When humanoid monster truck Guy Fieri opened his newest restaurant in Times Square this fall, you could practically hear critics all across New York City sharpening their knives. The joint is a ready-made, “Donkey Sauce”-covered punchline for writers hungry for a creative way to express disdain — who could resist a 500-seat macho wonderland that serves monstrosities with names like “Ain’t No Thing Butta Chicken Wing” and “Guy-talian Nachos”?
But even in context, the New York Times‘s review of Guy’s American Kitchen stands alone. It’s so contemptuous, so angry, and so hilarious that it rivals the paper’s bitchiest greatest hits — articles like A. O. Scott’s review of Good Luck Chuck or Cintra Wilson’s takedown of a new J.C. Penney in Herald Square.
Don’t believe me? Here are a few of the best lines from food critic Pete Wells’s piece, which is written as a series of breathless, incredulous questions for Guy Fieri himself:
— “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?”
— “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?”
— “Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret … called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?”
— “And when we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?”
— “Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?”
And, finally, the kicker: “Is this how you roll in Flavor Town?”
The review was published online yesterday; read it in all its indignant glory here. As of this morning, Wells’s article has not been added to the clips in the “Press” section of Guy’s American Kitchen’s website.