more packed they get, go figure. I will however, try Guy Fieri's, because i can't see calling it a "crapshack" until i actually taste something there. Maybe I will even waste my ink and report back on it. I have tried some of the diners Guy Fieri raved about and they sucked too. Funny thing is, I call Shake Shack , Crap Shack.

                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                      "I have tried some of the diners Guy Fieri raved about and they sucked too."

                                                      In fairness to Fieri, however, he's running a show on popular holes in the wall across America, most of which are brought to his attention by his viewership. These are not his diners, or his favorite diners. Even if he was to believe the food he's tasting sucks, he's not going to say it sucks. He's got a show to run.

                                                      And here's something I like about him: you can tell when he merely appreciates the food he's tasting on the show, and when he really, really likes it. He only seems to rave about something when he's really knocked out, and that gives him some authenticity in my book.

                                                      1. re: EarlyBird

                                                        "Even if he was to believe the food he's tasting sucks, he's not going to say it sucks. He's got a show to run."

                                                        That's nonsense. The show would have way more credibility is he actually said - "Dude, that sucks a*s!" Otherwise, the show is simply an advertisement - not true information. In a way, this is part of the irony to Fieri bitc*ing about Wells's review - Wells actually was sincere. I guess Fieri thinks every restaurant critic - which he pretends to be - should only laud the food they sample.

                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                          "That's nonsense. The show would have way more credibility is he actually said - "Dude, that sucks a*s!"

                                                          Bourdain very rarely does that on his "No Reservations" show. He seems to go from one great restaurant/roadside stand to the next one with nary a bad meal.

                                                          I think Fieri's DDD show and "No Reservations" are more like those lifestyle pieces in airline magazines where the basic message is "Isn't this swell." It's simply entertainment.

                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                            Entertainment or advertisement?

                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                              that is why i like Bourdain's writing more than his show. Though there is no reason to go to a DDD place and feature it unless it is good - well maybe Guy Fieri's place would be the exception.

                                                            2. re: MGZ

                                                              The point of Fieri's show - and other food shows - is to entertain the viewer with good food, not go to a restaurant or make a dish and yell "that really sucks!" People aren't interested in discovering places that suck.

                                                              I have to assume that the production company sends some local out to the recommended joint to make sure that it passes some level of decency before they send Fieri and the entire production crew and the Camaro across country to review it. Otherwise, any group of people, including extended family, could write DDD and have him come out and give it publicity.

                                                              The only shows announcing that the food sucks, that I can think of, are the ones with that big beefy British guy who remakes bad restaurants into good ones, or the competition shows where the panel speaks about a specific dish just made.

                                                              1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                Guy could neve say "this place sucks". It would crush the persons business and he would never do that do a mom and pop diner trying to squeak out a living. That is not a realistic request.

                                                                1. re: princeofpork3

                                                                  And does that realization not make you question the veracity of all of the "reviews"? I mean, not even one bad dish - even if he thought the place was overall good? How can any of his assertions be deemed credible? Are we all to assume that each and every emailed suggestion of a place to consider for the show never serves a bad dish? If it's all up to his advance guys can we assume they have the exact tastes as Fieri? Further. is it fair to places if only the advance guy goes and doesn't like it so they never find out what the Host might think?

                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                    "And does that realization not make you question the veracity of all of the "reviews"? I mean, not even one bad dish - even if he thought the place was overall good?"

                                                                    We must endeavor to be savvy media consumers and read between the lines.

                                                                    First, I doubt Fieri runs into any truly "bad" dishes on his show. Surely the places he visits are pre-vetted so that he doesn't bite into a shit sandwich in front of the camera and have to smile through it. Not to mention the food on the show is pretty straight forward. I mean, how bad can a chicken pot pie really get?

                                                                    Secondly, you'll notice that 90% of the time he says "good job on the corned beef," or "that really works," or does a fist bump or something, or focuses on the portion size, the local color, or how much effort goes into a given dish. He doesn't generally heap massive praise on the food. You can tell when he's just "meh" about something and trying to be polite, versus really impressed.

                                                                    Since we know "sucks" has already been eliminated, we're left to understand that the 90% "good job" reviews include everything from mediocre/underwhelming to really pretty darn good.

                                                                    That remaining 10% of the time you can tell when he's truly very impressed.

                                                                    He's by far more discerning and honest than many food show hosts where everything eaten induces orgasms.

