Only an asshole would review a restaurant when it first opens. Expecting greatness right out of the gates is insane. Some establishments need a few months to find their groove. Most critics didn’t allow Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar that time to hone its craft—they wanted to be taken to Flavor Town from day one. The restaurant was hammered by the critics for not finding greatness immediately, the same way some bashed the Miami Heat for taking a year to learn how to dominate. Well, unlike the cowards who piled on Guy when he was down, we decided to give him time to find his stride.
Lance: If you’ve spent your life secretly wishing you could moonlight as an upscale white trash connoisseur, look no further.
Reggie: We totally blew it by not having Bobby Moynihan come with us. I heard from a reliable source that his appearance fee is pretty reasonable. Guess it will be another day without realizing my lifelong dream of being a viral video star.
J. Camm: The moment I laid eyes on the subtle, 30ft. tall marquee outside all I thought was, “My GAWD, this place reeks of decadence. Andy was right to have worn a shirt and tie.”
Brandon: I have so many questions. For starters, I was confused by the merch counter by the door. Did I just walk into a restaurant or an Ed Hardy outlet store? Also, glimpsing over the menus, why does this guy need to name everything like such an asshole? Why do the pulled pork sliders have to be spelled “slyders”? This is exactly what I expect from someone who wears Oakley sunglasses on the back of his head.
Andy: Yes, I wore a shirt and tie. Would you wear overalls to LIV? The wait staff appreciated my decorum. They nodded to this shirt, currently on sale, and I said I’d pick it up on the way out.
Lance: They wanted you to buy stuff that would work very well with a paint-stained sleeveless short worn by a guy who no longer bothers to keep his beer gut in shape. Make purchases, then build your life around them accordingly.
Reggie: I don’t want to say I didn’t expect any trucker hats for purchase, but I am taken aback by the sheer volume. The interior decorator seems to have taken the traditional kitschy neighborhood joint and layered on the cheese. In fact, I am pretty sure I see some fake deer heads over there. Guy probably put the real ones in a hearty stew or something.
J.Camm: This place is a terrorist’s worst nightmare. Everywhere you turn ‘Merica slaps you in the face, Fieri style. So yeah, I would say the decor theme of the restaurant is American with a hint of low-budget erotica.
Brandon: I was pretty transfixed by the wall of faux metallic taxidermy. I spent a good bit of the meal staring at a wall with massive, oversized deer and elk busts, but all were crafted out of metal rather than being, um, the real deal. Doesn’t seem very Guy-like to not have real dead animals hanging up on the walls. You think a guy as legendary as Guy would take some pride in hunting down his own prey.
Andy: The place is about the size of Disneyland. They’ll never fill it.
Lance: Went for some sort of Island Punch thing. Good, but didn’t fit the setting. Opted for the house porter after round one. Great call. Like fresh legs in the 60th minute, and the substitution proved the difference.
Reggie: The house porter is pretty smooth. Is that a hint of vanilla tickling my taste buds? Guys, I think that’s Al Roker. WHY IN THE NAME OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MY NECK OF THE WOODS is he here? Should he be here? I think I’m going to stress-drink myself into oblivion until we figure this out.
J. Camm: What Lance failed to mention is how he double-ordered me. Cocksucking, no good prick. And the drink was called the Big Island Punch and it was a Big Fucking Travesty. Nothing more than rum punch.
Brandon: Like Reggie, I went for the “Not Tonight Honey Porter,” which I presume is a beer Guy brews himself. I thought it was a little malty, but something has to punch the ticket to Flavor Town.
Andy: After being told BroBible would be picking up the tab, I ordered two $16 “El Presidente” margaritas, made with Avion Silver, St. Germain, and Grand Marnier. The breakdown was around 70% liquor, 30% sugar. It was delicious. They really make a big deal about the presentation, too: If you’re gunning for the “What a Bored Housewife Would Order While Desperately Trying to Cheat on Her Husband in Cancun” look, it’s a quality order.
(Also, everyone caught what Reggie said, right? We ate in the same Times Square restaurant as Al Roker. His stapled stomach is not built for Guy’s. Our concerns for his health changed the entire experience.)
Apps: We shared the “Awesome” Pretzel Chicken Tenders and BUFFALO BLEU-SABI Wings
Lance: The wings were what my friend who says the word “dawg” a lot would call “bomb ass.” Hella flavor. Drowned out the wasabi bleu cheese, though that’s not on the wings, really. Takes awhile for the rest of the world to catch up to greatness.
Reggie: We had the Pretzels With a Lot of Shit on Them and the Chicken Wings. They were both edible. One could argue that each contained more adjectives than flavor.
J. Camm: Was I pleased with the apps? Initially, no. The presentation was sub-par and until I realized the blue-cheese was wasbi-infused I just thought its green hue was courtesy of mold. However, I actually liked the taste of what we were served; the wings were cooked to perfection and you’d have to try to fuck up a chicken tender. After we ate the apps, I was actually thinking that someday I might come back here…and not ironically either.
