The art of the brutal restaurant review

We’ve all read negative reviews. Some of us have even written a few.

But daaaaaaaayum: The New York Times’ recent hatchet job of Food Network star Guy Fieri’s new Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar takes it to another level.


It’s hilarious. And relentlessly harsh.

To borrow Times writer Pete Wells' string-of-questions interview shtick:

Pete, has any review been more negative in the entire history of food service? I love the hate, but did you consider penning about half as many words so that we wouldn’t feel bloated after reading? Oh, and can we please see a video of Mr. Fieri weeping?

As the man in charge of restaurant reviewers for the Idaho Statesman, I’ve dealt with my share of angry restaurant owners. To this day, a bad review has the power to slice out an eatery's heart.

But the Times piece is crazy to the point it's being covered by other media. My favorite line is from the Los Angeles Times, which says, "with questions such as, 'Does this make it sound as if everything at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar is inedible?' it's unclear how Fieri could possibly answer them with anything other than possibly a middle finger."

Readers want reviews. And restaurants want reviews — unless they’re negative. Then it's often rage time. The Statesman lost an advertiser because of a mixed review published last month — with a positive headline, no less. (Go ahead. Try to guess which eatery.) That’s life. Compared to the Times piece, it was a fawning endorsement.

I wonder if Mr. Fieri will take the Times review as constructive criticism?