There's a good chance you've already read the review, but there's also a good chance you very much enjoyed reading it, so here are a couple of helpings of the delightfully unctuous snark to roll around in like a pig in shit:
Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex? When you saw the burger described as "Guy's Pat LaFrieda custom blend, all-natural Creekstone Farm Black Angus beef patty, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty-cheese) and a slathering of Donkey Sauce on garlic-buttered brioche," did your mind touch the void for a minute?
Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? If you hadn't come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds? Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?
Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?
When you hung that sign by the entrance that says, WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN!, were you just messing with our heads?
It goes on, and gets plenty worse. The consensus amongst readers has, for the most part, been that Wells is hilarious and Fieri - who already happens to resemble a human incarnation of the Sun - got burned and good.
I guess I'm not quite as impressed with the lashing.
I've made a nice, little hobby of making fun of Guy Fieri. (See here.) I call it a hobby because, like needlepoint or antiquing or coin collecting, it's fun and easy. See, there's not a single thing about Guy Fieri that suggests he expects to be taken seriously as a gourmand. The hair. The clothes. The catchphrases. The fact that he has a garish, 500-seat restaurant in Times Square, NYC's very own Black Hole of Calcutta. The restaurant is so proudly overpriced (even if the food was good, it would be overpriced), tawdry, and touristy, and I have a hard time believing that a seasoned NYT critic entered the building expecting to be satisfied by the dining experience. And, look! It turned out to be awful! But even if Fieri's public shaming is justified, the exercise still seems kind of boring, predictable, and, dare I say it, a little bit mean.
You know at the bottom of Yelp reviews how it asks, "Did you find this review helpful? Funny? Cool?"
Funny, I suppose. Cool, maybe a stretch. Helpful, not really.
Fieri fired back at Wells on the Today show, saying, "I'm doing the type of food America loves, and I'm doing it the right way." He added that he's not really expecting the restaurant to knock people's socks off, because it's only been open for two months. He also added that Wells is kind of a dick: "It's a great way to make a name for yourself: go after a celebrity chef that's not a New Yorker that's doing a big concept in his second month."
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Love it. He's my hero of the week.