Brandon: Setting myself to be made fun of here, but back when Guy’s American opened, I watched an episode of Andy Cohen Live where Jimmy Fallon brought Guy’s pretzel chicken tenders on-air and geeked out about how great they were. I mean, they were OK, but no better than the chicken fingers I order from my neighborhood 24-hour diner at 3 A.M. Jimmy Fallon, you’re full of shit.
Andy: The pretzel chicken tenders sucked. It made me miss the out-of-bounds flavors of a finely fried Chili’s Crisper. The wings were much better—legitimately as good as any you’ll get at a wing joint in the city. 1-for-2 is a HOF shooting percentage.
Lance: I noticed a considerable pupil dilation when our waiter Gibb when told us about the Volcano chicken. To this day, I believe trusting Gibb was not a mistake. However, the was more like a failed third grade science class volcano than an actual one. To say the chicken was comparable to Dwight Howard’s season with the Lakers wouldn’t be a stretch. Though to be fair, the veggies were dazzling and the mash potatoes were a bigger revelation than the sundried tomato aoli at a Peter Klaven open house.
Reggie: For some reason, I decided to make a “healthy” choice with the salmon. At least I think it was salmon. On the menu it said GUY next to it, so perhaps there are actual bits of the man in each plate. If so, my meal was awesome. If not, it was a fine thing to put into my mouth and swallow. Not worth the money, though, if there wasn’t any human meat in there.
J. Camm: For the main event I wanted to stick with something that you might see on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives— really authenticate the trip, you know? So while Lance and Reggie made awful fucking entree choices, I opted for a sandwich. I found myself torn between the Pulled Pork Slyders (spelled incorrectly in honor of Stallone?) and The Big Dipper sandwich, an absolute must-order if you like French Dips or you’re looking to take a massive coronary mid meal. Of course, since this is Guy’s AMERICAN Kitchen, the word French is nowhere on the fucking menu. Armed with the desire to leave dinner puking into my hand, I chose The Big Dipper. It came in two halves, each weighed a merciless 15-pounds. It was a meat, cheese, crispy onion and bread concoction from hell. And it was fuckin’ delicious. I ate the entire thing fully aware that decision would end in peril.
Brandon: After a lot of deliberation, I went with the Motley Que Ribs, or “house smoked St.Louis ribs glazed with Guy’s Signature BBQ sauce. Served with crispy slaw + seasoned fries.” I figured ribs are a “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” staple, so how could Guy possibly fuck this up? Plus, it had a seal of approval next to it, which cleverly mindfucked the choice-making part of my brain. It was a massive pile of meat doused in a tangy BBQ sauce, complimented by a heap of fries.Having had some delicious ribs in St. Louis before, I can compare the quality to the ribs you’d get in, say, an Applebees. For starters, there was too much saucee. Secondly, it was more of a fatty spare rib rather than a deliciously tender babyback rib. Of course, this was my own stupid fault for not asking, but I walked away feeling pretty meh about it.
Andy: I also ordered the Motley Que ribs, because ordering different plates for review purposes would make too much sense. It was maybe the largest plate of food I’ve ever seen in my life. It was the kind of meal where you’re mentally preparing yourself to be the bitch and ask for a to-go box as soon as it’s placed in front of you. The ribs were fatty, and the glaze was a standard BBQ sheen. (Guy really goes over-the-top with adjectives to describe “signature” flavors. They’re, for the most part, ignorable.)
I’d say skip ‘em, and go for one of the sandwiches or burgers instead. Something with “donkey sauce.” At least it’ll make for a better story. You’re paying a shitload of money for that anyway.
Reggie: No thanks?
J. Camm: For dessert, I went to the bathroom and splashed water on my face.
Brandon: Another beer, please.
Andy: I sat and quietly considered what a Tuesday night puke-and-rally would say about my life/what my parents would think about me.
Lance: Rough morning, but with the euphoria that comes with a heavy night of drinking. Couldn’t help but admire the end product.
Reggie: Despite a willing indifference to what could be categorized as Twitter badgering, Guy didn’t show up to meet us, which was a disappointment. Outside of that, the experience was pleasant. With 290,291 restaurant options in Manhattan, it seems like there needs to be a reason you’re at this restaurant. Some people were there earnestly, others were there ironically, and Roker was there because, well, we don’t know why. /Continues to drink. As long as you find yours, it’s a good place to jam shit into your tummy.
J. Camm: I wanted to hate it, but I kind of loved it. Great place to gorge on bold flavors. If it weren’t situated in hell (Times Square) I would actually consider going back. Also, the moment I woke up the next day I took an asshole-shifting shit for the ages — the kind that might actually require me to get my spine re-aligned soon.
Brandon: The color of my poop was scary the next morning. I believe crayola would call the shade “smokey topaz.” Never again.
Andy: The elitist hatred toward Guy Fieri and his restaurant should only apply for a 20-minute refractory period after you eat there. That 20 minutes are incredibly painful to your stomach, your small intestines, and your butt, and I can understand why you’d want to curse his name during that stretch.
Once you power through, however, you should step back and enjoy Guy’s for what it is: An out-of-bounds journey through Flavor Town. I am a fan.