When New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells mercilessly skewered chef Guy Fieri's new Times Square eatery, Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, on Wednesday, the review went viral to most everyone's delight.
Well, that was then.
After the Food Network star went on "Today" to call the series of sarcastic questions poking fun at his food "ridiculous" — and accused the critic of harboring a personal "agenda" — the tide started turning.
So while all critics arguably have some kind of an agenda — like saving their readers from a bad meal — the feeling now raging across the web is that Wells was, in fact, too harsh.
The Boston Globe's Devra First, for example, called many of Wells' complaints "common occurrences in restaurants." Adding to Fieri's suspicion of an agenda, she wrote, "Did Wells have high expectations of this place going in? I doubt it."
First We Feast, a website devoted to the funny side of food, admitted Wells' words were good for a laugh but charged "the latent elitism and misanthropy are perhaps even more unappetizing than any plate of Guy-talian Nachos could ever be."
The defense concluded that the "beatdown of Fieri" functioned as "nothing but 1) A publicity boon for the Times; 2) A lowering of the bar for what the Times sees as a shitty restaurant; 3) Pageviews."
Then there were the Team Fieri tweets:
A NY Times critic reviewing Guy Fieri's restaurant is like an art critic reviewing an Instagram photo.
— Damien Fahey (@DamienFahey)
Sure, Guy Fieri is a human joke. But I'd rather spend an hour eating ribs with him than a minute with that NYT restaurant reviewer.
— todd levin (@toddlevin)
— Marissa P. CS (@SeraSyrah)
The NYT’s review of Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen exemplifies the “elite liberal media” voice that much of the US hates nytimes.com/2012/11/14/din…
— Drew Breunig (@dbreunig)
— LaughSpin.com (@laughspincom)
And one more thing. I will NOT read a restaurant review made up entirely of questions. I will not. Snotty, gimmicky, rude and obnoxious.
— Josh Dickey (@Variety_JLD)
— Tommy Ferentino (@TommyFerentino)