Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
aquarian1

S18.E08: Restaurant Wars

Recommended Posts

On 5/22/2021 at 9:48 AM, VintageJ said:

Loved Gail at Kokoson.  She was giddy over the menu and loved her going over it saying “I want that, can’t wait for that, and that is always my F*&#$ing favorite ...”.

I just re-watched the episode and began looking for which item she meant that she referred to as her favorite.  Originally I thought it was the Tres Leches cake for dessert, because I think they've had that before on TC, but when they came to Jaimie's beef short rib, I went "Aha, somewhere in a previous season I remember Gail liking short ribs."  

For the record, I've had tongue exactly once, in a sandwich, and it tasted like beef.  A slightly different texture, maybe, but it's not an organ meat like liver or kidney with a distinctive flavor of it's own, it's just another muscle.  I'd have it again, but it's not something I've ever come across since.  (And don't forget the tongue tacos that Rick Bayless created on his season of TC Masters.  They were in such demand at his Chicago restaurant that I think he had to put them on the permanent menu.) 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

2 hours ago, Vermicious Knid said:

They all made mistakes on Penny but this was a team challenge. Dawn chose to prevaricate and shut all her teammates out and not knowing what she was making led to a cascading effect on everyone else. But the judges didn't see any of that. Didn't Tom used to float through the kitchen during prep so they had an idea of what was going on?

He did. I wonder if that put a stop to it this season because of Covid protocols? I’ve noticed the judges generally don’t stand right next to each other when introducing the challenges... but it does amuse me when they file out they’re fairly close together. 
 

Although, he has done walkthroughs for some challenges this season. Most notable  (in my memory) the episode where he questioned Kiki’s fried chicken idea- but that was an outdoors challenge. I can’t remember him doing walkthroughs indoors. 

Edited by watchingtvaddict · Reason: Remembered Tom doing a walkthrough
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, Fukui San said:

I need a food scientist to explain to me how pasta cooked in water and served in broth can be dry and brittle like Chris’ was. It just doesn’t compute. 

too thick/undercooked, I think. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
On 5/22/2021 at 5:12 PM, Ms Blue Jay said:

I don't think it's unfair that they were docked for something that was a requirement of the challenge.

Meh.  I get this, but I will have to disagree.  Again, it's not a requirement of the challenge to "be talkative" - the judges made a point to say how uncomfortable and quiet it was.  I know they had other issues food-wise, but I still think that's kind of a "your personality is wrong" demerit

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
37 minutes ago, Lassus said:

Meh.  I get this, but I will have to disagree.  Again, it's not a requirement of the challenge to "be talkative" - the judges made a point to say how uncomfortable and quiet it was.  I know they had other issues food-wise, but I still think that's kind of a "your personality is wrong" demerit

But it didn’t seem to be an issue of their personalities, when they were interacting with the guests they were all doing fine and even cracking jokes. It was an issue of making continued contact a priority that they all dismissed as being necessary when they were planning.

Edited by biakbiak
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

52 minutes ago, Lassus said:

Meh.  I get this, but I will have to disagree.  Again, it's not a requirement of the challenge to "be talkative" - the judges made a point to say how uncomfortable and quiet it was.  I know they had other issues food-wise, but I still think that's kind of a "your personality is wrong" demerit

I don’t think they were expected to be talkative but they were expected to be good hosts. One of the judges commented that one of the points of the chef’s table is that intimacy and interaction, so the absence of it (especially after the easy warmth of Kokoson) was pretty glaring. The Kokoson chefs weren’t talkative - they were quite focused on their food - but they were also very able to balance that focus with an equal focus on their guests’ comfort. Penny even started out promising with those thoughtful pre-meal touches (the warm towels, the mocktails for the non-drinkers), but then it just kind of fell apart and the sad thing is it was planned that way when they decided not to have a designated FOH person. 

I saw the interaction requirement as pretty much the same thing as when I have friends over for dinner: I don’t just leave them sitting around while I put the finishing touches on the food. They’re hanging out in the kitchen while I work (big-ish kitchen), I’m interacting, and it’s just part of hosting. It’s the same when I go to their houses: lots of kitchen hangouts.

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think Dawn's not having a clear idea of what she was cooking was why Penny lost-I think she just gave the producers the most tangible evidence of the team not communicating. But I think even had she explicitly laid out what she was making, it wouldn't have solved the enormous crudo tortilla problem, Sarah's first dish being supremely unappealing, Sarah's second dish being better but seeming like a huge waste of the salmon (the judges always hate that, when you don't respect the protein) and the biggest thing they called out which was that they just didn't get enough seafood for it being a seafood restaurant. Mistakes were made.That said, I thought Gabe was going home. The crudo tortilla looked really bad. I would not have wanted to to even try it.

