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Top Chef 3.8 - Restaurant Wars Recap

Just when I was about to give Top Chef's editors some kudos, I discover that the whole thing was a trick! Warning, if you haven't watched last night's episode — which I liked despite it being a trick — I'm about to lay down some spoilers.

Let's start things off with the quickfire challenge. When the cheftestants head down to the kitchen they are greeted by Padma and high-profile Daniel Boulud — or as Dale said, "Holy S*it it's Daniel Boulud." This time around the company they're promoting is Red Robin, and they're asked to create a new burger inspired by their line of "Adventurer Burgers." Surprisingly, most of the chefs create seafood burgers, and thankfully, Bravo decides to show us each creation. To watch find out what happens,

Tre and Sara (no need for the M. since there is only one left) find themselves in the bottom. Boulud felt that both burgers were more like sandwiches, although he did love that Tre's felt the most French. When asked to pick his favorites, Boulud chooses half of the cast: Howie, Dale, Hung and CJ. Ultimately it is the texture of CJ's scallop and shrimp burger that wins Boulud over. As victor CJ doesn't receive immunity - we're far too far along in the competition for that — he does however, get to choose three teammates, because we have finally reached that pinnacle Top Chef moment: Restaurant Wars!
CJ chooses Tre, Brian and Casey, meaning that the other team consists of Dale, Hung, Sara and Howie. The cheftestants have 24 hours to plan, design and run a restaurant of their choice. With 30 minutes to plan, $700 for food, $2500 for decorations and 45 minutes to shop, the contestants are determined to create winning places.

First up is CJ's team. Their restaurant is called "Restaurant April" — which I personally think is quite a boring name — and they're going for a new American cuisine. Their planning is quite smart and diplomatic, roles are passed around easily with Brian being the front of the house. Their restaurant is declared good, but definitely not flawless — Tre's potatoes were beyond smoky and the plates are dusty. Casey even has to come out to the front of the house to calm things down after Brian freaks out just a bit.

On the other side of the wall, the other team is running a restaurant called "The Garage." It's a contemporary take on an American Bistro — well maybe one that got stuck in the 80s, the black and white decor was a bit hated upon — and their food is deemed too heavy and rich for a hot Miami evening. They also made a very amateur mistake of doing scented candles in their restaurant, everyone knows you don't want to smell candles when you eat, you want to smell food!

At judge's panel no one is declared a victor, and just when I think Bravo's editing is finally starting to make for a riveting show — I could not figure out who was going home — we found it's because no one is going home. That's right, no one. It's a tie. In fact, it's a do-over, the challenge is going to happen again next week. It had come down to Dale and Brian, both who were front of the house and I think they couldn't justify sending someone because they weren't good hosts.

Personally I found it a bit interesting and I can't wait for next week. But until then, a few questions.

  • Did Padma get a new hairdo?
  • Why on earth would anybody put scented candles in a restaurant?
  • Which restaurant did you want to eat at?
  • What did you think of the presence of food blogger Andrea Strong?
  • Are you glad they're having a re-match?

