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Top Chef: New York, Episode 9 – All’s Fair In Love and Restaurant Wars


Previously – Farm living. The Nanny and the Lovebirds. Jamie and Finn clashed. There was some bad lamb. Jamie and Finn win, along with Carla. The Nanny is knifed.

Credits – The Food and Wine Classic. Personally, I am waiting for Diet Food and Wine. Or Cherry Food and Wine. Perhaps even Food and Wine Zero.

NYC – cabs driving around in circles to cheat tourists out of their travel money. Jamie does the dishes. Hosea is halfway through his book – just like the season is halfway done. Carla thinks the whole thing is like psychological warfare, and thinks The Nanny was thrown under the bus. Finn asks Hosea what he is going to do when they go home. Hosea responds that he wants to see his girlfriend. That feeling may not be mutual, my friend.

Leah feels badly about how it went down with the Nanny. She tells the group that the Nanny failed to stand up for herself. Yeah – it was her fault that you blamed her for the lamb fiasco. Fabio does some weird hand clapping move to help transition to the…

Quickfire – A dude that looks like Big Pussy’s younger brother is there with Padma. It seems that he is Stephen Starr of Starr Restaurants fame. He is a high-powered restaurateur that owns Iron Chef Morimoto’s place. Hosea is in awe. Padma announces that we are going to embark upon Restaurant Wars tonight. Thus the extra 15 minutes to the run time. Finn is geeked out and thinks it is a big deal and that he doesn’t want to look like an idiot if he f*cks it up. Nah – as we learned last week, Finn isn’t an idiot; he’s a cock.

Chefs will be judged on the food as well as the design, service, ambiance and concept. The Quickfire is a tasting for Little Pussy. Leah is also in awe of him. They must make one dish to showcase their restaurant concept and his two favorites will be the “owners” of the two warring restaurants. That is an awful prize!! Basically, the winners will be battling to avoid elimination. The team leaders of this challenge are usually doomed if the restaurant goes badly.

The 30 minutes for the challenge begin and there is the usual frantic running and cursing. Fabio manages to lock himself out of the fridge. Not sure how he did that. Hosea did something, but my notes look more like Arabic than English. Finn is searching for oranges. Jeff thinks that he can sell anybody anything. Leah finds some fish, but tells us that the “red snapper smells like ass.” I would think that the Top Chef kitchen wouldn’t stock anus meat, go figure. She is improvising.

Fabio seems to have joined the Lunch Lobby, as he waxes poetic about the concept of lunch. He is also wearing a “team Fabio” t-shirt. When is Bravo posting that in the store? Radhika is stressed and admits to not tasting things before she serves them during these challenges.

Five minutes. Leah fixes a wedgie. Amazingly, not her most embarrassing moment of the night. Jamie is working the oven and…oh my God, did she make scallops again? Where’s the liquid? She agrees with me that winning this challenge is nothing to want at all. She knows that the leader usually goes down with the ship.

Judging – Carla starts. Her concept is “home, rustic foods, celebrate season, New American Foods.” That is not a concept; it’s just a random collection of words. Cod seared in tomato oil, with Italian salsa and mache green salad. Little Pussy can’t taste the salt.

Hosea – His concept is a seafood restaurant with Mediterranean flavors. Shrimp with Morel mushroom cream sauce, garlic potato puree and poached asparagus. Little Pussy (LP from now on) thought it was very good, but Hosea knows he didn’t sell it well enough.

Leah – Tempura Poussin with Dashi, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. She says it is Asian inspired – and that her mom is Filipino. Hosea tells her that LP liked it even though Leah muttered that it was awful.

Finn – His concept is to mix Old World stuff with an American twist since “America has so much great stuff now.” Finn is warming to us! That is actually the best concept so far, in my opinion. Trio of Asparagus – Fried white asparagus with trout, asparagus salad and white asparagus soup. LP thought it was very good.

Jeff – he likes seasonal and fresh things. Grilled salmon with sunchoke and artichoke puree, grilled corn and asparagus salad. LP thinks it was mushy and Jeff just grunts in disappointment.

Radhika – She has a global influence…it could have been Latin, I don’t know, she mumbles. Pan seared cod, butter braised corn, spinach and chorizo with cream sauce. Mmmm, that sounds good. LP agrees.

Jamie – Also mentions the seasonal cooking preference. Chilean sea bass with creamed corn, bacon, peas and garlic scape. Yep, sea bass and creamed corn…Jamie mailed it in. LP seems to agree as he lightly mocks the simplicity of her dish as refreshing.

Fabio – Again, with the lunch thesis. He made a full menu in 30 minutes. Tuna and swordfish Carpaccio roasted vegetable salad, filet mignon sandwich. LP calls it a cheesesteak. Fabio bristles at that and takes another “salty” comment from LP. Fabio later mocks this by saying it was “not a cheesesteak, it’s a filet mignon sandwich. End of subject.” Italian dude is growing on my steadily, but boy, he cannot take criticism.

LP says his least favorites are – Jeff and Fabio. Jeff cannot blow someone away with salmon and Fabio has great passion but LP just didn’t get the concept. He names Radhika as his favorite with her “unique flavors” and a cuisine (Indian/Middle Eastern) that is emerging. He also liked Leah – good thing she didn’t serve the Ass Fish. He thought it showed clear and forward thinking.

Commercials – Is there nothing more attractive than a 50-something, sluttily dressed rich woman slurring loudly in a bar to buy her a glass of wine? Ah, the Real Housewives, please go away.


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