Most Brutal Restaurant Review Ever

New York Times Restaurant critic Pete Wells decided to check out the new restaurant opened in Times Square by Food Network personality Guy Fieri, and came away so unimpressed that he penned perhaps the most brutal review any restaurant has ever seen:

GUY FIERI, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square? Have you pulled up one of the 500 seats at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar and ordered a meal? Did you eat the food? Did it live up to your expectations?

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?

Did you notice that the menu was an unreliable predictor of what actually came to the table? Were the “bourbon butter crunch chips” missing from your Almond Joy cocktail, too? Was your deep-fried “boulder” of ice cream the size of a standard scoop?

What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?

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?

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?

When you have a second, Mr. Fieri, would you see what happened to the black bean and roasted squash soup we ordered?

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?

At your five Johnny Garlic’s restaurants in California, if servers arrive with main courses and find that the appetizers haven’t been cleared yet, do they try to find space for the new plates next to the dirty ones? Or does that just happen in Times Square, where people are used to crowding?

If a customer shows up with a reservation at one of your two Tex Wasabi’s outlets, and the rest of the party has already been seated, does the host say, “Why don’t you have a look around and see if you can find them?” and point in the general direction of about 200 seats?

What is going on at this new restaurant of yours, really?

More at the link.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Actually, back in the day I used to write restaurant reviews (under a pseudonym) in Richmond and in Portland.

    That’s a pretty mean review, but I’ve written meaner.

  2. @michael reynolds:

    I do like how the whole review was a series of ever more brutal questions.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    The toughest restaurant review I’ve ever seen was also the shortest:

    “Unfortunately, the portions were large.”

  4. nitpicker says:

    Bourdain called it a “terror-dome.”

  5. Janis Gore says:

    I ‘ve had one of those blue drinks at a party in Natchez. i discreetly poured it over the railing of the veranda.

  6. Bennett says:

    Never trust a man who wears sunglasses on the back of his head.

  7. nitpicker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Actually, the best line (IMHO) is when he describes the service at the end: “The well-meaning staff seems to realize that this is not a real restaurant.”

  8. The sad thing is that this review probably won’t impact the restaurant at all. It’s a tourist-trap restaurant in Times Square, I’m sure it will do gangbusters

  9. Geek, Esq. says:

    I’m guessing this boosts business.

    But, this is not so good for Guy Fieri’s brand.

    Maybe an episode of Restaurant Impossible is in the offing.

  10. sam says:

    All he needs now is for Gordon Ramsey to show up offering his assistance…

  11. @nitpicker:

    I don’t really trust Bourdain’s judgement as a reviewer. He is, by his own admission, an unrepenetant iconoclast.

  12. @Geek, Esq.:

    I watch The Food Network on occasion. Never really been a Guy Fieri fan

  13. Anderson says:

    If you’re eating near Times Square, go one block west of this Fieri tourist trap and eat at Virgil’s, which my Mississippi friends refuse to believe is the best BBQ evah. Ribs, pulled pork, and brisket all superb.

  14. Davebo says:

    Copy, Paste, Cha Ching!

  15. CSK says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Reminds me of a book review by Mark Twain, which read, if memory serves: “Unfortunately, the covers of this book were too far apart.”

  16. DC Loser says:

    Why in the world would anyone other than a tourist want to eat in this place? If I wanted a burger, I’d go to the nearest Irish pub and have a greasy burger with a tall glass of Bass or Guinness.

  17. Janis Gore says:

    The drink I had comprised blue curacao and blueberry liqueur, IIRC. His was probably blue curacao and some sort of watermelon liqueur.

    Any mouthwash or cologne would taste better.

  18. Peter says:

    Fieri’s best option for a response:

    “I am seated in the smallest room in the house. Your review is in front of me. Soon it will be behind me.”