                                                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                      If he goes to a restaurant, and he always says one dish is very good,,,, i have to assume that any place he considers bad he does not go to,,,,, that being said,,, he has raved about some pretty bad places,,, Bourdain says things are good, but I am sure with the number of places he has gone to overseas, he picks only the good ones to rave about ,,or at least show you something crazy he is eating. I ran into Adam Richman in Chicago at Al's Italian Beef, they were filming ,,and Adam looked like he actually enjoyed the huge sandwich he was eating,,,he finished it,,that's a sign of honesty.

                                                                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                        Sorry if it has already been discussed but I feel that the Heisenberg effect is very much in play when Fieri visits a restaurant. How could it not be?

                                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                                          *This* Heisenberg?



                                                      2. re: salvati

                                                        fair point

                                                        1. re: salvati

                                                          You hit the nail on the head!

                                                          1. re: salvati

                                                            Disagree. The places you mention are chains, this is not. The places you mention do not have a huge personality from the food network who travels the country identifying great food as the name above the front door. I dont think the Times needed to review this place but, you cant compare it to Bubba Gump.

                                                            1. re: princeofpork3

                                                              But Fieri's is owned by Heartland Brewery, or so I've heard, so does that make it a chain restaurant?

                                                              1. re: erica


                                                            2. re: salvati

                                                              Very interesting comments from the NYT about the review and why they would review it -- http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com...

                                                              1. re: bards4

                                                                Princeofpork has it. It's a money grab. Not that Fieri isn't entitled to that, but let's call it what it is. I think the way Wells handled it was great. It's really less an indictment on that particular restaurant than it is about a culture that creates a celebrity chef (The Next Food Network Star!), building him up (with Fieri's cooperation of course) and then watching as he can't deliver on the promise of what he does so well on his shows. Wells wasn't poo-pooing that kind of food. He was all over the actual execution though.

                                                                I like the way this writer explained it: http://everydayforever.org/2012/11/14...

                                                                And Guy didn't do himself many favors by appearing on the Today Show and explaining that the place isn't yet ready for prime time.

                                                              2. re: salvati

                                                                Those are all chain restaurants. This is a one off. Oops, just saw that princeofpork3 already said this. I don't see what' s wrong with reviewing it.

                                                              3. Don't forget that the majority of people eat to live and not the other way around like most of us on this site. I understand this is not a chain but Guy has enormous brand recognition by more than just food lovers. Most people just want to fuel up and spend an hour in some kitschy place in Times Square, they want to eat in touristy areas because they feel in their element with other tourists and don't want to stray to far off the beaten path. They are familiar with the DDD brand and that makes all the difference, Food Network defintiely found a marketing "star" in Guy.

                                                                I don't get all the hate for him (and a lot of other FN hosts). I'm pretty indifferent to him and the others on FN (don't watch if they rub you the wrong way). Good for him for cashing in, so he's not a 3 star Michelin rated, exclusive chef trained in some expensive culinary school in France He appeals to the masses and when it comes to raking it in we all know that is the most important aspect. It really sounds like the review was written before he even stepped into the place. I understand that he's being held to a different standard than a chain because of DDD and what it represented but I mean how bad could it possible be?

                                                                He's got prime location, I doubt he's worried about this review. Cmon NY hounds venture out with an open mind and let's hear an objective review. :)

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: JerkPork

                                                                  Totally agree re "...Most people just want to fuel up and spend an hour in some kitschy place in Times Square, they want to eat in touristy areas because they feel in their element with other tourists and don't want to stray to far off the beaten path. They are familiar with the DDD brand and that makes all the difference, Food Network defintiely found a marketing "star" in Guy."

                                                                2. hilarious review but I thought this one had better cadence

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                    Don't like confrontation, but there's an element in this thread that needs to be addressed: our attitudes toward American and foreign tourists who visit our restaurants. Manhattan tastebuds are super refined, but in forty years I've never had a prime rib in NYC that could hold a candle to those in Chicago, Omaha, Denver, or even Cincinnati. Have you been to Cairo? If so, chances are you went to Groppi's for wildly overpriced sweets, but did you have some Egyptian ice cream? Chowhounders like Turkish Kitchen, but it wouldn't get a great review compared to everyday restaurants in Istanbul. Yes, McDonald's is upscale (and meatless) in India, would you rather that they didn't try American food because it wasn't as good as the rogan josh around the corner? Have you ever gotten an urge for a hamburger while abroad? I have, and got the most disgusting sandwich I've ever had at Wimpy's in London. And BTW, we think that Shake Shack is so wonderful? There you have an emperor with no clothes; try a real burger from the midwest or west. And yesterday I followed a Chowhound recommendation for a sandwich at a place in lower Manhattan, and nearly choked on a mouthful of semi-cold pork fat.

