Here's a small part of what he doesn't completely get: the Internet has made everyone into critics. Most of us aren't necessarily qualified critics -- not in the classic sense of having been trained in all manners of cuisine, practiced as writers, and capable of telling just how much garlic was in that last bite down to the fraction of a clove. But in the United States, virtually anyone who feels the desire to get online and complain about the food can do so.
Of course, the Internet being what is, half the people complaining about the food never ate it. But then, half the people praising it didn't touch the stuff either. It's not exactly uncommon for a restaurant to have employees post glowing reviews just to drag the average up.
So in that kind of environment, what's the critical agenda? Certainly there are some critics who are out there with the sole purpose of dragging things down: notoriously, there's a few who look for any movie with a total acceptance rating on Rotten Tomatoes just so they can trash it. But with the Times? It generally gets back to the basics, namely: is this food any good? Remember Anton Ego: the ultimate purpose is to find that worth praising, even knowing what you'll suffer to do so. And unlike some of the trash and glowing reviews already posted, this one was based on actual experience in eating selections from Fieri's menu. Perhaps too much experience, given what had to be consumed in order to acquire it.
Roger Ebert has said that negative reviews are inherently more fun to write. But what you have to go through to get there...
The review in question:
And naturally, Fieri being the DAW he is, he went on an all-out media tour to fight this. He doesn't like the tone. He doesn't like the format. He doesn't like the agenda, whatever that might be. But what he really doesn't like is that someone came out and openly told him his food svcks, his restaurant svcks, and by extension, he must svck. Someone with credibility as a critic -- which means that credibility is the first thing he has to attack.
Anyone can say anything negative about anyone else: that's the nature of the Internet. But in this case, negative has a face, a voice, and experience. That's scaring him.
Honesty is rarely heard. And even more rarely allowed to get away with it.
Kind of makes you wonder how many of Fieri's fans are descending on that restaurant, determined to boost its sales, write their own counter-reviews, and generally attempt to negate the Times by sheer weight of numbers.
Also kind of makes you wonder how many of them will be able to force themselves into going more than once.
He thinks he's living in a Neil Gaiman story. Wait until he gets to the bloody part.