January 12th, 2012
04:10 PM ET
It’s finally here: Restaurant Wars on “Top Chef: Texas.”
If your favorite thing about the perennial challenge is watching the judges feign offense and dismantle each restaurant while waiting for tables and/or food, then this episode hit your sweet spot.
Plus it was a battle of the sexes, and even in these post-gender times who doesn’t like that? The rules: six dishes, three courses, 100 guests, and no “I had the front of the house” cop outs this time.
First up we had Canteen, the restaurant by Ed, Paul, Ty-Lor, and Pebbles (how is he still here?). Ed explained Canteen’s food had humble beginnings and the chefs elevated it to haute cuisine. Wasn’t that the plot of “The Blind Side”?
The dudes seemed pretty organized, and of course that disintegrated immediately. Ed was fine in the front, but the servers had trouble communicating with the kitchen, so several diners got the wrong dish or cold food.
That said, we’ve seen (and were about to see) much worse service. As for the food, Paul tried to will his team to victory like a cooking Tim Tebow - he made an appetizer, an entree, and did a combo job with Ty-Lor on the second entree. Ty also made a shrimp and crab salad. Rounding out the meal, Ed came up with an almond joy cake which Pebbles put together. Pebbles also made cracker jack and peanut butter ice cream.
The next night we saw Half Bushel by Grayson, Sarah, Lindsay, and poor Beverly. Sarah immediately called Bev “a rat” which, are you kidding? “Rat” is seriously the most un-Beverly word there is (nothing annoys me like an inaccurate insult).
Sarah rode Beverly the entire night, picking up where Heather’s villainy left off. But Grayson defended Bev and snapped at Sarah. Before this episode I started talking myself into thinking Grayson was hot. Now I KNOW she is.
With all the bickering, the women glossed over the service specifics, so smash cut to: the judges lolly-gagging at the entrance waiting for Lindsay to seat them, the judges twiddling their thumbs at the table, and roughly five parties milling around like sheep, Shepherd Lindsay nowhere in sight.
Instead of working the front, Lindsay was in the kitchen busting Bev’s hump. But it’s cool, because Lindsay told us she was prom queen and graduated at the top of her class. There should be a special circle of Hell reserved for people who mention that they were prom queen after the age of prom-plus-one-day.
The boys won the service category, so it was up to the girls’ food. Whatever description I used for the guys about elevating comfort food, recycle it here. The judges adored Grayson’s peach salad with pickled shallots and bacon vinaigrette (woo!). Sarah made mozzarella arancini with eggplant puree, and the judges loved this as well (dang).
The second course included Beverly’s short ribs with kimchee. Once again she scored big with short ribs, as they got a “yummy” from Padma. However, Bev also cooked Lindsay’s halibut with chorizo, which was the restaurant’s weakest dish.
For dessert, Grayson made something called a schaum torte, while Sarah made hazelnut cream doughnuts that were described as “leaden” (also applies to her personality).
In the end, the girls made better food, and good food trumps good service (if it didn’t, we’d all eat at T.G.I. Friday’s every night for that extra helping of flair). Beverly took home the top prize; her dish was so delicious it outweighed her hand in the overcooked halibut.
Sarah couldn’t just let Bev enjoy the victory, though, saying Lindsay deserved “as much praise, or more” than Beverly. Classy gal.
The dudes shuffled out to Judges’ Table and were told Canteen’s food had no “wow” factor. Ed’s chocolate almond cake was their best dish. Paul was safe due to a few “buts”: his ham and egg app was a good idea, but the brioche was greasy. His pork belly was superb, but the apple-potato puree was boring. And the salmon and tomato-water dish was well-conceived. It was bland, but the seasoning was Ty’s responsibility.
Ty also under-seasoned his appetizer. Lastly, there was Pebbles, who made (another) visually unappealing dish. The flavor was passable, though, so would he sneak through again?
Yes, he would. Ty got the axe because his food was too bland. Looks like it’s back to gay nude modeling for Ty. No, seriously.
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