                                                                    1. re: GaryUES

                                                                      Well said. I've never understood why people are offended by choices that don't affect them. I walk past every "Twilight" movie, but obviously a lot of other people like them. So be it. There's enough room for everybody in NY. The people who are eating in Times Square weren't going to hunt down the charming little place in Soho anyway.

                                                                      1. re: GaryUES

                                                                        Actually it seems to me the ones who truly think tourists are dumb are the ones who created this restaurant. By serving what seems like such unadulterated crap they are basically saying "we can get these rube tourists in the door with a food network star's name and to hell with hiring adequate cooks and good food. They will only be here once and the celebrity name will alter their perceptions".

                                                                        1. re: MVNYC

                                                                          Excellent point MVNYC. A lot of people are saying it's an attack by Wells but maybe it's just his way of warning people. It's one thing to be a dive and be proud of it, it's a completely different thing when you try to tout yourself (or your restaurant) as one thing and give something entirely different. It's like paying for a Ferrari and finding out it has a Ford engine in it.

                                                                        2. re: GaryUES

                                                                          Wimpys is so bad. I agree with your point. Never eaten at Shake Shake no burger is worth that kind of wait.

                                                                          1. re: rolise

                                                                            Their burger isn't even worth no wait. Their place at the Saratoga Race Course has no line and the burger and the fries are second rate. Only decent product is the shake.

                                                                          2. re: GaryUES

                                                                            Thanks, Gary. This type of thread is how "foodies" get a bad rap. I doubt 95% of anyone dumping on this particular restaurant have ever been near it or anything that Fieri has ever cooked, and just rush to assume that if it's a popular restaurant aimed at a particular customer, it's terrible. "Oh dear, a celebrity chef opens a restaurant aimed at bumpkin tourists who visit Times Square! Dreadful!"

                                                                            1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                              And that is precisely why this review is indeed quite useful. I actually enjoy eating "crappy" food once inawhile. I'm not ashamed to admit that my family and I enjoy eating Cheesecake Factory, Chilis, etc. on occasion when the mood strikes. And, yeah, I would have been curious to check out this restaurant because a) the food GF shows on DDD looks awesome a lot of the time and b) the descriptions of the food are intriguing enough that I'd be willing to give it a shot, if for nothing more than to check it out and see what the hoopla is about.

                                                                              Wells went in fully intending to give the restaurant a shot. And apparently they failed miserably. Based on that, as well as other reviews I've read, I don't plan to ever go. But, yes, I do believe this review was actually useful for me, even if many others on CH think it was a huge waste of time.

                                                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                I don't have a problem with the NYT review at all. I am commenting on the snob factor displayed by so many on this thread.

                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                  I love diners. I love dives. I love Fieri's show. But his restaurant s a disgrace.

                                                                            2. re: GaryUES

                                                                              >>try a real burger from the midwest or west.<<

                                                                              Hear, hear, GaryUES!!!

                                                                              (And to much of what else you said as well.)

                                                                              1. re: GaryUES

                                                                                BTW, Macdonald's s not meatless in India: it is beef less.

                                                                                1. re: swannee

                                                                                  You're both right here - none of the McDonald's in India serve pork or beef, but the restaurant does have vegetarian only locations in India as well.

                                                                            3. Great review! Right to the point.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: jaylhorner

                                                                                I actually will try it-just to see if it's that bad!

                                                                              2. And this just in from Eater NY:


                                                                                I'm so tempted just to try it now! Maybe a reverse physchology review!

                                                                                1. My problem with this review is that it is SO over the top. It sounds like a review you would hear on an SNL skit. Mr. Wells clearly has some disdain for Guy Fieri. Even if the food was terrible (and we've all dined in bad restaurants) he could have just written the standard bad review listing poor food quality, slow service or whatever. This review is so farcical it comes across as unbelievable.

                                                                                  I think all he's done is draw more attention to the restaurant, people will go to either prove him wrong or see for themselves. I predict business will be booming for Mr. Fieri. If the NY Times really wanted to kill this restaurant they should have gone the way of the standard bad review. A good bad review can do wonders.

                                                                                  Now, the next time I'm in NY I'm going to have to find out for myself!

