Top Chef Recap-Restaurant Wars

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It’s Restaurant Wars, people.  Saddle up and ride!

Restaurant Wars means no Quickfire this week, and Padma lets us know that this go around is going to be a battle of the sexes.  It’s a real pity that Heather is missing out on this chance to work with Bev again.  I’ll make a call now…if the guys lose, Chris J is going home; if it’s the girls, it’s bye-bye Beverly.  I think both of them are going to have real trouble fitting their style to something different.  Padma goes on to let the chefs know that each will be dining in the other restaurant on consecutive evenings; she then flips a coin and lets the guys know that they will be cooking first.  Each team is responsible for a three-course meal with two options in each course; one team member will run front of house, and each team member must create at least one dish.  The women will be opening Half-Bushel, a rustic homey restaurant with Lindsay running front of house.  The men decide on Canteen, a communal restaurant, with Ed at the front.  Sarah is taking over the Bev-bashing for Heather, condescending her at every turn and generally coming off as a complete wench.  Lindsay silently agrees, while Grayson does her best to keep the peace.

The men are up first, and they appear to be working together smoothly.  We’re fifteen minutes into the episode, and we’re already doing the first service; there’s a spectacular flame-out somewhere in the works here.  After the first round of appetizers heads out, Ed and He-Cat realize they haven’t appointed someone to expedite the food…big problem.  Ed is forced to ask people to wait.  A diner sends food back to be reheated.  Everything is falling apart just as Padma shows up with Tom, Hugh and Emeril to be wowed.  I wish Gail was there.  But that’s not news to anyone who regularly reads these.  Then the female team shows up and demands seating.  I actually am starting to feel bad for these guys.

Service for the judges starts, with He-Cat’s crab and shrimp salad and Paul’s play on ham and eggs, complete with mushrooms and nectarines.  The crab and shrimp salad gets solid if not amazing reviews, while the ham and eggs are deemed slightly greasy by Emeril.  Next up, the poached salmon and crispy pork belly, also from He-Cat and Paul.  Again, both are deemed to be average.  Finally, Ed’s almond joy cake and Chris’ homemade cracker jacks are served for dessert.  Ed’s almond joy cake is deemed delicious, but it’s lack of coconut flavor is a disappointment, while the cracker jacks divide the judges down the middle.  All in all, a solid if not spectacular showing with no massive break downs; the women are going to be a hot mess, I tell you.  A hot mess.

The next day dawns and the ladies head into prep.  Lindsay worries that Bev won’t be able to execute her halibut dish while she’s out on the floor.  Bev worries that Lindsay wants her to make the halibut in a way she is unfamiliar with.  Sarah worries about Grayson cutting blueberries at an inappropriate time.  Grayson tells Sarah to go screw herself.  I like Grayson.  The judges stride in and…are forced to wait for their greeting.  Past years of Restaurant Wars let me know that nothing pisses off those touchy bitches more than waiting for their table.  Then the guys walk in…and are forced to wait.  I think Lindsay is spending a little too much time in the kitchen.  Now the judges are waiting for their food, and Padma’s getting hungry.  You would think this would be a good thing, but apparently it isn’t.

The first course is Grayson’s peach salad and Sarah’s arancino, which is essentially a fried ball of rice stuffed with cheese and eggplant.  Both appetizers get high marks from the judges and the table of competitors; Ed shame-facedly admits that he wants them to screw up.  I’m pretty sure that’s coming, Ed.  The judges are waiting for their entrees, and now not only Padma’s hungry but the others are too.  Again, that should be a good thing.  Lindsay and Sarah scream at each other in the kitchen for a few minutes, while in the background Bev and Grayson work.  Sarah admits that she’s behind on her tickets and Lindsay gets all up in Bev’s business; Bev points out that Lindsay could be helping things to run smoothly outside rather than getting in her grill.  I’m warming to Bev after finding her unbearable for the first few weeks.  The main course comes out and it’s Beverly’s short-ribs and Lindsay’s halibut.  The halibut is deemed too subtle and slightly over-cooked, while Beverly’s short-ribs are deemed delicious.  Meanwhile, the ladies in the kitchen continue to have beef with Lindsay’s tone, and Grayson wonders if she was the right choice for front of house.  Dessert comes out, and it’s Grayson schaum torte and Sarah’s hazelnut donuts.  The torte gets high marks, while Sarah’s donuts are deemed too heavy.  Lindsay heads back and complains to Grayson that Bev ruined her dish; Grayson helpfully points out that she was cooking it as Lindsay asked her to.  It seems that the girls might win this and that’s really too bad, because there’s real potential for a huge fight at Judge’s Table with them.

Padma wanders into the stew room after Lindsay and Sarah take a few more pot-shots at Bev, and calls the ladies into Judges’ Table.  They do indeed wind up on the top for this challenge, and Beverly takes top spot.  Sarah and Lindsay look like they just swallowed their tongues, but Grayson has the decency to seem truly happy for Beverly.  Those other two are toxic.  The guys head in to take their medicine and Sarah can’t resist telling Lindsay that she deserves at least as much praise as Bev got before we cut away to Judges’ Table.  Bev’s going to snap and knife these women pretty soon.  The judges do their usual routine of acting as if they hated everything on the plate, when they found it at least somewhat acceptable while actually eating it.  And, dammit, they send my He-Cat home!  I don’t know if I get that, since Chris did exactly one dish that didn’t seem to impress anyone.  That being said, I now have someone to root for against Nyesha.

And some final thoughts:

-“Sarah knows flavor, but we all know her weakness is barbecuing out in the sun.”  Still holding on to that one, huh Ed?

-Um…if you’re interested…He-Cat has some very interesting pictures available with a quick Google search.

-“Ty.  I’m not sure what he’s doing out there in his apron…”  Padma does not approve of aprons outside of kitchens.

-Last Chance Kitchen Update: Nyesha wins again!  And also reveals a here-to-fore unknown distaste for He-Cat.  And Tom tells us that she only has to defeat three more chefs and she’s back in the competition, so at least we have an end point for all of this.

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