Sorry for the delay on my blog, my little Sunset Lounges. Sorry -- I can't help myself. I literally cannot get over the fact that Fabio, Hosea, Leah, and Stefan thought this was a good name. It sounds like a strip club! I'm not sure if it's the Sunset, the Lounge, or the combo. Must be the combo because an old friend of mine works at Sunset Grill & Tap in Boston, and, well, that doesn't sound that bad to me.
First, let's start with the Quickfire. The chefs were asked to create tastings for restaurateur Stephen Starr to reflect the type of restaurant they would open. I heard a whole lot of New American going on, which is fine by me because I love it, but living in New York, he sees a lot of it. Well, living in New York, he sees a lot of everything, but Radhika and Leah obviously brought something different to the table. And, remember, his decision was based purely on food; he had no idea what kind of leadership capabilities these two chefs have. On a sidenote: Even though Stephen Starr said in our Q&A with him that Fabio's was his least favorite dish, I think it almost seemed like Fabio was the only one who gave him a real tasting, rather than just one dish. Anyway, what do I know?
So, as the winners of the Quickfire, Radhika and Leah, are team leaders for RESTAURANT WARS!!! Of course, Leah picks Hosea first (we'll get to that in a moment), and no one wants Stefan. Who apparently couldn't give a shit. Which makes me giggle. You know what? Say what you will about Stefan, and maybe he's a little talkative in the kitchen and a little overbearing, he has yet to really, really fail, and so he can only really be an asset in the kitchen. OK -- let's step out of this blog for a second and talk about Hosea and Leah for a second. (Because as the producers seem to be doing, we want to keep the real parts of the show about the food.) First of all, how funny was the porn music playing in the background? I figured this would anger some of you, but you have to realize the producers are just having a little fun sometimes. By the looks of your comments, a lot of you are VERY angry at both Hosea and Leah for cheating. Well, if I were their significant others, I would be too, but, I don't know, as someone in her 20s, stuff happens? I'm not saying it's right, but I'm sure they're both getting it right now, so they don't need our condemnation too. However, I was officially grossed out by the whole thing. Officially.
Back to the food: As a good number of our Restaurant Wars have been, this was kind of a mess. It seemed like the crowd liked Sahana's (which is apparently Radhika's niece's name) food better, but service was ghastly. Sunset Lounge had some highlights on their menu, like Hosea's short ribs and Stefan's desserts, and the service was impeccable. How cute is Fabio, by the way? I don't know if his charm could forgive the serving of monkey ass in -- what was it? -- a shell? But, he's good. His suit was a little too Saturday Night Fever for me, but he still looked good.
It didn't seem like the judges were blown away by either restaurant, honestly, but they did seem semi-blown away by Stefan's desserts. Even though I'm totally a dessert person, I do agree with what Stephen Starr says in our Q+A with him that people would return to a restaurant where they liked the food, but not the desserts. Honestly, I'm OK with the decision this week. I'm not OK with Radhika's decision to be front-of-house. She shines in the kitchen, but Toby is right -- she's not a very extroverted person. Kudos though to maybe the greatest taster we've ever had who kind of grunted in her impersonation of Radhika. And good job, Stefan, on not falling into the scented candle trap!
Oh, and Carla might be from outer space, but I still love her. However, Tom's face was priceless when she said all she could do was send out love.
As always, let me know what you think!
And be sure to come back for next week's blog because I went to the taping of the episode, so I'll have real behind-the-scenes dish!
- Monica A. Reyhani