Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar in New York is Beyond Bad

Upside down shot of burger.

I’m sure New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells doesn’t need my validation of his scathing review of Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar. But last Thursday I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t a premeditated meal, it was purely spontaneous act. I’d gone to New York to see some plays and stayed near Times Square because I wanted to be able to walk to the theaters. I had no interest in doing anything else except read and sleep. I  wanted to rest my palate and stay away from fine dining. That’s easy to do in Times Square. However, my friend and I passed Fieri’s 500-seat behemoth of a restaurant several times a day and we couldn’t resist trying it out.

I’ll be brief: three of us sat down at 1:30 on Thursday and there were 28 people in the restaurant. We split an order of egg rolls, a hamburger, and a bowl of tortilla soup. I spit out the one bite I took of the eggroll. The consistency of the meat was mushy, almost liquid like regurgitated cat food. The $18.50 burger MAY have had a quarter pound of meat somewhere between those thick buns with a bouffant of iceberg lettuce strands created by running it through a meat slicer which is pure lettuce abuse.

I realize Fieri has helped a lot of mom and pop restaurants get huge boosts in their business after appearing on his Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I’m sure underneath all of that Paul Dean-style jargon such as “Go Big or Go Home” encouraging diners to eat fried food there is an artery-clogged heart of gold, but his investors can’t be too happy with the crap coming out of the kitchen. Or the fact that the restaurant was dead every time we passed it. The swag shop alone is bigger than most Dallas restaurants. American Kitchen & Bar feels like it’s trying to be the new Hard Rock Café.  If you find yourself staying in a hotel in Times Square and you pass the place four times a day, stay away. You’re better off at Carmine’s next door.


  • twinwillow

    Maybe Guy Fieri needs to get help from Robert Irvine and his “Restaurant Impossible” show.

  • AMM5226

    What shows did you see?

  • DSideDish

    I ate no place delicious. Well, I ate a piece of cheesecake from Junior’s. I saw Glengarry Glen Rose, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, and Stephen Colbert taping. Amy, Times Square is the perfect place for Fieri. Total tourist trap.

    • blissful

      I’m so jealous you went to a Stephen Colbert taping!

    • AmyS

      Which is why there is Jean Georges. Foie gras heaven.

  • twinwillow

    In NYC, I’d be happy with “dirty water” hot dogs and a Yoo-Hoo from a Sabrett cart.

  • AmyS

    With Colbert, who needs ice cream. Really.

  • Fladabosco

    I live in N. CA not too far from Fieri’s hometown. He has two restaurants in the area, Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s. I would never eat in restaurants with those names. Sounds like gourmet TGI Fridays or CrApplebees. N. CA food is about freshness and respect for ingredients, not a four story greaseburger. I like his show but his tastes run to extremely fatty and salty food. It’s like watching a prison show. very interesting but I wouldn’t want to be there.

  • DalTer

    Did you mean to say “Paula Deen-style jargon…”?

  • cyndvs

    Nancy and others who, as we do, have to have a NYC “theatre fix” at least once a year….please try Westway Diner (in the Hell’s Kitchen area) at 614 9th Avenue (between 43rd-44th). We’ve (and lots of NYC locals) have been eating there for a long time. A very big menu with lots of choices, great/friendly wait-staff, and great food. This is where we had our T-giving Dinner this past November. Also close by there is Don Giovanni’s a really good Italian place. And, of course, for a great burger and lots of homemade soup choices you can’t beat the Edison Cafe (the locals there refer to it as the Polish Tea Room), but bring your cash…no credit cards. Great breakfast specials at Evergreen Diner right across B’way from Edison Hotel. We have our faves and eat quite well for not too much money!
    And, yes, we did eat at Guy’s last November. Will not recommend it either.

  • Steve Davis

    Sorry Guy, these leads are for closers.

  • Twinwillow

    When I grew up in NYC, the term “Dirty Water” hot dogs was a term of endearment. I don’t need anyone telling me how good the (tap) water is in NYC. I drank it for the first 25 years of my life. It was like butta!

