Top Chef

Episode Report Card
Carla Sparks: B+ | 172 USERS: D+
The Last Luau

Nina's restaurant, Canoan, named for the island her dad is from, opens. A professional hostess seats Tom, Gail, David Kinch, Takashi Yagihashi and another woman. Over at Chris, Nick's restaurant, the eliminated contestants are seated, away from Padma, Emeril, Hugh Acheson, Iron Chef Morimoto and Paul Bartolotta.

Nina's service begins with the bread service, breadfruit with a whipped foie gras butter. The first official course is a tuna and escolar tartar with tomato water and jalapeno.

Over at Nicholas's restaurant, he's flying off the handle about service. I don't know how to describe it except he's being a real asshole to everyone. He micro-manages every aspect, muttering "fish lands on the left, guys, fish lands on the left." Also, don't touch his pots. He had three pots, don't fucking touch them. So yeah, he presents his first course: hamachi and tuna crudo with three different preparations of green apple. Always with the three different preparations. They agree that it's good but the flavor is too subtle. He should add more salt, pretty much always. His next course is a sweet shrimp bisque, scallop and daikon noodles with basil. It's his dish he collaborated on with Jason, who he feels great about. Morimoto doesn't know why he's using the scallop. Bartolotta doesn't know about this one, as it's not sweet. This is a tough crowd.

Back at Nina's place, the braised goat is ready for the judges. She brings out the roasted goat sugo with orechiette and goat cheese with cherry tomatoes. They are loving this baby goat. Nina's next dish is Travis's swordfish with squash puree, braised kale and a smoked onion jus. Tom thinks this dish is a little less successful of a melting pot. The diners also want it to be more exciting.

Nicholas is looking for the best pieces of duck for the judges, and realizes upon tasting it that it's a bit tough. He encourages Luis to push it towards medium. He brings the kombu cured seared duck out with kabocha squash and ginger. The duck is inconsistent, and Emeril's is so chewy he won't let it go any time soon. His dessert comes out next without the spoons he asked for. Nicholas freaks out visibly. What an ass. He re-presents his panna cotta and it's kind of a failure in texture again. Padma says overall, though, it's great.

Nina brings out a compressed dragon fruit and ginger syrup intermezzo, followed by her zeppole, that crazy chocolate Italian donut. The judges agree the dessert isn't complete and it ends the meal with a whisper and not a bang. I'm nervous for Nina, I want her to win.

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Top Chef




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