Outside, Kevin makes the case for naming their restaurant Mission, based on the clean style of architecture. The others (minus Laurine, who is nowhere to be found) agree. At least it's not REVolt. There's actually a restaurant here in Syracuse called The Mission that serves Mexican food and it's in an old church. I'm sure many cities have something similar.
Michael V. takes over designing the menu, and even tells Robin how to form and plate her dessert. Someone is a control freak! He interviews that he wants to make sure all of their food has a similar style, instead of just serving modern food and then Robin's homey dessert. The other team feels pretty confident about their decision to skip dessert, because Kevin is doing the last course and the judges love him.
The next day, the cheftestants arrive at Moonen's restaurant. The Blue Team gets to choose which floor they want, fine dining or casual, and they go with fine dining. The Red Team is happy with that decision anyway.
Kevin interviews that he's opened several restaurants, so it's ridiculous to do it in three hours, but that's the challenge. Meanwhile, Michael V. is barking orders at Robin about how to make her dessert. Keep in mind, this is the one dish she has made that the judges RAVED about, so maybe he should shut his trap and let her get to work. Instead, he's yelling at her about getting her ingredients out, and she already has pulled everything out. Robin interviews that she likes feedback, but this is a little ridiculous. Michael interviews that he thinks Robin is out of her league, and he might hurt her feelings, but he'll do it if that's what it takes to put out good food. I get that. I'm a control freak too. But he needs to back off a little bit.
Laurine explains that she's doing a lot of the prep for her teammates since she's only responsible for a lamb dish. Since she has to be out front, Kevin will actually be finishing her dish for her. Jen explains that their food is supposed to be simple and seasonal, which is what she is used to cooking. Jen has two seafood dishes, and they are pretty far behind on prep work.
Michael V. interviews that he thinks their food will be more playful and the food from the other team will be safer. Ultimately, he thinks it will really come down to who executes their food better, though. The two front-of-house people break off to go get ready for their role.
Laurine talks to the servers and then Colicchio shows up. He wonders how Laurine will balance service and her dish, and she explains that Kevin is going to finish it for her. Colicchio goes back and asks Kevin how he's going to handle being responsible for three main dishes. Kevin is confident that he can do it. Jen, on the other hand, feels swamped and laughs that she thinks she's superwoman and can do a million things at once, so Colicchio just leaves her alone. Doesn't it seem like that's always her response? She's always so much busier than everyone else. It's kind of annoying.
Colicchio heads to the other floor to talk to Eli, who says nothing of import. Colicchio heads back to the kitchen where Michael insists that there's no real team leader, and they're all working together. Do you think he really believes that, or is he just saying it because he thinks it sounds good? Because he's been barking out orders for like two days now.
With thirty minutes left, both teams are rushing around trying to finish up the last-minute tasks. The Brothers Volt exchange a few words but it's minor at best. Kevin says that his team is totally not ready as time runs out. Laurine is in the kitchen giving the servers last-minute instructions as the first diners show up; by the time she gets out there, she's shocked SHOCKED that the lounge is full of people waiting. How can that be a surprise? Shouldn't she be more aware of these things? You will ask yourself that a lot through the rest of the episode. Jen interviews that she's totally not ready either. Did they not see the timer counting down? Plus, given how much Jen has claimed in the past that her food is terrible or whatever and then she totally pulls it off, I don't know if I believe her anymore.
Laurine starts seating people as Jen says that she's not prepared but she'll cook the fish to order if she has to. Eli seats some people over at his restaurant and one of the diners wonders what the name of the restaurant has to do with the food, like does the food clash or something? It's a good question. The judges (Tom, Padma, Toby, and Rick Moonen) enter. Padma is wearing some of the ugliest shoes I've ever seen. They're regular strappy heels, but then the straps have black fringe on them, like she grew a fungus on her feet. Yuck. Also, her skirt is too short. We get it. You're a lady. We don't need to see all of your parts.
