Pete Wells vs. Guy Fieri: A New Kind of Food Review?
By now, you’ve probably read about Pete Wells’ takedown of Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant in the New York Times. If you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should – it’s a one-sided Socratic debate that will make you want to be a food snob:
“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?”
In my opinion, it was easily the most awesome restaurant review I’ve ever read. Heartily honest, brutal and hilarious – a far cry from the typical “atmosphere – service – food” formula we’ve come to expect from most critics. However, Fieri is an easy target, so I’m not sure that this really spells a revolution in food critique. He’s so over-the-top that he’s a caricature of himself, and it’s not surprising that the New York Times isn’t impressed by his far-from-intellectual approach to cuisine. Nor is it particularly daring to make fun of someone who makes a living eating ungodly amounts of fried food and hollering about it’s awesomeness.
Nonetheless, the war that’s emerged (well, really, the entertainment, as Fieri is simply floundering to pin a conspiracy theory on Wells) is pretty fun to watch. SNL even got in on the action with this great unaired sketch:
So, what do you think? Is this a new era of clever, brutally honest reviews or simply a chance to bully an easy target? Did you laugh at the review, or do you like Guy Fieri? More importantly, do you wear sunglasses on the back of your head?