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Jpan99

                                                                                    Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.
                                                                                    FYI: Fieri just fired back - http://bites.today.com/_news/2012/11/...

                                                                                    1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                      I think every major news outlet on TV, web and print has picked up this review. I gather there will be line ups for this place due to as Jpan99 put it, "an over the top" review. Any press is good press and food is quite subjective, what one might deem garbage is someone elses dream dinner.

                                                                                      I've browsed through comments on here, on the actual NYT review, Yahoo, CNN, etc.. etc...and I didn't read a single comment that said, "I ate here and loved/loathed this place".

                                                                                      1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                        And then later on during a debate over Welles review, Dr. Phil lead off by saying The NYT hosted a party for 15O at Guy's new place just last night. No Other details were given even though Guy was sitting right there...so not quite sure what that was all about.

                                                                                        1. re: miss_belle

                                                                                          miss belle,

                                                                                          I would guess that was about Guy trying to get the NYT to lose faith in its restaurant critic.

                                                                                          1. re: barberinibee


                                                                                            I posted right after watching it live Dr. Phil made the statement. Then the camera panned over to Guy who just sat there like an expressionless bump on a log not saying a word. Leaving me wondering what the real story was. Which of course I had to fInd out later through a different source that the party arrangements had been made two months prior. Can't believe I wasted my time with that nonsense yesterday.:-)

                                                                                            1. re: miss_belle

                                                                                              I read on Gawker it was an ad dept party for clients that had originally been booked for Red Lobster.

                                                                                      2. re: Jpan99

                                                                                        I think it was purposefully over the top, because after all, how often will he be able to write such a review? He has had his single opportunity, and the question is not how the review was written, but whether it was fully justified.

                                                                                      3. To those who say the NYT wasted space by reviewing this place I would say I think it is a public service. With entrees ranging up to $31.50 this place is far from cheap, so those who do go are forewarned. But I guess his fans either will not read the review or will not be deterred by it.

                                                                                        1. Again, the Times review of the restaurant was predictable. The restaurant was obviously conceived to fit into the theme park that is Times Square. What, really, do you expect? It was a sure thing and now both the Times and Fieri are getting mucho publicity. I guess it was a win win for both parties.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: salvati

                                                                                            winner winner chicken dinner!

                                                                                          2. Guy was on Today show this morning and he was defending himself basically keep repeating, it's only been 2 months, it's a big restaurant with a big menu. Just give us some time. He must have said these at least 10 times.

                                                                                            1. I thought Bourdain did a good job pointing out the disconnect between Fieri's show wherein he eats at diners and dives very cheaply (which is most of the attraction of the show) and the fact that a burger at his new place is about $18! I know rents are expensive in New York but he's certainly socking it to his core audience/fans.

                                                                                              1. In my view, it is a mistake to look at Wells' piece as as a restaurant review. It's really something broader. Here is my take, posted earlier elsewhere:

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

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

                                                                                                23 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                                                  Tourist traps exist for the sole purpose of separating people from their money and for no other. That said, I think the overall tone of the piece was about as shallow as your average Yelp review. It's the sort of writing that's in love with itself. Sometimes a scalpel is a better tool than a bludgeon. I predict a wave of customers coming to this place just to see what the fuss is about as well as show those elitist trained seal tastemakers at the NYT that real Americans love their television loud, their food coma-inducing, and their diarrhea violently explosive.

                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                    I am the prototypical real American and I don't like ANY of those things...

                                                                                                  2. re: johnb


                                                                                                    As Wells makes clear in his review, the type of food Fieri celebrates can still be very satisfying, if made well. And it can obviously be done, the hundreds of pizza and burger joints that have sprouted in the city are Exhibits A and B.

                                                                                                    Yet the fact that Fieri's restaurant apparently fails miserably at delivering that food - and at inflated prices to boot - points to a restaurant that exists as no more than a cynical money grab trading on Fieri's celebrity.

                                                                                                    That was Wells' overall point, and as a restaurant critic - not reviewer, there is a difference, IMO - the type of points I, frankly, expect him and other restaurant critics to make. It's not enough for them just to say if a restaurant's good or not, they have to take a broader view of restaurants' roles in shaping the culture of dining out.

                                                                                                    That's why I appreciate reviews like this one - lines like "chewy air" and "a representation in sugar and eggs of the experience of going insane" were brilliant - and appreciate essays like the one Wells did a few weeks back questioning the proliferation of multi-hour, multi-course tasting menus.