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infamouspopee infamouspopee 8 years
Hey did anyone else notice that the obnoxious guy at The Garage, "this lamb tastes like metal" is Madonna's brother?
sumnboutme sumnboutme 8 years
My answers to Yum's questions above: I think Padma's hair looks the same but maybe I just didn't notice. About the scented candle thing, it's actually funny that Casey suggested that for their team too but Brian said that it'll detract from the smell of the food. I think I would prefer to eat at Restaurant April because: 1.) the food they served looked much better than the other team 2.) the decor is much better However, I would've been turned off by bumbling Brian and the dusty dished and the lack of silverware. I kinda felt bad that Tre had to pull out like 5 dishes in 4 hours. Too much for him? I wasn't that concerned about the blogger because that's pretty rampant here in LA (bloggers everywhere). It was kind of refreshing to hear her POV. I think next week they will be sending two cheftestants home...just a hunch.
mlerose mlerose 8 years
I hope either CJ or Tre become Top Chef. And I hope they sounds Howie and Hung home SOON, although they do bring good entertainment along.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
When Chef Boulard came into the room, I thought that they would all just start dry humping the prep tables…. The Burger challenge was great, When I realized that most everyone was going for seafood I thought someone had to be different and daring and do a sweet lamb burger or maybe pork (howie!) but no, Tre had to use steak which was in the “hot sandwich” category obviously, and casey did some boring ground chuck with mushrooms? Does she not have any imagination, and Howie of course busted out the Truffle butter because he knows that Chef Boulards restaurant is FAMOUS for his $29 dollar hamburger with truffles in it….Can you say “kiss arse” I was happy when CJ won, and I loved the way boulard said Hungs name “ ‘ung” Now onto the dreaded dueling restaurant challenge, I thought it was hilarious when CJ says he sent Casey to get Decorations because guys always choose Black, and Bam over to Hung and Dale who are choosing exactly that color motif along with Smelly smelly candles….WE All know we don’t wanna be smellin vanilla when we are eating!!! Howie choosing to make “his version” of Risotto should have given him a ticket home right there, I don’t care how much experience you have, you shouldn’t deviate from risotto (just ask Gordon Ramsey) Brian wasn’t cut out for the front room, and really neither was dale, but neither deserved to go home for sure, but I was sorry that Howie didn’t get the heave ho, and they must continue on with the restaurant thing…LAME! Oh and the “food blogger” thing was completely unnecessary, who cares what that girl thought, I would love to eat off a black tablecloth if the food was good, she shouldn’t really care about the décor.
karisaamy karisaamy 8 years
I missed the quickfire, so I didn't see the Red Robin add, but I was surpised that shopping didn't become a Pier One add, since it was pretty obivous that they were there. I was actually really annoyed that no one was sent home. I hate it when shows so that, when do we get to do a do-over in real life. "Sorry my interview didn't go well, can we all just do them all over." Yeah, not going to happen.
Lara16 Lara16 8 years
I only saw the quickfire and went to sleep. I can't wait to see the rest of this episode (and next week's)!
EatYourVeggies EatYourVeggies 8 years
I hate how Howie's secret weapon is to put truffles in everything! It's like how Brian refuses to make anything but seafood. I'm kind of hoping either CJ or Casey wins.
sugarcupcake sugarcupcake 8 years
I was quite surprised that Howie went for a truffled burger for the Quickfire Challenge... Isn't that what Boulud is famous for? It seemed like an odd move on his part, choosing to make something the man judging him can obviously do much better. As for the restaurants: The Garage? All I can see in my mind is a biker bar. Yum yum! ^_^
sillylil sillylil 8 years
This show is getting lamer and lamer with all the product placements.
vapidintuition vapidintuition 8 years
Ugh. I hated both restaurants. Who wants to eat somewhere named "The garage"? Not me. Maybe if I was looking for theme food, or if it wasn't supposed to be a gourmet place, but really, the garage doesn't sound like somewhere I'd enjoy eating. As for the decor, I didn't think it was that bad. I think the black table clothes would have worked if the lighting was more dim, or if the walls weren't that god aweful eggshell colour. Also, if they had done something fun and/ or funky with the plates or chargers, like used bright colours. Restaurant April was a boring name. I probably wouldn't have chosen to eat there, but between the two, I'd probably have picked them. Its really too bad that both team's food was horrible. I'm glad they're getting a do-over. Running a restaurant is hard. I loved that Dale did part of the plating tableside. That was cool. I thought he was much more relaxed and I would have enjoyed him as a front end guy. I think the other team should have had Brian in the back, cooking, and they should have had Casey up front. I can't wait until next week!
veside veside 8 years
First off, I, too, can't wait for next week and I also breathed a huge sigh of relief after the "no elimination" decision. I am SO glad for the re-match! I thought The Garage won out as a name, but not as a space. April was much more inviting. To me, it looked like they all shopped at Pier I Imports and I think Brian and Casey picked out much better items for the walls (and scent-less candles!!). In terms of food, they all screwed up a little and no one menu was perfect. I did like the presence of an amuse-bouche at April, and a palate-cleansing sorbet before desert. On the plus side, no one went over-budget and omitted the wine (remember Season 1, anyone?). I am not sure what to think about the presence of the covert blogge--other than it should have been YumSugar!! Come on girl--where are your Miami connections? ;-) Padma looked great--maybe she has had a new hairstyle. And Laurafox, how do you know Brian? Are you a Seattle-resident? I am so glad he didn't go home--it would have been unfair to penalize the chefs that take the risk for being in front of the house. I did enjoy Dale's analysis that as a waiter you are something between a performer and a prostitute! LOL. I would never do it--it's so stressful!
ccy ccy 8 years
Poor Dale thinking Queer Eye had nothing on his design just to have everyone critisize everything! Yes, the black table cloths were tacky and the scented candles were a terrible idea but he was so proud! I can't wait to see how they transform the restaurants!
laurafox laurafox 8 years
They better not get rid of Brian - I know him in real life!
smp7328 smp7328 8 years
I missed this episode, so i am glad it will have a bit of a do-over for the final challenge. I agree with wallaceo, I still prefer hell's kitchen. that chef ramsey...
wallaceo wallaceo 8 years
i still prefer hell's kitchen...sorry. that chef ramsey...
SaraSmile SaraSmile 8 years
Usually by now I have a clear favorite, but I'm still on the fence. I think it will come down between C.J. and Tre, but I'm still rooting for Casey and Sara because I want to see a woman take the title. Wasn't it a little early for the restaurant challenge? I thought in the past there were only 6 contestants. Poor, tacky Dale cracked me up! I'm excited to see what happens next week - from the previews it seems that both teams go in a different direction, and it will be interesting to see how they incorporate the criticism from the panel and the blogger. PS: I really want to read Boulud's book now!
llendril llendril 8 years
i agree with you in that it's great that we were shown each burger in the quickfire challenge. i get really irked when we only see a few.
ALSW ALSW 8 years
A tie???!!! That's not right!
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