There are few places in the world as flashy as the streets of Times Square. Perhaps it’s only natural then that Guy Fieri–the restaurateur and TV host, known for his loud, bleach-blonde locks–would choose the ever-bustling epicenter of New York’s Theatre District as the home for his first bite of the Big Apple.
Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar (220 West 44th Street) opened last week, featuring an impressive collection of cocktails and specially-brewed local beers to enjoy before and after showtime. The drink list is peppered with several unique takes on conventional classics, like the Caliente Margarita. This combo of jalapeño-infused tequila (made in-house), triple sec and agave nectar is enhanced greatly by the addition of freshly-muddled cilantro. The name is not misleading, it actually has some kick to it, but the flavors are all well-balanced, making for a refreshingly drinkable concoction. If you prefer something a bit more sweet than spicy, the Big Island Punch will suit you well. Served with copious amounts of Captain Morgan’s and Bacardi Dragonberry, it has more of a bite than you might imagine considering its smooth, tropical flavor.
The bartenders at Guy’s have also invented some entirely unexpected offerings that are at once curious, and satisfying. The American Apple Pie No.7 blends Jack Daniels with Vanilla vodka, Frangelico and Sour Apple to mimic the unmistakable taste of our country’s most wholesome dessert. The French Roast Martini uses coffee-infused vodka as a base for a drink that is served with white chocolate rimming the glass.
When it comes to beer, Guy’s list is underpinned by a selection of local specialities from Brooklyn’s own Heartland Brewery. They brewed five new beers specifically for this location, including Morgan’s Red Ale–balancing the toffee-like taste of Munich malts with the distinct bitterness of American Hops. Gimme A Light, is an interesting combination of a pale ale with the orange, coriander tones of a Belgian wit.
Much of Times Square is dreadfully predictable–throngs of tourists, bright lights, pedestrian fare for days. With the addition of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, 44th street is enjoying an influx of some unexpected pizzazz. Guy Fieri would have it no other way.