                                                                                                    1. re: kdgchow


                                                                                                      >>It's not enough for them just to say if a restaurant's good or not, they have to take a broader view of restaurants' roles in shaping the culture of dining out.

                                                                                                      Exactly. Which is why I find it curious the posts citicizing the NYT for taking the time/effort/space to review the place. That is what the NYT food section is all about.

                                                                                                      >>Fieri's restaurant apparently fails miserably at delivering that food - and at inflated prices to boot - points to a restaurant that exists as no more than a cynical money grab trading on Fieri's celebrity.

                                                                                                      Right. Regarding the view of many posters here (and elsewhere) that Wells' tone was over the top: the tone was deliberately and appropriately (I think) chosen to complement this broader point. What better tone and language than to request of a loud self-promoter equally loudly --ex post a miserable experience-- that he justify why we should let him take our money. (Had Fieri in fact justified it, you would have read a very different review.)

                                                                                                      1. re: MagicMarkR

                                                                                                        I eagerly await Wells' groundbreaking reviews of Bubba Gump and the Cheesecake Factory.

                                                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                          Apples and oranges. There's no Food Network celebrity chef backing Bubba Gump and Cheesecake Factory. If Paula Deen or Alton Brown decided to open a place in NYC, I'd expect the Times to review it as well.

                                                                                                          1. re: kdgchow

                                                                                                            To your point, NYT reviewed Shake Shack, a burger chain started by Danny Meyer.

                                                                                                            1. re: kdgchow

                                                                                                              Wells was grandstanding - the review was the equivalent of a stunt. This one review got more outside media attention than any NYT restaurant review in the last 10 years. You think that wasn't what they were shooting for?

                                                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                You're going to believe what you want to believe and others are going to believe what they want to believe, as for me, I don't think it was grandstanding, it was a big loud smackdown and Wells called BS on fieri. Absolutely the same kind of thing you would see in a car magazine after a company touts their new vehicle as the greatest thing going but a test drive proves diffrently.

                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                  First, it's the New York Times, I find it hard to believe they have any reason to give a sh*t about how "viral" a single article gets as it makes them no money. In fact, it drives unpaid web traffic to their servers which is actually to their detriment.

                                                                                                                  Second, if Pete Wells is so savvy about how to make himself "hot", why didn't he do it back when he was competing for the job? I mean he's entrenched in his position, what advantage did having this review blow up bring him? No money for him or his employer, lots of people (like you) who think less of him now, etc. It's not like Wells is the one on TV talking about it and defending his brand. Face it, the review got traction because it was humorous and believable to a vast majority of readers.

                                                                                                                  At bottom, I call nonsense on your fundamental assertion.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                    No, I think they shoot for reviews that get no attention at all. You know how those elitist snobs at the NYT are. The most selective audience, after all, is an audience of zero. 8<D

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                      Just like Fieri himself --a self-promoting grandstander. And that's my point about the deliberately chosen tone, as a literary device --for sure Wells wants readers, and he will not get them if his reviews are clinical and bland. But an in-your-face tone does not invalidate the content/conclusion of the review, or at least it does not mean the reviewer is being dishonest about his/her experience.

                                                                                                                      re the Cheesecake Factory: agreed re the celeb chef point, but even without the celeb chef backing, if it were the very first Cheesecake Factory establishment, or if it were unique to NYC, then I might indeed expect the NYT to review it. But it is not. Since most readers of the restaurant reviews (which have an audience much wider than NYC of course) have probably at one time or another been to a Cheesecake Factory somewhere, and since the Cheesecake Factory is pretty much the same from place to place, then a review has no value added for those who are interested in the NYC dining scene. Fieri's restaurant is not a chain (yet).

                                                                                                                      1. re: MagicMarkR

                                                                                                                        "Since most readers of the restaurant reviews (which have an audience much wider than NYC of course) have probably at one time or another been to a Cheesecake Factory somewhere"

                                                                                                                        I would distinguish between those who might have read reviews from those people who read the NYT reviews because they subscribe to the NYT whether print or online. The latter audience is a very different from the former. I've subscribed to the NYT for many years in addition to other papers and I have never set foot inside of a Cheesecake Factory. My impression is that few NYers who subscribe to the Times have. Most of my knowledge of CF comes from watching Big Bang.

