Last week UPROXX reader and overall internet gadfly Bobby Big Wheel, an attorney based in New York who doubles as SB Nation’s crack legal analyst, emailed us to say that he was planning on visiting Guy Fieri’s new big douchey restaurant in Times Square — Guy’s American Bar And Kitchen — on opening night with a few friends. He asked if we’d like him to review it for us. Well of course we would, silly! What follows is his dispatch from what, to the surprise of no one, sounds like nothing short of culinary hell. (Photo above via Eater’s Greg Morabito)
A few weeks ago one of my co-workers told me about a hidden gem on 37th street; a man serving authentic Dominican food out of a loading dock. A hearty portion of oxtail, rice and beans, red sauce and a Coke runs about $7, and you wait for your food as hulking delivery men bring packages to the freight elevator. It was both cheap and authentic, a rarity for a New York Midtown lunch, which is dominated by chain fast food joints, reheated deli crap and MSG-laden Chinese. I went there for lunch on Monday and it was delicious.
But for dinner I went 7 blocks north of this loading dock to the heart of Times Square, an area shunned by locals because it teems with slow-walking tourists and overpriced kitsch (we prefer fast-walking New Yorkers and overpriced everything else). I was here for the opening night of Guy Fieri’s 500-seat monstrosity of a new restaurant. Guy’s American Bar and Kitchen is flimsy and garish. The menu is a hodgepodge that appears to be designed by focus group, where Steak Diane (a dish made famous by Julia Child) shares room with Tequila Turkey Fettucine and Sashimi Tacos.
I tried Fieri’s food because I always wondered if there was a real person underneath the frosted tip exterior. Fieri grew up the son of hippie parents and burnished his culinary skills in UNLV’s well-regarded hospitality program. Somewhere along the way he became a mascot for the Middle American lowbrow, and the lawsuit against him paints him as a knuckle-dragging dope. Of course, lawsuits have a way of painting people in a negative light; there had to be some happy medium where Guy could show us that he can run a decent restaurant. Maybe he could prove all of the haters wrong with Guy’s American Bar and Kitchen, showing the coastal elites that he was a legitimate cook.
So I took food and drink experts Rob Iracane and Kris Liakos to Guy’s American Bar and Kitchen on its opening night. We knew that there would be some opening night hiccups but we wanted to be the first to see if Guy was ready for his closeup. He isn’t, and I doubt he ever will be. Check out all the stuff we ate and drank.
Morgan’s Red Ale
Guy teamed up with Heartland Brewery (a New York City chain) on the restaurant so you’d expect good beer and this was no exception, hoppy and balanced, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars on Untappd. Still, for $7.50 it’s the least that you could expect.
El Jefe Weizen
I’m not much of a Hefeweizen guy but Iracane is and he said this option was good as well. Still, check out that logo on the glass.
South Beach Mojito
Ideally the mojito balances out the rum taste with mintiness and it ends up tasting like a fresher gin and tonic. Guy’s version doesn’t. Instead it uses “Bacardi Artic” (not sure if the spelling error is on purpose) and a blueberry reduction with mint fizz (read: syrup) and a single sprig of mint. It’s overly sweet, like something an Arizona State sorority girl would make for a Sex and the City viewing party.
Another subpar drink. It’s got too many cilantro bits (who puts cilantro bits in a margarita?) in it and lacks depth. It seemed like something you’d drink while you were on a cleanse.
Big Island Punch
The second worst drink that we had. Rob said it was perfect for a “Missouri hausfrau.” It tasted like Triaminic.
French Roast Martini
Kris and I split on this one, he thought they did a good job but I thought it was a bit watery. Also, they sprinkle white chocolate on it for no good reason. I mean, if you’re going to put chocolate in this, why not use actual chocolate? White chocolate is wuss chocolate.
Jimmy Fallon’s Creamsicle
Kris: “If this is what Jimmy Fallon drinks when he goes out no wonder he’s so bad at comedy.” This syrupy sludge was the worst thing that any of us drank.
Rob didn’t trust raw fish from Guy Fieri, so if Kris and I die of food poisoning you’ll know that these did us in. They’re edible, but when you eat them all that you can think is “why am I eating sashimi in a taco?” Also, take a look at how tiny they are when I hold one in my hand. It’s not like I’m Andre the Giant, and those tacos cost $3 each. For $3 I can get a burrito that’s bigger than my fist at a place near my apartment.
Fries in buffalo sauce sound like a good idea but the execution was poor — they came out limp and soggy. Also we barely got any of the wasabi bleu cheese dipping sauce.
Unyawns Cajun Chicken Ciabatta
Shoutout to our waiter for taking it in stride when I laughed as I said this item in my order. But Guy Fieri doesn’t get a shoutout because this is the standard crap you’d get at any Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag. I only ordered it because of the stupid name and because it came with “donkey sauce.” Whatever “donkey sauce” is, it’s bland. Big Mac special sauce is a step up.
Tequila Turkey Fettucine
One of the most ridiculous menu items was the best thing that we had. The turkey was moist and the tequila added depth to the alfredo sauce. Everything in the item worked well together and it was the only clean plate of the night for us.