Generally, Guy Fieri is the subject of disdain for restaurant critics. Everyone from Anthony Bourdain to New York Times critic Pete Wells have slammed the spiky-haired chef, but Houston Chronicle critic Alison Cook found plenty to love on a visit to a Fieri restaurant in Cancun.
Recently, the notoriously discerning critic headed to Tulum for a visit to Noma Mexico, the buzzy pop-up from chef Rene Redzepi that is currently the food world’s hottest table. On the way back, she popped in to Guy’s American Kitchen at Cancun International Airport for a decidedly less low-brow meal, and actually loved it.
Check out the five biggest takeaways from Cook’s glowing review below, plus a quick take on Noma Mexico:
On the secret ingredients in Donkey Sauce:
Donkey Sauce turns out to be an amalgam of mayonnaise, Worcestershire, mustard and oh, you don't really want to know what all.
On Noma Mexico:
After nonstop ingestion of ant eggs, grasshoppers, beach greens, seaweeds, chiles, mamey seeds, tropical fruits and manifold Caribbean shellfish in forms raw and cooked, my traveling companion and I had reached that classic stage well-known to American tourists: by the time we made it back to Cancun for our flight home, we craved a burger.
On the burger:
The smashed-down beef patty had nice frizzly edges and a tight sear. Its texture was crumbly, not overly compacted. It dripped juice and, let's be honest here, yummy grease in a highly satisfying way.
The yellow cheese was every bit as melty as the florid menu had promised. A big, crunchy onion ring contributed some extra texture. I even liked the buttery, grilled brioche bun.
On the fries:
I was not enthralled by the four-count-'em-four species of differently cut fries, each somehow less thrilling than the last. I have never eaten a really good French fry in an airport, and I honestly don't expect to.
On the souvenirs:
Now I own a bunch of official Guy Fieri skull coasters. I'm keeping them around as reminder to never say never.