I have absolutely no business reviewing restaurants. Consider the facts: I like Ramen noodles. I burn my meat. And I'm pretty sure the Klondike Bar is the pinnacle of modern cuisine.
I've also heard good things about Applebee's.
But when it comes to restaurant feedback, someone like me can just go online and write literally anything. And people might actually read it.
Over the past two days, the now-infamous New York Times review of Guy Fieri's new 500 seat Times Square restaurant Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar caught fire across the Twittersphere, blogs, morning shows and even David Letterman's Top 10, but the boisterous, spike-coiffed chef remained uncharacteristically silent, until now.
Fieri said in a statement released by his PR reps:
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri is no stranger to jabs at his over-the-top persona. From his first appearances as a contestant on "The Next Food Network Star" to his cross-country speaking tours and swelling empire of restaurants across California and on Carnival Cruise Lines, the spike-haired, flame-shirted, gravel-voiced 44-year-old has been a ubiquitous and polarizing presence on the American culinary (or in Fierian parlance, "kulinary") scene.
Fieri has taken his share of heat from comics, fellow chefs and critics alike for his bombastic delivery and monumentally macho food fixations - but perhaps never so pointedly and deftly as in New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells' review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square.
It took Jay Rayner around 700 words to lay waste to a Russian empire. In a blistering review of famed Moscow restaurateur Arkady Novikov's eponymous London outpost this past February, the Observer critic pronounced the establishment so "astoundingly grim you want to congratulate the kitchen on its incompetence" and compared its cuisine to cheap Chinese food. He was just getting warmed up.
“And so my advice to you. Don't go to Novikov. Keep not going. Keep not going a lot," Rayner wrote. "In a city with a talent for opening hateful and tasteless restaurants, Novikov marks a special new low. That's its real achievement.”
Harsh words, but for a professional restaurant critic, this was par for the course. As with any creative medium, the culinary arts are subjected to critical judgments. With the good, comes the bad. Or in the case of Novikov, the “very, very bad.”
You may recognize Alan Richman's name from his 25 years as GQ Magazine's restaurant critic, his numerous James Beard Journalism Awards (including the Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award he won just last week) or his highly publicized "Best New Restaurants in America" and "10 Best Restaurants in New York" lists. You may be acquainted with his 2004 anthology of food essays "Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater" or his classes at the French Culinary Institute, where he serves as Dean of Food Journalism and New Media.
But, if you're not an obsessive follower of food literature, you probably know Alan Richman as the guy who got a Sazerac thrown in his face on an episode of Treme. The casting was hardly an accident.
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