It's really interesting to me how we keep seeing the women defer to The Gabes. This Gabe seems less bossy than Gabriel, but they still just agreed with everything he said. There's a shot of Maria saying something to Shota like "I follow you, papi" but really-it seems no one can make Maria do anything she doesn't want to. Someone needs to bottle her kind of mole sauce and hand it out to the other women in the cast.

I'm sure it's happened in past seasons as well, but I think 18 months in my house is giving me a different perspective. It's making me wonder how often I do that? (I'm a lady.) 

I was happy with Maria's win but I also thought Shota was very deserving. Someone give that man his own show, he is so, so appealing. 

Anyway-this is a very nice cast, I don't really want any of them to go home. I am hoping on Dawn and Shota for the final. And I'd love for Sarah to make it back from LCK and join them.

 

 

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
53 minutes ago, sharifa70 said:

I don’t think they were expected to be talkative but they were expected to be good hosts. One of the judges commented that one of the points of the chef’s table is that intimacy and interaction, so the absence of it (especially after the easy warmth of Kokoson) was pretty glaring. The Kokoson chefs weren’t talkative - they were quite focused on their food - but they were also very able to balance that focus with an equal focus on their guests’ comfort. Penny even started out promising with those thoughtful pre-meal touches (the warm towels, the mocktails for the non-drinkers), but then it just kind of fell apart and the sad thing is it was planned that way when they decided not to have a designated FOH person. 

I saw the interaction requirement as pretty much the same thing as when I have friends over for dinner: I don’t just leave them sitting around while I put the finishing touches on the food. They’re hanging out in the kitchen while I work (big-ish kitchen), I’m interacting, and it’s just part of hosting. It’s the same when I go to their houses: lots of kitchen hangouts.

I think the judges were splitting hairs to justify Penny's loss overall in a few ways including this one.  I am skeptical about how much less guest interaction there really was from team Penny.  Maybe there was a little less but the show made it look like it was crickets all the way through.  I agree with a post that seems to have since been deleted that the editing to show Dawn being too focused on her food was a red herring.  Perhaps I'm just not paying enough attention but I would think the responsibility for entertaining the guests on any "Restaurant Wars" episode falls primarily on the person assigned to FOH, not on the entire team, and that's where Kokoson shined and Penny lacked.  But I still am skeptical that Penny was quite as bad as they made it look.  I always factor in that the editing is done to justify the judges decisions even if they have to exaggerate in order to do it.  Didn't Tom say something about this being one of or the best Restaurant Wars on both sides ever?  I think that was probably an honest comment.  So they had to be splitting hairs to make it look like Penny was really that much worse.

BTW, someone asked above about what it's like to have a 7 course tasting menu and whether the food felt connected at all, and having done that a few times, most memorably at Le Bernardin, I'd say well, really " yes and no", unless whatever deeper connection was completely lost on me.  It just felt like a complementary set of fish dishes presented in a way that felt and tasted good in the order it was presented, but I didn't see any more to it than that.  Penny seems to have presented some things that didn't really feel right when put together.  I think that if they had stuck to one particular ethnic cuisine like Kokoson did it might have been different.

Edited by Yeah No

Share this post


Link to post
5 minutes ago, Yeah No said:

Perhaps I'm just not paying enough attention but I would think the responsibility for entertaining the guests on any "Restaurant Wars" episode falls primarily on the person assigned to FOH, not on the entire team, and that's where Kokoson shined and Penny lacked.

I agree with this.  I don't think it's UNFAIREST.  JUDGING.  EVER. and OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE IT.  I just thought it was notable as a judging aspect.

Nomally they put the outgoing person in Front of House and therefore you don't end up with a quiet weirdo yogurt nerd marking you down with diners.  I just felt kinda bad about the shy folk, that's all.

  • Laugh 2

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, watchingtvaddict said:

can’t remember him doing walkthroughs indoors. 

He has. He and and Richard did a walkthrough during the movie challenge.

  • Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, sharifa70 said:

I don’t think they were expected to be talkative but they were expected to be good hosts. One of the judges commented that one of the points of the chef’s table is that intimacy and interaction, so the absence of it (especially after the easy warmth of Kokoson) was pretty glaring. The Kokoson chefs weren’t talkative - they were quite focused on their food - but they were also very able to balance that focus with an equal focus on their guests’ comfort. Penny even started out promising with those thoughtful pre-meal touches (the warm towels, the mocktails for the non-drinkers), but then it just kind of fell apart and the sad thing is it was planned that way when they decided not to have a designated FOH person. 

I saw the interaction requirement as pretty much the same thing as when I have friends over for dinner: I don’t just leave them sitting around while I put the finishing touches on the food. They’re hanging out in the kitchen while I work (big-ish kitchen), I’m interacting, and it’s just part of hosting. It’s the same when I go to their houses: lots of kitchen hangouts.

Right, that's how I feel.  I think even extroverts find hosting stressful because it's not an easy thing to do.  Going to a party is one thing.  Hosting your own is another.

I flinched a bit when Tom called Maria a "natural" at hosting.  Like Maria explained, she does that at her own restaurant.  I specifically had a job where I had to do that kind of thing too and it builds up your skill.  Maria's practiced it, it's part of her career, and she should get credit for it, and NOW it appears "natural".

The chefs loved that Maria was constantly AROUND.  She was attentive.  She even listened to their conversations and jumped in and made jokes.  People normally don't like being eavesdropped on but this is a very unique situation where it was all going to air anyway and it was fine.  The chefs felt looked after and the mood was jovial.  

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post

3 hours ago, Yeah No said:

  I think that if they had stuck to one particular ethnic cuisine like Kokoson did it might have been different.

I thought that Kokoson did at least two, with Japanese and Mexican.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
42 minutes ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

I thought that Kokoson did at least two, with Japanese and Mexican.

Right,  hence the portmanteau of the word heart in Spanish and Japanese.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Why was Gabe opening and tasting all that wine?  Did Penny even serve wine?

Dawn was so excited to get to go into the store and pick out what she wanted.  Some people have to be inspired by the ingredients and for them picking off a list is demoralizing.

Share this post


Link to post
On 5/23/2021 at 12:04 PM, dgpolo said:

As someone upthread mentioned, Gabe almost -had- to do the amuse. The way they structured their team as 'everyone for themselves' meant each had to do 2 dishes in a 7 course meal. He might have done better to do a second dessert. Maybe?

I can't for the life of me understand why Gabe didn't take control of FOH & ditch the tostada when he had all the problems with cooking them (& maybe salvage the snapper & oyster sauce by serving just those on a tasting spoon as a true amuse). He looked like he was on a roll at the start of service with the hot towels & offering Gregory a non-alcoholic beverage option & then it just ground to a halt when all the chefs walked away when the amuse was served. It felt like no one on team Penny had ever watched Restaurant Wars & understood how key FOH is to the competition. It didn't help that no one was willing to walk away from doing their own two individual dishes & either give up one or collaborate with one of the other team members. That overarching individualism feels like the key to why they failed.

Part of the genius of kokosan's menu to me was not just the overall progression from cold to hot but also the contrasts within that - two veg dishes (cold eggplant, hot tempura), two beef dishes (RT lengua, hot short ribs) & two seafood dishes (cold salmon vs hotpot) - I can't decide if it was deliberate within Shota's kaiseki design, but it was definitely a nice bonus for the progression.

5 hours ago, Heathrowe said:

It's really interesting to me how we keep seeing the women defer to The Gabes. This Gabe seems less bossy than Gabriel, but they still just agreed with everything he said. There's a shot of Maria saying something to Shota like "I follow you, papi" but really-it seems no one can make Maria do anything she doesn't want to. Someone needs to bottle her kind of mole sauce and hand it out to the other women in the cast.

I'm repeatedly astounded by how well Shota works with others & how much they respect his opinions (see also how well he worked with Sara & Abishar) - Maria was comfortable asking for help on how to serve the lengua sando in that scene & Shota stepped up for her. Gabe OTH,  we saw, was repeatedly dismissive of Sara's suggestions.

  • Like 14

Share this post


Link to post

Besides having a Chef's Table instead of larger restaurants, was this also the first time there were not formal pre-designated team leaders (usually from winning a prior competition like the quick fire)? I can't remember...

Share this post


Link to post

Rewatching the episode and just realized team Penny put water in carafes on the table and missed the opportunity to interact when they refilled glasses the way Team Kokozon did.  A small touch, but helped immensely with the atmosphere.  
 

eta:   One team made most of their dishes together with at least 2 people on each dish.   Team Penny...a group of individuals.   

