My boyfriend and I have already smoked and taken a cab to Times Square to celebrate his birthday Guy-style, because oh my god that Times review, and munchies are the best.
The first thing you see at Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar is a giant neon likeness of the gastronomic terrorist himself. Then you glimpse the Ed Hardy-inspired interior treatment, which could double as a hastily curated Fender guitar exhibit. “Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It” is the local manta, a sort of Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here for anyone expecting otherwise, and it’s all you need to know. We’ve made it to the culinary terror dome.
Inside, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is shining forth light from a super-sized TV. Obviously, we stop to stare, because it’s our favorite show. But since Guy’s restaurant has 500 seats, we don’t have to wait long for our reservation to come up. Also, we are probably the only fools in the history of fools to think we needed a reservation at this gargantuan foodplex on a WEDNESDAY NIGHT. But I digress.
We are probably the only fools in the history of fools to think we needed a reservation at this gargantuan foodplex on a WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
We’re immediately seated at a corner two-top right next to a family of four, so obnoxious Instagramming is out of the question, already. What isn’t immediate is our waiter’s presence. We’ll call him Paul. He is the most generous kind of waiter. But Paul doesn’t believe in beverages or promptness. We’ll get to that later.
When he finally does show up, he tells me I can’t order the nuclear-blue watermelon margarita that Pete Wells so detested (we’ll never know why it was blue!). So I go with the Caliente Margarita, which in most places would just involve some jalapeno-infused tequila. But this one also has triple sec, cilantro, lime sour, and agave nectar—far too many ingredients, and also, the unofficial theme of the evening. The boyfriend orders Guy’s “Margarita de la Casa” (scare-quotes are Guy’s) because he is not feeling adventurous.
At Guy’s house, one apparently orders their appetizers along with their drinks, lest we not get this show on the motherfucking road. So we tell Paul we want the “Awesome” Pretzel Chicken Tenders (again, Guy’s quotes) that Pete Wells thought “tasted like chewy air” (Pete’s words) and the Vegas Fries that Wells and his crew never saw.
Meanwhile, I’ve already renamed my margarita “marga-jito,” as it appears to belong in the mojito genus—though, clearly, a mutated branch—with all that sweet-sour stuff and the gobs of herbs in it. I kind of like it because it looks like an overgrown koi pond minus the fish, and throughout the night I try to suck up the cilantro lily pads. The boyfriend is less pleased with his yellowy mix-from-a-machine-on-ice drink. WTF, Guy—that’s yellow Hawaiian Punch. And you know it.