                                                                                                                        On the argument about this review bringing more attention/revenue to NYT, Come on, are you serious? The NYT doesn't need to get any more attention or awareness as a publication like some no name website that no one has heard of. Those of you who are pissed off at the NYT is because it has such a high profile already. If this came from something like the Village Voice, no one would have paid it any attention. And this review will add no new $ as most of the people who have gone on and on about it here and on other sites don't subscribe. So they click through on a link and can see the review based on the 10 free stories non-subscribers can read, but its doesn't mean anything in terms of real $ for the NYT. I doubt we will hear about how much of a pop in 4th quarter earnings the NYT had because of this review.

                                                                                                                        Wells wrote a scathing and funny review. That's the end of the story. Move along people, there's nothing to look at.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                          "I would distinguish between those who might have read reviews from those people who read the NYT reviews because they subscribe to the NYT whether print or online. The latter audience is a very different from the former. I've subscribed to the NYT for many years in addition to other papers and I have never set foot inside of a Cheesecake Factory. My impression is that few NYers who subscribe to the Times have. Most of my knowledge of CF comes from watching Big Bang."

                                                                                                                          I'm a very long time NY Times reader/subscriber and I've never ever contemplated going into a Cheesecake Factory (though I think I read about them recently in the New Yorker) and I agree with your thoughts wholeheartedly. My only question is - What's "Big Bang'/

                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                            Its a TV show. One of the characters is an aspiring actress who works as a waitress at a CF. Its quite funny. There have been several scenes that are supposed to take place inside of the CF. If that's what one looks like and the menu items that are discussed on the show are real, I see no reason to go.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                              Generally speaking, I avoid restaurants with the word "Factory" in the name.

                                                                                                                              1. re: pauliface

                                                                                                                                I don't think Wells was trying to get a big bang out of the review or to create attention to the NYTimes. Frankly, I don't know what the motivation was to review the restaurant at all. As soon as I heard that Guy Fieri was opening a 500-seat restaurant in Times Square, I knew that it would, without a doubt, be horrific. So that it was slammed was a done deal before it was reviewed. In other words, tell us something we don't know.

                                                                                                                                1. re: salvati

                                                                                                                                  "As soon as I heard that Guy Fieri was opening a 500-seat restaurant in Times Square, I knew that it would, without a doubt, be horrific."

                                                                                                                                  Why? Because of the location, the size, that Fieri owns it? Have you eaten at his other restaurants? Have you had his food or know someone who has? I don't get the instant repulsion at Fieri, or the joy in his being taken down by this review.

                                                                                                                                  By the way, I don't criticize the review, either. I imagine that if the reviewer was impressed he would have written a good review. I don't assume he had an "agenda" as Fieri has suggested.

                                                                                                                                  But I don't get the automatic assumption that any restaurant Fieri owns would be "horrific."

                                                                                                                                  1. re: EarlyBird


                                                                                                                                    Because I've never seen a positive review of any of his other restaurants.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                      "Why? Because of the location, the size, that Fieri owns it? Have you eaten at his other restaurants? Have you had his food or know someone who has?"

                                                                                                                                      "But I don't get the automatic assumption that any restaurant Fieri owns would be "horrific." It's the combination of factors: Times Square, size, and a celebrity chef/showman who is now a very popular, coast to coast, brand. Really, was there a doubt?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                        "Why? Because of the location, the size, that Fieri owns it?"


                                                                                                                                    2. re: pauliface

                                                                                                                                      Sample size of three self-selectedly drawn from Chowhound. I can't argue with that: my hypothesis/assumption has been proven wrong. QED. :-)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MagicMarkR

                                                                                                                                        Did a check to see if there was a Cheesecake Factory in the city. Nothing in the five boroughs. Need to go to Hackensack or Yonkers to find one. Reinforces my point that the majority of readers of the Times probably don't eat at CF. the reviews in the Times are for restaurants that are in NYC. No CFs in NYC so not likely to seek it out.

                                                                                                                2. After reading that review, I cant wait to try this place out!!! So psyched for my next trip back to NYC.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: tpigeon

                                                                                                                    My general rule for New York dining is that it costs just as much to eat badly as to eat well, so why not eat well? Can't see what the attraction would be of trying such a place just to see if the review is over the top. You can be pretty sure you wont eat well and you'll spend a lot of money.

                                                                                                                  2. This is an extremely long thread and sorry if I am repeating something already posted but:

                                                                                                                    Has anyone mentioned Padgett Powell's Interrogative Mood?