  • Orlando Trinidad Jr

    You would have been better off heading in the opposite direction toward John’s Pizzeria. You could also try going to Cafe Zaiya a cafe on Library way that makes everything on the premises, even their bread (be warned though this cafe closes around 5pm).

  • blissful

    Dallas tap water is fine. I cannot for the life of me buy water. If you live in India, clean water is an issue, not in Dallas.

  • twinwillow

    Beda, I agree that Dallas’ tap water is perfectly fine to drink, heath wise. But, I have a four filter reverse osmosis filtered water treatment system under my sink and I must say, the flavor is now very much improved. And, they’re very reasonably priced at Costco.

  • Guest

    I live near Times Square, and I actually want to try Guy Fieri’s just to know what this is all about. Lots of local people seem to be going there out of curiosity. I love fine dining, but admit I enjoy a chain restaurant every now and again, so I want to see if it is really that bad.

    For anyone reading these comments that really wants to try a GOOD restaurant near the theaters in NYC, please walk to Ninth Avenue. For some reason, all the tourists seem to be afraid to cross 8th, so they go to these horrible, overpriced hideous restaurants in Times Square, when there is delicious, cheap food to be had on 9th.

    Some of my favorites:
    Ajisai – good for cheap Japanese, amazing rolls
    Cara Mia – yummy Italian with many homemade pastas
    Balkanika – fun Balkan cuisine (try the plate of 17 different dips), often has live music
    5 Napkin Burger – fantastic juicy burgers (please do not order well done)
    Room Service – delicious unusual Thai, looks fancy but is not expensive
    Hell’s Kitchen – more upscale Southwestern food
    Delta Grill – Cajun place with fun atmosphere
    Ariana – simple Afghani cuisine with excellent service (Rafi is the best waiter)
    Bocca di Bacco – modern Italian with a great wine bar

    That should cover something for almost everyone!

  • Hank Kerchef

    Great food,,,, I guess people are just jealous of GUY cause for fun comfort food hes way better than most places . The critcs and people have their heads up their Azz’s .

  • Hank Kerchef

    Guy needs no help from anyone,,, I had great comfort food there. He has an excellent place. People have their heads up their Azz’s or they just go to places and eat schitt. Guys places is a winner. Losers stay out. For great fun or comfort food Guy’s is better than most places in manhattan.

  • Alliestp

    I have eaten at Guy’s restaurant and found it to be good. (Pricey, but that was expected). The food is comfort food with a twist. The service was excellent; our server was very attentive without being a pain in the a$$. The food was served quickly and hot and overall we have a really good time.

    If this restaurant had belonged to anyone else claiming to serve comfort food and a little bit of charm, no one would be skewering it the way that people seem to be ok skewering Guy. Try eating there before making judgements. And if it’s phu-phu food you’re looking for, then move along. All you’ll get here a good proportions of down home cooking.

  • NJ girl

    Whats worse is that many of the local contractors used to build this monster have not been paid!. This is ruining lives and families. The work is done the restaurant is open for good or bad. These small guys are suffering !!!!!!

  • David Jenkins

    I just ate at Guy’s American Kitchen and bar and had a wonderful meal. I had the Big Dipper sandwich and it was very good the beef was tender and juicy there was plenty of meat in the sandwich the cheese was melted perfectly and the roll was very crunchy. My brother in law had the chicken which he said was also very good he said the chicken was moist and flavorful the the sauce on it had a nice tang but was not over powering. He also said the bed if rice the chicken was on was cooked perfectly . I made the reservation on line we were greeted right away and were seated in less than 5 minutes. I would eat there again.

  • missBee

    The reviews are spot on. This was one of THE worst places I’ve ever eaten at. Food was cold and nasty . I ordered a dirty martini which tasted well. DIRTY. Mostly watered down. Prices were outrageous which is expected near the theaters but c’mon! For the quality of food and service I’d be better off at White Castle. Also we went on a Friday night at 8 pm. The place was empty which should have been our first hint to run. Never again!