Edited by DEL901
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post

Team Penny had a LOT of missed opportunities, starting with the fact that they wanted to go above and beyond to serve an amuse but Gabe kinda f'ed it up. And the fact that they didn't have a leader or anyone managing FOH. I wonder how they would have fared in a traditional Restaurant Wars, where you have to assign roles? 

Some menus at very high end restaurants just basically list ingredients, which made wonder if that's what Penny's menu had on it? "Crab, ham broth, spring onions, carrot tops" or whatever, but didn't go into a lot of details. I ate at Volt years ago, which was Bryan Voltaggio's first restaurant, and basically my takeaway was that even if I recognized the ingredients that were listed as part of a dish, I had NO CONCEPT of what it would look like or how it was prepared when it arrived at the table. 

  • Like 2
  • Useful 3

Share this post


Link to post
22 minutes ago, Nancybeth said:

ome menus at very high end restaurants just basically list ingredients, which made wonder if that's what Penny's menu had on it?

Basically. I mean Chris’s dish doesn’t even mention the pasta!

77ED1739-F6FE-4627-84D7-6EDA0B9E8F58.jpeg

Edited by biakbiak
  • Like 2
  • Useful 6
  • Laugh 2

Share this post


Link to post
25 minutes ago, Nancybeth said:

I ate at Volt years ago, which was Bryan Voltaggio's first restaurant,

just an aside, one of my all-time favorite dinners out. I planned a whole vacation around going there! (Civil war stuff mostly)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

For comparison’s sake here is Kokoson’s menu:

 

396EC674-76B6-4947-94AA-EDBFB71908F1.jpeg

  • Like 6
  • Useful 5

Share this post


Link to post

Tom has been WAITING to lay down that Grateful Dead line. 😂

  • Like 2
  • Laugh 10

Share this post


Link to post
20 hours ago, biakbiak said:

Basically. I mean Chris’s dish doesn’t even mention the pasta!

77ED1739-F6FE-4627-84D7-6EDA0B9E8F58.jpeg

It amuses me that they put the chefs’ names at the bottom. Like they already knew the judges wouldn’t see them enough to remember who was on that team!

  • Laugh 2

Share this post


Link to post

Even factoring in editing, I have noticed the lack of blaming and throwing others under the bus and it is really refreshing. It was notable last season, too. The focus has been on the tasks, not on the personalities, and I love that. 

I was happy to see Maria win. Hers is almost always something I would want to try, looks delicious, and gets good feedback from tasters. Tongue has never been a favorite of mine since I was tricked into eating some when I was ten, but I’d be willing to give it a try based on the raves from the judges. 

Shota seems well positioned to win, but I’d give anyone except Chris a good chance at the top prize. Shota is self-confident without being cocky, has a good sense of humor, and seems to get along with everyone, on top of being an inventive and skilled chef. 

Can’t wait to see how the season unfolds. 

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post

From the Sunday Seattle Times:

“Top Chef” contestant Shota Nakajima opened Taku on Capitol Hill in early May, though this is technically a reboot. Taku, originally conceived as a street food, meat-skewer concept, debuted in 2020 just before the pandemic hit and closed shortly after as a safety precaution. Nakajima has pivoted with a fast-casual, karaage-chicken-inspired concept. You can order five pieces or a bucket of Japanese chicken. Or get the fried chicken as a sandwich or in a rice bowl. This is Seattle, so of course there are teriyaki dipping sauces offered with that bird.

EEDE82A3-0618-4C4A-A002-132F89345C01.jpeg

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post

It was brought up in this thread that Gabe was let go from his job in December, speculation is harassment. I have read two or three recent articles (published after March at least?) and per the articles, Sara is still doing things with Gabe, is saying complimentary things about Gabe's time on TC and also saying complimentary things after filming was completed and after the firing, so I don't really know what happened to Gabe and his job but Sara, even though she is a hand wringer, doesn't seem like she would be the type to tolerate sexual harassment. I hope he isn't that guy. I read the press release from the restaurant owners and it was ambiguous as all get out but also specifically said something about not representing their values. So it might have been a work place romance gone bad or actual harassment or even something else. I dunno...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
On 5/23/2021 at 11:28 PM, Quilt Fairy said:

For the record, I've had tongue exactly once, in a sandwich, and it tasted like beef.  A slightly different texture, maybe, but it's not an organ meat like liver or kidney with a distinctive flavor of it's own, it's just another muscle.  I'd have it again, but it's not something I've ever come across since.  (And don't forget the tongue tacos that Rick Bayless created on his season of TC Masters.  They were in such demand at his Chicago restaurant that I think he had to put them on the permanent menu.) 

