We were in the mood for a relaxed, all-American meal, so we headed to Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar in Lake Sumter Landing.
We’d eaten there a couple of times – once when it just opened and then several months later. The experiences we had were average with a long wait-time to be seated. So we thought we’d give it another try and bring some friends along for some added fun.
The décor was just as you would expect if you’ve ever watched Fieri’s shows – relaxed, wall murals, car-themed, large bar with televisions and very clean.
Upon entering, you’ll notice the restaurant’s memorabilia for sale behind the hostess stand. And you’ll have your choice of four seating arrangements: high-top, booth, table or bar.
We started the evening with a 7 p.m. reservation. Our past experiences alerted us that a reservation would be very helpful due to large crowds typically waiting to be seated. As it turned out, it really wasn’t needed, as there was no wait at all.
A red flag?
Our server promptly came and took our orders with a pleasant smile and greeting. We asked her about the absence of the “signature” Guy Fieri skull cloth napkins, which replicate the tattoo on his arm. She advised us that they are no longer being used because they were constantly disappearing.
We started our meal with French Onion soup that really wasn’t anything spectacular. It was just French Onion soup as you’d expect it to taste.
Our four main courses arrived shortly after without much of a wait. Although a Big Bite Caesar was offered with the addition of either chicken or salmon, I was in the mood for a steak Caesar. Our server quickly checked to see if this could be prepared, and they agreed to accommodate my request.
My salad was tasty. But the steak had a lot of hard fat around the edges that considerably reduced the edible portion. It was a bit disappointing given the sticker shock afterwards of $17.95.
Next up, my partner ordered the Jack Daniels New York Strip Steak ($26.95). He requested it medium rare and enjoyed it – not the cut that I received and it did not have a lot of the hard edges. But it wasn’t worth the hefty price tag, either.
Our dining partners ordered the Motley Cue ($12.95), a pulled pork sandwich with Guy’s famous Donkey Sauce, and the Double Down BLAT ($8.95), a BLT with avocado sandwich. They both came with a generous portion of the famous triple fries. Again, nothing outstanding, but our companions enjoyed both.
The average dining experience quickly came to a halt after that. We ordered dessert – and waited and waited and waited. We were excited because we ordered the Fieri-famous NY Marbled Cheesecake ($8.95) that stands straight up and is adorned with pretzels and potato chips for that sweet-and-salty experience. And our dining guests eagerly anticipated enjoying a large hunk of Dark Chocolate Layered Cake (also $8.95).
In the meantime, the table next to us was served a birthday dessert with a fiery Roman candle-type contraption that promptly fell over as it was being served. Unfortunately, it was firing right into the server’s mid-section. The panic on her face was audible as she tried to right it without being set to flames herself.
Dinner and a show – how exciting!
Meanwhile, we waited some more, with continuous apologies from the server. Finally, after a full 30 minutes of anticipation, the desserts arrived. The cheesecake proved to be a huge disappointment, as it was lying flat on the plate – not standing in all its glory as advertised.
More apologies from the serve as she told us “the kitchen couldn’t get it to stand upright.”
Also, the Fieri version of cheesecake is an acquired taste. We really didn’t care for it. The toppings didn’t add that sweet/salty taste we were expecting and it left somewhat of a funky aftertaste to boot.
On a positive note, our dining companions thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate cake – something we’ll remember if we decide to visit again.
The final drawback – one that customers definitely should be aware of – is the acoustics inside the restaurant. It’s extremely loud and it was actually difficult to carry on a normal conversation with our dining partners.
To sum things up, with all the hype of being a celebrity restaurant, the food at Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar just doesn’t measure up. This was our third visit and we were hoping the cuisine had taken a step up, but it did not.
We’d call it an average dining experience with a disappointing end at above-average prices. We’d anticipated delicious food and a memorable evening out. Unfortunately, the only truly memorable moment was the misfiring Roman candle gizmo.