Guy Fieri, the spiky bleach-blond host of the Food Network's hit show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", is firing back after New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells' penned a scathing, sarcastic review of his new New York City eatery, saying the man had a "different agenda."
The article contains 50 question marks and a slew of cynical comments about the dishes, such as "Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?" "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?" and "Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?"
Fieri said on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday, November 15, that he found the review "ridiculous."
"I mean, I've read reviews," he said. "There's good and there's bad in the restaurant business, but that, to me, went so overboard, it really seemed like there was another agenda. The tone, the sarcasm, the question style."
"I mean, I think we all know what's going on here," Fieri added. "I mean, he came in with a different agenda. Came in four times to a restaurant that's been open two months? That's tough times. I mean, especially this size of a restaurant."
Wells has not responded publicly to Fieri's comments. Guy's American Kitchen & Bar seats about 500 people and is one of 11 restaurants Fieri owns. He has seven in his native state of California.
He went on to say that he spent more than a year designing the menu, which boasts items such as the $13.50 "Ain't No Thing Butta Chicken Wing" appetizer and signature dishes such as the $22.50 "BBQ Buffalo Meatloaf" and the $24.50 "Motley Que Ribs." He also said he trained his workers himself.
On the review site Yelp, Guy's American Kitchen & Bar has a 2.5 star rating out of a possible five and 70 reviews. One of the reviewers who gave it five stars wrote: "EXCELLENT SERVICE. I had the toasted marshmello and it was good. did not taste like fish (sic)."
Several of Fieri's signature Johnny Garlic's eateries in California were given ratings that ranged between 2.5 and 3.5 stars.
"Do we strive to be the best? Yes," Fieri said on the "Today" show. "To me, it's impossible to come in and have a dining experience and have every single thing wrong unless you come in with a different agenda and you want to sensationalize something and you want to blow it out of the water. It's a great way to make a name for yourself - go after a celebrity chef that's not a New Yorker, that's doing a big concept in his second month."
"I stand by my food," he added. "I stand by my team. We'll continue to do great."