Not a diner. Nor a drive-in. No, merely a dive.
That’s the essence of the already-infamous review New York Times food critic Pete Wells gave to Guy Fieri’s new, apparently horrifically bad, “restaurant” in Times Square.
The review has been spreading like wildfire on the Internet since it was published online Tuesday night, thanks to the unabashed manner in which Wells rips apart the restaurant’s lacklustre service, strange drinks and disappointing food, including servers who fail to clear dirty plates, toasted marshmallows that taste like fish and a watermelon margarita that tastes like “some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde.”
The entire article is structured as a series of questions, each conveying an ever-growing sense of confusion as to how a Food Network demigod and self-proclaimed king of greasy American comfort food could put his name on a restaurant that manages to screw up nachos, serves cold, oil-clogged French fries and basically misses the entire dart board, not just the mark, on everything that comes out of the kitchen.
Some people are asking whether the piece went too far while others have rallied to Fieri’s defence. On Fieri’s Facebook page, numerous fans have posted messages of support, such as PA Staley, who wrote “I would ignore the New York Times report. I along with apparently a whole lot of other folks loves [sic] you, your shows and recipes. You can’t please everyone.”
Wells explained to Poynter.org in an interview Wednesday that after visiting Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar four times, he was so baffled by the poor food and service that he decided to pose the article as a series of questions aimed directly at Fieri.
On one of his visits to the restaurant, a colleague of Wells remarked that it was “psychedelically bad,” according to Poynter.
Although some online commenters have complained the review was written for foodie snobs who don’t necessarily “get” Fieri, Wells pointed out that he loves classic American dishes – and was disappointed to see them being screwed up so badly at his massive Times Square restaurant.
Fieri hasn’t publicly addressed Review Gate yet, but after the New York Post published an unfavourable review of the same restaurant last month, Fieri rose to his own defence.
“I know the success of my food. I mean, you can’t have eight restaurants and be doing it wrong, or that wrong.”