                                                                                                                    On suspects it is the model for Wells's review:


                                                                                                                    1. Some of my cousins recently went to NYC and the highlight of their trip was eating at Margaritiville.

                                                                                                                      They thought it was wonderful. I thought it was a shame. Who am I to judge?

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                        Who are any of us to judge others on their food tastes? Most restaurants in the Times Square wasteland I would never enter. Now I would rather walk a few blocks west to 9th and 10th Avenue for real, cheap authentic food any day. But that's just me. Better Wells and the Times concentrated on those restaurants than waste very expensive ink on what was a predictable and easy whack job.

                                                                                                                        1. re: salvati

                                                                                                                          I don't care what other people eat or where they go to eat it, but will point out that a theme restaurant isn't just about the food. Most people don't go to Batali restaurants just for the food, nor do they go to the 4 Seasons just for the food, or even the restaurant at MOMA just for the food.

                                                                                                                          I actually think 9th & 10th Avs are just as hit and miss for food. I've eaten at a number of Chowhound recs in that direction, and some of the meals were quite disappointing.

                                                                                                                          The truth is that most foodies don't go to Times Square period, because atmosphere of the place is awful. Therefore, most foodies really have no idea where they might be able to ferret out acceptable and better eats within Times Square. If you know where to go and what to order at Toloache, BXL Cafe, Osteria al Doge and a few others, you can do better than some places I see recommended over and over on Chowhound closer to the river or on the periphery of Times Square.

                                                                                                                          1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                            So lets have these recs.

                                                                                                                      2. I thought the article was a cheap shot at Fieri. The language was too hyperbolic for me to take it seriously. The food at Guy's is probably mediocre but so are some other restaurants in the 1 and 2 star NY Times categories.

                                                                                                                        1. Many other newspapers, magazines and media outlets have written negative reviews of this particular restaurant, yet Wells made his review stand out. Why? It wasn’t just a pan, it was a funny and creatively written pan. How often have you seen a review written entirely in questions? I was reminded of Cole Porter’s song “Do I Love You?”, which is also a series of questions (Do I love you, do I? Doesn't one and one make two? Do I love you, do I? Does July need a sky of blue?). But Well’s review was quite long, yet it held your attention. Let’s face it, the average Chowhound foodie would have no interest in “Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar,” much less in reading a review of said restaurant. Yet everyone read it from beginning to end. It went viral. And people who have never even been to New York or heard of Guy Fieri read the review with glee. Well done, I say.

                                                                                                                          And in the end it may help the restaurant and Guy Fieri. Now that he’s been publicly shamed, maybe he’ll pay more attention to the food and drink and service being provided in an establishment bearing his name (whether or not he has anything to do with running the place). And maybe some of those other chains and celebrity franchises will take notice, too. You never know when the NY Times critic may be checking you out.

                                                                                                                          1. On the same day as Wells slammed the restaurant the NY Times hosted a party for 160 people at ......

                                                                                                                            ......wait for it .......

                                                                                                                            ....... Guy's American Kitchen.

                                                                                                                            First the Times denied it but then, no doubt because the restaurant could prove they were there, they fessed up. Wells must be real happy about this.


                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                              Apparently the event was originally planned for the TS Red Lobster, so, not sure Wells cares, other than that his ad team lacks good taste.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                I think "denied" and "fessed up" are a bit too strong of a comment, matter of fact the spokesperson said it was completely possible Times people were there.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Spiritchaser

                                                                                                                                  Let me quote their exact response -

                                                                                                                                  "We’re not aware of any Times event held at the restaurant last night. But, given its proximity to our offices, it’s entirely possible some small group of employees may have been there. And, that would be next to impossible for us to check."

                                                                                                                                  Next to impossible???

                                                                                                                                  Sure. Every night the Times hosts *hundreds* of events for 160 people. If would take weeks to track down each one of them.

                                                                                                                                  I have an alternate explanation. They checked and found out immediately that they had booked the restaurant. They were embarrassed by that in light of Wells' review and tried to dodge the question.

                                                                                                                                  The Times later admitted that they booked the restaurant, not for 160 people but for *200.* I guess they just forgot about that when the reporter first called.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                    I don't see why anyone at the Times would be embarrassed that one of its departments booked an event at a restaurant that was panned two months later by a writer for another department. If anything, that says something commendable about the separation of the paper's editorial and noneditorial operations.

