Meanwhile, my analysis aside, the judges hate Tre's salmon. Padma makes a repulsed face, and Ted says it's the worst dish he's had in awhile. "The buck stops with the executive chef," Zakarian announces. "He let this come out of the kitchen. I think this is a car wreck in Times Square." Because as a New Yorker, he has to make sure everyone knows he's a New Yorker, so it can't just be a car wreck. It HAS to be in Times Square. Ted swigs on his glass of white wine to rid himself of the salmon taste. Next up is the chilled carrot-ginger soup with sake and vinegar, and the lobster salad with arugula, cherry tomatoes, and caramelized cauliflower. A diner thinks the lobster is too salty, and we get a kitchen shot of Colicchio taking a final bite of his lobster before standing up to get rid of it. Aw, what a helping boy -- he clears his own plate!
I just had a brainwave. Colicchio got to eat every dish himself. If he were sitting in the dining room with his fellow judges, he would be sharing everything and only getting bites off of each dish. This way, he gets to basically lick all twelve plates and THAT'S why he's in the kitchen. He's not watching, he's gorging!
Casey brings out the seared monkfish with mascarpone-whipped potatoes and beurre blanc. Casey may be the first cheftestant in the history of this show to correctly pronounce "mascarpone." She should win for that alone. (But not really, because she bugs me.) The judges also have the mushroom and gorgonzola-crusted beef tenderloin with the same smoked potatoes. I wonder at the wisdom of keeping those smoked potatoes with that dish. I know they didn't oversmoke them -- because those recriminations would still be ringing in our ears even now -- but it seems to me that just having them on the plate again would forcibly remind the judges about last week's smoketastrophe. Padma notes that her monkfish was overcooked. "I remember the scallop and I remember the soup," Zakarian says. "I don't remember this. It's forgettable." Dude, are you having a senior moment? Your dish still in front of you -- all you have to do is look down. Go on, you know you want to! Remember. Tre himself serves the Granny Smith apple bread pudding with dried cherries, and he reaches out to pour a shot glass of cinnamon and brandy anglaise over each portion. I know Ted Allen really likes the tableside service, but I'm not a fan. It makes me nervous, because I don't know when I'm allowed to pick up my fork and start eating. Like, "Are you done pouring? Okay, great, then I'm gonna -- Oh, you need to shave something now? Okay -- oh, and there's something to grind as well? Yeah, well any time I can start eating my cooling food, just tell me. Any time." The other part that niggles is how much it seems that someone is waiting on me hand and foot. Like, I couldn't have poured that broth myself if told to? What's next, you're going to feed me? Finally, there's the feeling of, "You're stupid and you wouldn't know what to do with this cruet of cream, so let me handle it." No one likes the bread pudding. Ted Allen whispers that the apples are undercooked and there's nothing "custardy" about it. A diner announces, "I don't think that I would come back to this restaurant." What if we put you on TV again -- would you come back then?