DETROIT (CBS Detroit) It made news locally when spiky-haired chef Guy Fieri visited Clarkston’s Union Woodshop for his show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” — and gave it a rave review.
But Fieri’s in the national headlines this week for something that’s pretty much the dead opposite of a rave.
Fieri responded Thursday to the New York Times review of his Times Square restaurant that was, to say the least, a savaging of everything from the menu to the decor to the chef himself. Memorable lines included, “Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?”
There’s also this nugget: “Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers — called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?”
Fieri’s response was basically that it was too early to review his two-month-old Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar. And chef Aaron Cozadd, chef at Union Woodshop and Vinsetta Garage, thinks Fieri’s place deserves a shot.
Cozadd — whose restaurants are among the best-reviewed in the region — said Fieri couldn’t have been nicer when he was filming in his restaurant, and no matter what the critic said, he would still stop in, saying “I would still give anyplace a shot.”
“I think it seemed a little harsh,” Cozadd said. “I think that in general when people criticize they need to also understand that that’s their experience, I think you can criticize without being harsh.”
Cozadd said he listens to everything said about his restaurants, good and bad, as do most chefs.
“People can forget that chefs put everything they have behind their restaurant, I work seven days a week, and we really are striving to make everything perfect and when something falls through the cracks, people tend to not be too forgiving,” Cozadd said. “The people who work in restaurants are all people, too, and everybody has an off day.”
Saying he was “shocked” at the level of harshness in the review, he has faith in Fieri’s future. “He’s a great guy, he really does know his food, he knows food, he was a really nice guy, and what they do for local business is a great thing, they give you exposure on a huge level. They really like the restaurants they go to.”