Besides lengua tacos, it's very common to see tongue sandwiches in a Jewish deli.  It's corned and sliced thin, served on rye with lots of mustard.  Yum!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

My mother used to bake tongue like ham with a brown sugar mustard glaze with whole cloves. It was very good,  but I grossed my children out by showing them  a packaged tongue at the meat counter in  Safeway. 

My grandfather was a farmer who was a part-time butcher during the Depression.  He was sometimes paid with meat from the animals he butchered. Mom wouldn't eat liver as an adult, but she made tongue delicious. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I have eaten and also cooked tongue many times. We always boiled it, peeled the outer skin and then baked it. It's very juicy.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Y'all are making my tongue hold down a lot of barf with all this tongue talk. My gag reflex is only so strong.

I would probably have eaten Maria's sandwich (sando?) and enjoyed it as long as I didn't know what it was. It looked so simplistically delicious, the little rectangle bite with dipping broth.

  • Like 6
  • Laugh 1

Share this post


Link to post
4 minutes ago, stewedsquash said:

I would probably have eaten Maria's sandwich (sando?) and enjoyed it as long as I didn't know what it was.

that's how I feel. My mom was an immigrant from Latvia, and when we visited the grandparents they served tongue. My parents (my dad a native-born American-- but from depression-era stock that appreciated any food given) ate it and enjoyed it. My brother and me? Uh uh. I can believe it is good, and I am truly a wide-open eater in general, but I still have no desire.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

My mom once made tongue sandwiches for us when we were kids. Once.

It really wasn't that bad. I just remember it as being a bit tough. She probably didn't cook it exactly right. Cooking wasn't her strong suit.

 

  • Like 1
  • Laugh 1

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, stewedsquash said:

Y'all are making my tongue hold down a lot of barf with all this tongue talk. My gag reflex is only so strong.

 

That's how I feel.  Just thinking about it makes me gag.

I won't eat anything unless I know for sure what it is and how it was made.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Shota was an amazing, calm, decisive, collaborative leader.  Wow, I was impressed.  He put forth his ideas quite often but in a way that was easy for the teammates to handle.  

That Kokoson effort was wow in almost every single respect — so happy for them.  On the opposite end, the awkward quietness and tension of Penny was hard to watch.  

I didn’t like that the chefs could hear the judges’ negative comments quite well — in the case of Penny, it piled on even more pressure and they tensed up.  

Edited by MerBearHou
  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post

Quote

Besides lengua tacos, it's very common to see tongue sandwiches in a Jewish deli.  It's corned and sliced thin, served on rye with lots of mustard.  Yum!

This. Except I hate rye and mustard. The one time I tried Mexican lengua, thinking "I love tongue, why not?", it was boiled to death and hard. Outside the NYC area it's pretty difficult to find deli tongue and if you can it's really expensive.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I just rewatched with a friend and the second they start planning it is established that Sarah’s cold dish will go before Dawn’s crab and Johnny cake dish. I mention it because it will be eventually be called out about the progression but Dawn states she is going to do a Johnny cake with crab immediately and she and Sarah agreed it would be after Sarah’s first course of as one of my friends called “jizz over fish”.
Sometime after the shopped  and Sarah changed her dishes they switched the order but on rewatch I think Dawn legit did nothing wrong (she also helped Sarah set up the decor) because from jump she said she was going to do a johnnycake with crab and it that It should be second before Gabe decided to do the sad tostada but at that point it would be third and then they all decide that Chris’s pasta dish would go after her ham and scallops which as all judges noted doesn’t make sense for a pasta course.

Edited by biakbiak
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, biakbiak said:

Sarah’s first course of as one of my friends called “jizz over fish”.

can't disagree but I called it "baby spit up over fish."

  • Laugh 1

Share this post


Link to post
14 minutes ago, dleighg said:

can't disagree but I called it "baby spit up over fish."

My friends are apparently more crass than you but same sentiment of an unappealing looking dish that also didn’t taste great!

Share this post


Link to post
On 5/21/2021 at 5:57 PM, Machiabelly said:

I enjoyed this take on Restaurant Wars. I also enjoyed Top Chef Canada's version this year...they did Take Out Wars. So their dishes had to be tasty and travel well.

I love Top Chef Canada 🇨🇦!!

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Customize font-size