                                                                                                                                    I also don't find it implausible that the company's media-relations office didn't know immediately about a dinner arranged by one of its business departments, which most likely have the autonomy (and budgeted funds) to hold such events on their own.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: squid kun

                                                                                                                                      Squid - you beat me to it. The article specifically notes two different spokespersons commenting on the event, first not knowing of it and the second stepping in to confirm it, two diferent departments. I work for a major corporation and I highly doubt the media department knows when product developement is hosting a party.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Spiritchaser

                                                                                                                                        "And next to impossible to check."


                                                                                                                                        You guys are cutting them *way* too much slack. This is a classic case of institutional embarrassment. If they stand behind their reviewer then they have to admit their employees have no taste. If they don't, they in effect say "that review is only one man's opinion."

                                                                                                                                        So they take the 3rd option and say "it's next to impossible to check" if we booked the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                          >If they stand behind their reviewer then they have to admit their employees have no taste. If they don't, they in effect say "that review is only one man's opinion."

                                                                                                                                          When it comes to opinion writing like reviews, the position of the NYT and most other news outlets is just as you suggest: "that review is only one man's opinion." Sure, they choose "one man" whom they consider best qualified and most knowledgeable, someone they hope readers will find credible. But what he writes is not meant to represent the monolithic palate and voice of the New York Times, which do not exist.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                            It is just one man's opinion!

                                                                                                                                            You think it's the institutional view of the New York Times? That would be an unsigned editorial, not a by-lined restaurant review.

                                                                                                                                            I doubt employees of the NY Times eat where Wells likes to eat anymore than employees go to movies A.O. Scott likes. (I believe the lunch was for ad buyers, not employees of the Times.)

                                                                                                                                            I hope you don't mind my asking, bob, but: Do you live in New Jersey? I'm developing a tracker of how many times people who live in New Jersey post on internet message board: "- - wait for it - -" (It follows the one I developed for how many times ones who live in NYC use "curate"). I have a theory these things are regionalisms.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                              I'm sorry to disappoint you. I don't live in New Jersey. I was born in the Bronx and have spent my whole life in New York City. I've spent lots of time in the UK as well and "wait for it" is a common anglicism. I picked it up there.

                                                                                                                                              I've been posting on CH since 1999. Check my CH profile.

                                                                                                                                              Back to Fieri and Wells. I think the NYT was clearly embarrassed to be caught patronizing Fieri's restaurant after Wells' screed. Wells basically called them all tasteless idiots.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: squid kun

                                                                                                                                          +1 squidkun

                                                                                                                                        3. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                          Church and state.

                                                                                                                                          Also, it would be next to impossible for the Times to account for where its employees gather to eat outside the building. Looks like the person first asked didn't understand the question was about an advertising dept event.

                                                                                                                                    2. Can we please get a motion to move this to the Food Media & News thread? Since, you know, the things the restaurant sends out from its kitchen is probably more accurately described as a media ploy than actual food?

                                                                                                                                      1. I did not expect more from Guy.

                                                                                                                                        1. Can a bunch of you take one for the team and go there and eat something and report back? I'm always looking for spots in Times Square to recommend to visitors. I have successfully convinced groups to go to Trattoria Trecolori instead of the Olive Garden. Saturday I brought a group of seven to Vice Versa and we enjoyed it very much. I'd like to hear first hand what some of you think of Fieri's place. I'm expecting it's lousy, but would would like your thoughts. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                            I've eaten there. It isn't any better than any other "fast casual" place. It also isn't any worse.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                              Maybe it would be better if folks ate at downtown restaurants hurt by the Storm and helped them with some income for a while? GF's nasty fare ain't going anywhere soon.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                Thanks sneak. MGZ, if I'm in midtown on a day trip, I need recs for midtown, not downtown.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                  Trish, I wasn't trying to be a "sneak" - it's just that living in a Sandy brutalized community and having just read this piece in the Atlantic:


                                                                                                                                                  I was hoping that folks in The City could simply divert their money for a couple weeks from the Times Square charade and "take one for the team" after that. The subways are working after all . . . .

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                    She was thanking the poster above you, not calling you a sneak. I had to check that twice to be sure. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, hey, there's only one Sneak in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                                                                                        Yes, but because Trish responded to MGZ (as noted in the upper right) there was confusion... I think we have this all sussed out now, though. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                          In fairness to Trish and I, I have been championing disaster relief - hence my defensive reply. Nevertheless, you are correct, she was not calling me a sneak and I misread her post. At bottom, however, let's all bail on going to Fieri's cash cow and help the low wage earners in Lower Manhattan with some nice tips.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                            Comments by Pete Wells: