The New Year’s ball wasn’t the only thing to drop in Times Square on Sunday. The curtain went down for the last time on Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, the restaurant birthed in 2012 by Food Network star Guy Fieri (pronounced “fi-etti” … at least if you’re him).
What most surprises me about the closing is that I had no idea that the restaurant had survived the unremittingly blistering reviews it received when it opened. New York Times critic Pete Wells not only gave it a rating of poor, the paper’s lowest possible, but the text — which is directed at Fieri himself — is almost painful to read. An example:
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?
Wells was equally unmerciful about the beverage menu:
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?
According to the Associated Press (via New York’s Daily News), Fieri gave no reason for the restaurant’s closure but did say that he was proud of the millions of patrons he served during its five-year tenure.
Based on Wells’s take, maybe Fieri should have checked to see how many patrons survived the experience before assigning a number to them.