Top Chef
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Keckler: B | Grade It Now!
God Save The Hot Dish

Tre poached shellfish in fish stock and is serving them with a grilled leek compote and a big pile of butter and chive oil-saturated summer corn. Portale samples Sara N.'s thing -- we don't know exactly what it is, but it's minced, creamy, and served in a scallop shell with tiny green scallion rings -- and says, "Nice." Micah tells Portale that she's serving him conch salad ceviche with sour orange, and on the side, she has "sky juice," which is, she explains, a traditional Bahamian drink. Portale sips some out of a spoon and says, "It's an acquired taste." I looked around for this recipe and all I could come up with was something involving gin and coconut milk. "Acquired taste" indeed, my stomach is curdling as we speak. Padma and Portale clink their big glasses of white wine Brian (MALARKEY!) is serving with his "tres rios, three rivers" dish. I'm sort of scared to ask what the three rivers refer to because it might make him break into song: "In the middle of the day/I go tripping in my brain/From the waters of the bay/To the rivers so insane/I must be crazy or something/Cooking weird and bizarre/But the river is wide/And I got sausage to char!" Brian (MALARKEY!) has a bowl of mussels, clams, and crawfish seasoned with white wine, Pernod, and butter, next is oysters on the half shell with a traditional red wine mignonette, and finally, conch toast. I don't know what is on the conch toast or if the "bread" is actually conch, but whatever it is, it's been spread with something green. Maybe it's conch pesto? That could be tasty.

Lia prepared raw bay scallops with dried fig (Bravo would like you to know that they think it's "dry fig") and lemon zest, steamed cockle with tomato water, and nicely curled capellini pasta with crayfish and crayfish butter. I'd like Bravo to make up their mind if they want to go with "crawfish" or "crayfish." With Brian (MALARKEY!) it was "crawfish," but with Lia, Sara M. and Howie it was "crayfish." They're both correct, but for goodness sake, pick an editorial style and stick to it, freakazoids. Like Brian (MALARKEY!), Sara M. also did a trio. She has cornmeal-crusted conch with citrus butter and scallions. That's what she tells us. That's ALL she tells us. The Bravo Graphics says "cornmeal crusted conch with citrus butter mango & cilantro mignonette." To whom does the mango and cilantro mignonette belong? Because I know it's not to the conch fritters as the chyron implies -- no, see, they're off to the side, being fried and tasty on their own. Could it be the oysters we see on the side? The oysters that would usually have a mignonette and who also have tiny precise dice of something yellow that is probably mango? Mayhaps. But for all we know, the mango and cilantro mignonette belongs to that other dish that is neither Bravo Graphic'd or explained by Sara M. That dish is a bowl of shellfish with a round of bread sticking out; it might be bouillabaisse or something else soupy. Bravo prefers that we will never know. Portale likes her flavors, says the dish is a bit salty, but he still likes it.

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