Searching for Guy Fieri At Guy's American Kitchen and Bar
I started my meal with the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders because I like pretzels and I like chicken tenders. Everyone does. The combination of the two, however, is woefully un-awesome.
Apparently, the chicken is breaded in crushed pretzels. It is so ridiculously deep-fried, however, no taste comes through. It comes with honey-dijon dipping sauce, which is pretty spicy but does little to improve upon the chicken.
The chicken is presented on top of about a dozen french fries. I'm not sure why these are here. Presentation? You be the judge:
I remained optimistic, however, because the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are not a Guy Signature Dish. Who circumvented Guy on this one? Not kewl.
Next up was Guy's Big Bite Burger. My waiter informed me that the chefs ball up the patties and squish them flat on the griddle. He thwacked his open palm with a clenched fist while explaining this. It comes smothered in Donkey sauce, which I guess is something Guy is known for. Remember, I'm just a jerk who makes fun of him because he looks silly. My level of actual, operational Guy Fieri knowledge is low.
The story behind Donkey sauce goes thusly: Guy Fieri mixed together a bunch of stuff. I don't know what exactly because at this point, I was terrified of being seen with my notebook and couldn't write any of the specifics down as my waiter spoke. Guy tasted the sauce and said one would have to be an ass to dislike it. Hence, "Donkey" sauce.
Based on its description, I was hoping the burger would taste similar to one from Shake Shack. The beef comes from the same place, Creekstone Farms. (Creekstone was the subject of a Times piece from two years ago. Lots of restaurants in New York -- many of them hoity-toity -- are getting their beef from the Arkansas City, Kansas, supplier.) The burger is stacked with tomatoes, pickles, onions, and shredded lettuce. My word, is there a lot of lettuce. I daydreamed the cooks furiously stuffing full heads of lettuce into industrial paper shredders to get enough for my cheeseburger.
Be it from the Donkey sauce, grease, Whiz-like cheese, or the oily spawn of this unholy orgy, my burger came out sopping wet. It isn't horrible, though, and in a way reminds me of a Shake Shack burger. I don't particularly care for the Donkey sauce, identifying me, in Guy's words, as an ass (but you already know this).
I washed the burger down with a "Gimme a Light." This is a beer. A pale ale, to be specific, and a pretty good one. Guy's American Kitchen and Bar is co-owned by Jon Bloostein, who also owns Heartland Brewery. Beer is a safe choice here.