Top Chef

Episode Report Card
Chuck: C+ | Grade It Now!
Mai Buddha Sucks

Warehouse Kitchen's clams get a second bath due to grittiness -- Antonia explains that it's about collective rather than individual effort and that they are looking to the full collection of dishes to keep them all safe from elimination. Mai Buddha has a different approach -- Lisa's laksa base (incorporating smoked chicken carcasses) tastes far too smoky, based on repeated sampling by Dale and Spike, but since it's not Dale's soup, he doesn't know how to fix it, and while Spike thinks Lisa should have asked him for his recipe, he believes he cannot be held accountable for what looks to be abysmal laksa (or, really, for the food in general, other than the short rib).

When the black-clad waiters show up, Stephanie makes sure to emphasize that they want to have "fun," to give people "really good food with some tasty beer" in a relaxed atmosphere. She explains that eating and drinking should be fun, not stuffy, like wearing a suit and tie. Oh, look, Spike's changed into a suite and tie! He's arranged one table to his specifications, and expects the waiters to complete the others according to his model while he disappears for twenty minutes. He should continue to avoid the kitchen, where Lisa's discovered that her sticky rice "is not sticky AT ALL." She's pissed because she's been "forced into doing mango sticky rice" since Dale's focused on the halo-halo. Poor Lisa suffers so much buffeting by forces outside of her control. Dale suggests folding in a pastry cream to make the rice sticky, which works well from a flavor perspective, but falls flat where texture is concerned -- it looks like a pan of hot Vaseline. As time ticks away, Richard explains that this experience of opening a restaurant is just like...opening a restaurant. Way to be observant.

As service begins, Stephanie ushers clients through the tastefully-appointed dining room as Antonia recalls the disastrous nature of past restaurant wars -- no one has ever done well. In the starker Mai Buddha room, Spike's feeling like the underdog, and will work as hard as he can to make sure he's part of the final four. The judges start the evening at Warehouse Kitchen -- this week's judges are Padma, Bourdain, Ted Allen, and next guest chef Jose Andres (enjoy the music!), who may be a genius chef, but is not a genius television host -- his voice is almost unendurable. Maybe TPTB agree, since he's only guest-judging for half an episode. Stephanie looks uncomfortable in her dress as she mentions that Jose is known for "going outside the box."

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Top Chef




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