Top Chef

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Sunset Lounge? Isn't That a Don Henley Song?

The judges enter and Fabio seats them. Stephen Starr is five minutes from hiring Fabio to work as a greeter at one of his restaurants, I think. The amuse-bouche goes out, and Fabio explains that he made it, and it's a vegetable roll with mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, and sweet chili sauce. Padma asks for reactions. Colicchio says he's had better frozen egg rolls, and Starr agrees that it was second-rate. One diner says the sauce tasted jarred, but another diner says that it "amused [her] bouche." Fabio goes into the kitchen and calls for the appetizers, which is tuna and salmon sashimi with a radish salad and yuzu vinaigrette. It's accompanied by coconut curry bisque with shrimp dumplings. The judges think the soup is fine, and the sushi is also fine, but not overwhelmingly great. One diner agrees that the sashimi is underseasoned.

Leah interviews that she's not proud of her dish, but she sends it out anyway. Fabio introduces the braised beef short ribs with ginger, vegetables, and a beef demi-glace. The other entree is Leah's seared black cod with fresh vegetables and Chinese cabbage. The judges agree that the short ribs are cooked well and glazed nicely. And then the cod. It's undercooked. Stephen Starr puts a bite in his mouth and then coughs, because the sauce is so tart. He says it's like eating a pickle. Toby Young says the dish is a disaster. Fabio notices a problem and asks what's wrong. Padma says the fish was undercooked. Fabio offers to replace it, but Colicchio says it's not necessary. Fabio apologizes and brings the dish back to the kitchen where he drops the bomb on Leah that the judges hated her dish and refused to eat it. Leah apologizes to Stefan and says she's going home. Hosea tries to comfort her but she kind of pushes him away and pouts. Hosea interviews that their leader just sent out an inedible dish, so all the life force of their team disappeared. Stefan asks why she didn't cook it, like that's helping.

Fabio delivers the desserts. It's a chocolate rice parfait with grapefruit jelly and pineapple, and a lemongrass and ginger panna cotta with peach puree and ginger honey. The judges are really impressed, and agree that the desserts are the best part of this meal, and possibly of both meals. Colicchio announces that Stefan might have saved his team, but he definitely saved himself, and he won't be leaving tonight. Fabio delivers the final treat: a frozen mango, bitter chocolate and mint lollipop with green tea. The judges love the lollipops. The other diners all have great things to say about the desserts. Fabio asks if the judges need anything else, and they say they're all set. Big contrast to how their meal ended over at Sahana.

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Top Chef

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