Top Chef

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

Stefan calls his style EurAmerican, and wants to mix old European styles with new American food. His dish is in the cute three-cup bowl that Jeff used last week, and it includes fried white asparagus with trout, asparagus salad with chanterelles, and white asparagus soup. The judges have no comments.

Jeff says he wanted to cook whatever was fresh. I think some of these cheftestants need to revise their concepts; everyone seems to be doing "fresh and local," which is great, but won't differentiate you from the crowd. Anyway, Jeff made grilled salmon with sunchoke and artichoke puree and grilled corn and asparagus salad. Sounds delish. Padma eats some of the puree right off the knife, which is bizarre. Starr says that "it's a little mushy," but doesn't specify. The asparagus? The salmon? Don't know.

Radhika explains that her restaurant would be globally influenced, not just Indian. She made pan-seared cod, butter-braised corn, spinach and chorizo with cream sauce that's been infused with saffron. Starr pronounces it "very well-seasoned" and Radhika is pleased. Jamie spits out her "local and seasonal" trope again, except it's interesting that she's serving Chilean sea bass, which is neither local and, while not endangered, is not as eco-conscious a choice as other proteins might be. [Warning: links to a PDF file] I don't know if Jamie doesn't know or doesn't care. She's added creamed corn, bacon, peas, and garlic scape to her dish, and added an arugula salad. Starr likes the simplicity of her dish.

Fabio explains that lunch business can pay your bills, so he made a tuna and swordfish Carpaccio, roasted vegetable salad, and a filet mignon sandwich. That sandwich looks awesome. Starr says it's a cheese steak sandwich, and it's a little salty. Fabio interviews angrily: "It's not a cheese steak. It's a filet mignon sandwich. End of a-story."

Starr is ready to announce his winners and losers. He puts Jeff on the bottom, because he made boring salmon. He also didn't really understand Fabio's restaurant concept. He doesn't understand lunch? Fabio probably should have been more specific, like only make pasta dishes, or only make sandwiches and salads or something. The first favorite is Radhika, because her flavors were unique and her concept is one that Starr feels is emerging. Radhika interviews that she's confident because she knows Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, so her restaurant is going to be awesome. Starr announces that Leah will be opening the other restaurant, because her food was "clean" and "forward-thinking." Leah is pleased, but nervous, because she knows that if her team loses, she'll be the one going home.

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