In an earlier post at weeklystandard.com, I speculated that the New York Times‘s scathing review of Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant might not necessarily be a death knell. After all, it’s Times Square, and tourists who are let out onto Broadway will need a place to eat, and Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar is hard to miss—as is the enormous sign that reads “Flavor Town.” Mary Katharine Ham joked on Twitter that locals would now go there to be ironic. Based on a recent BusinessWeek column by Claire Suddath, she’s right—the natives are going, though mostly out of curiosity.
Brooklyn-based attorney Nneka Udoh visited Times Square last Saturday to, as she put it, “see if Pete Wells was just writing that review to get attention.” She dined with a party of seven, including a sister who lives in New Jersey and likes chain restaurants such as Chili’s and Applebee’s, and is a faithful Guy Fieri fan. “She’s exactly the type of person this restaurant should be marketed to,” Udoh says. But even her sister agreed that the mediocre chicken wings and entrees weren’t up to her usual strip-mall standards. “The drinks were strong,” Udoh says. “We ordered a lot of them to make up for the fact that we didn’t like our food.” The final bill was over $400.
Another customer interviewed by Suddath described the beet salad as “pretty decent” but said the turkey was “flavorless” and seemingly cooked in a microwave. He also recommended Suddath take some Ex-Lax before sampling the fare herself. And while the reporter enjoyed the ribs, she noted that her nachos “looked potentially delicious when they arrived, but within five minutes the melted cheese congealed and the tortillas deflated.” She went on, “The chicken tenders were labeled on the menu as ‘awesome’—quote marks included—but tasted nothing like that, unless they meant awesomely microwaved.”
No doubt Fieri would argue he needs more time to work out all the kinks—but it sounds like he ought to do something about that menu before folks stop being curious and walk down the street to Planet Hollywood.
Hat tip: Mike Warren