This is Pete Wells. He has been the restaurant critic for the New York Times since 2011.
Since then, he has reviewed hundreds of restaurants in New York City and beyond.
When Wells is satisfied with a meal, he will spew compliments and award a restaurant anywhere from 1 to 4 stars, which can establish an eatery's reputation and put it on everyone's radar.
But when he isn't satisfied...he isn't afraid to say so, as evident by his most savage, scathing reviews.
1. His review of, well, everything at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar
"Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers — called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?"
2. His review of the rice rolls at Tim Ho Wan.
"The rice rolls, a point of pride for the chain, are white bogs of starch that blot out the underseasoned fillings of beef, pork or shrimp."
3. His review of the mushroom bouillon Per Se.
"I don’t know what could have saved limp, dispiriting yam dumplings, but it definitely wasn’t a lukewarm matsutake mushroom bouillon as murky and appealing as bong water."
4. His review of the wasabi at Sugarfish.
"Fresh wasabi may be too much to ask at Sugarfish’s prices, but there is no wasabi at all under the fish. Sugarfish lets you apply your own from some concentric bloops of stuff that tastes like watery horseradish and looks like a green version of the poop emoji, without the smile."
5. His review of the chicken rice at Made Nice.
"Another dish is called chicken rice. The rice tastes like tomatoes and needs salt. The chicken seems exhausted. Imagine a chain of Cuban restaurants started by retired employees of the Olive Garden. This could be their arroz con pollo."
6. His review of the chili at Locol.
"This was less like chili than like a slightly spicier version of the meat sauce my corner pizzeria pours over penne. Supermarkets sell canned chilis that are seasoned more persuasively."
7. His review of the Peking duck foie gras tacos at Kappo Masa.
"Price of four tiny, cold flour tortillas filled with roast duck, floppy matchsticks of uncrisp duck skin and batons of overcooked foie gras: $26."
8. His review of the chicken enchiladas at Señor Frogs.
"Most other things I tried may as well have stayed in the kitchen, except the chicken enchiladas, which should have been sent back to Cancún. I thought they tasted like tuna, but a more acute observer said the flavor was like pork sprinkled with fish food."
9. His review of the pork chops Milanese at La Sirena.
"It wasn’t pickled fennel that kept me from finishing a pork chop Milanese. It was the breading, thick and dense in a way that made me think of the apron you wear when you get your teeth X-rayed."
10. His review of the heirloom tomato salad at Le Cirque.
"Anyone with a bottle of olive oil and access to a supermarket produce aisle might easily prepare an heirloom tomato salad that surpasses the one I was served at Le Cirque in August."
11. His review of his meal at Charlie Bird.
"One evening, the cooks seemed to be applying salt with a snow blower."
12. His review of the chicken at Jams.
"A restaurant that trips over its signature dishes is as hard to trust as a person who misspells his own name. (Good thing there are only four letters in Jams.) The chicken aside, I tended to have better luck when I treated the Jams name as a warning label and ordered things without it."
13. His review of everything served at Tavern on the Green.
"Somebody showed up the instant the plates had been set down to ask brightly, 'How does everything look?' I can’t blame her for not asking how it tasted. The answer may have made it hard to stay chipper."
14. His review of the flour tortillas at Javelina.
"Flour tortillas were the best thing on the table... They are so good that if you happen to accidentally order the tacos filled with pale, cold brisket that tastes more like boiled pork than beef, you can simply tear off chunks of the tortilla and eat them on their own."
15. His review of his experience at Italienne.
"Some of the food at Italienne made me want to dance on the table. Some of it made me want to hide under the table and wait for the lights to go out so I could leave without making eye contact."