Eli seats the judges and explains their concept of Modern American. Once he has gone to get the food, Padma brings up how horrible the name is, and Tom agrees, but Rick likes how they set up the menu. Their first pair of dishes is smoked Arctic char with beets, horseradish sour cream, and potatoes, cooked by Bryan and Eli, and pressed chicken with calamari noodles, tomato confit, and fennel salad, cooked by Michael. I'm not sure how American either of those dishes are, but okay. The judges love Michael's chicken. Tom wants more chicken, but Padma doesn't want to give it up. Rick says he would order it again. As Eli rushes to get out the next set of dishes, Rick says that the char was "a little one-dimensional."
Eli continues hectoring the kitchen about getting the food out, but it's not coming. The judges notice that there's been a bit of a delay between courses, and Tom points out that no one is getting food, so it's not just their table. In the kitchen, the brothers are still bickering. Michael just takes over one of Bryan's dishes and Bryan probably realizes it's not worth fighting over. Finally, Eli brings out the next round and apologizes for the delay, making a joke about opening night. As much as I can't stand Eli personally, he does do a good job as a schmoozer. Anyway, this round is a duo of beef, braised short rib and prime NY strip, cooked by Bryan, and cod with parsley sauce, billi-bi croquette, and zucchini tenderloin, cooked by Michael. So the brothers were responsible for most of the entrees. Interesting. The judges think the cod was delicious and flavorful. Rick Moonen even calls it brilliant. They weren't super impressed by Bryan's food, and in fact, some other diners got food that was completely cold.
Back in the kitchen, the Red Team is doing final preparations on their last course. Robin is trying to plate her pear crisp and Michael is all up in her biz, grabbing her food and trying to tell her what to do. Robin tells him to buzz off and asks if she can do it. He just ignores her and keeps plating her food, so she gets pissed and keeps repeating, "This is my goddamn dessert!" Michael finally walks away but not before making a point of telling Robin, like a child or a dog, not to curse at him again, "Do you understand?" What a dick. My first impression of him was totally right. Look, I get that Robin is annoying and he thinks she's incompetent, but there are ways to manage people in a kitchen or elsewhere without treating them like not-very-bright children and demeaning them. Robin keeps arguing with him so Bryan comes over and tells them both to shut it and get the food out. Bryan interviews that he understood Michael's reaction but they should have set it aside and gotten the food out. Once the plates go out, Robin can't just fucking drop it and has to keep yelling at Michael for what he did. Just LET IT GO. He's toxic and you're never going to be friends. Continuing the argument serves no purpose. How can she be in her mid-40s and not have learned that lesson yet? There are discussions worth having and some that aren't. This one isn't worth it. Michael pulls the TOTAL DICK MOVE of telling Robin to "relax." Gah. I hate that. Shut it, both of you.
Eli finally escapes with some plates to take to the judges. The first is ganache with spearmint ice cream and chocolate tuiles (sort of like lacy chips?) made by Bryan. I am an opponent of using mint in desserts, but this looks pretty effing good. The other dish is pear pithivier with vanilla ice cream and elderflower syrup, made by Robin, which also looks pretty good. Toby thinks this is Robin's best dish ever, and Rick compliments the layers of flavor. They also all like the chocolate ganache, although Toby wishes there were more ice cream. Eli returns to the table to see if there are more questions or comments. Once he leaves, Padma asks the table what they thought of Eli's performance, and Rick says he liked how hard Eli tried. Aw. Like a dog.
The judges head over to the other restaurant to try out their food. Laurine greets them, and then interviews that she needs to balance the needs of the judges with the needs of all the other diners, who will be filling out comment cards. Tom points out that there are no desserts on the menu and Padma gasps like someone told her that someone died in the kitchen. I don't get why it's such a big deal; in the past, when teams have screwed up dessert, the judges have asked why they bothered making one at all. Mike I. sends the first set of dishes out, which Laurine delivers to the table without a word of explanation, so I don't get the glamour shot and caption for each dish. I know that one is Mike I.'s Arctic char tartar and the other is his asparagus and egg dish. The char is apparently underseasoned, and Padma asks for salt, which sends the kitchen into a tizzy. The highest praise they can come up with on both dishes is that they weren't bad. Not so great compared to the raves the other team got.
It's time for the second course, but it's not r