Last night on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, chef and Food Network personality Bobby Flay stopped by to recount a food fail: Soon after he opened Bolo (in New York City in the mid-'90s), then New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl visited the spot and gave it a fairly positive review. She wrote, "Bolo vibrates with the humorous edginess of Spain's most interesting city... The food has the same exuberance."
Reichl mostly loved the place; She gave it two-stars. But the review crushed Flay, who at the time was not yet a household name. He tells The Tonight Show that the dish he had anointed as his signature on the menu was precisely the dish Reichl spent "two paragraphs" tearing apart. An excerpt:
Paella with lobster and roasted duck also seemed like too much of a good thing. Ordinary paella is a well-conceived dish, but here it becomes a lot of mushy rice garnished with sweet duck and some poor lost lobster that looks as if it fell into the dish and wonders how it is ever going to get out. The dish never comes together in any sensible way.
Flay has since resurrected the memory of Bolo in his newer Gato. Watch the clip, above, to find out what Flay learned from the experience.