We now see that the judges have been waiting eighteen minutes for their first course at M.E.C.. They still don't seem to be talking to each other. How uncomfortable. Maybe they are faint with hunger and have exhausted their venom? Cliff serves them all their "Barbecue Coffee Sauce Chicken Wing." Looks like a drumstick to me. Sounds like a drumstick too, when you listen to the judges. Gail bitches, "Too sloppy" and snatches at a fork to scale off some of the sauce. "There's no depth," Padmadala one-ups her. Yakura asks if anyone else's is rare. There's a pause before Gail says, "Yeah!" quickly and Padmadala says, "Yeaaaaah." So, they didn't notice the rareness before Yakura mentioned it? Also, is it rare or raw? Next, the judges are served M.E.C.'s tempura vegetables with mozzarella and cornichon aioli. M.E.C.'s mallrats are enjoying the tempura. "It is tasty," Gail concedes, "It's fried well." Yakura holds forth, "You put this next to ponzu and dashi and it becomes Japanese. You put tartar sauce on it and I guess we're in a diner." Excuse me very much, but tartar sauce is mayo, capers, dill, onions, lemon juice, and vinegar and they just made a cornichon aioli. What kind of chef are you, Yakura? Cliff goes in the back to check in on Elia's burgers. She tells him the burgers have been sitting for a considerable amount of restaurant time -- four minutes. Elia explains to us that this means her burgers are going to be overcooked. Marcel opines to us that Cliff bit off more than he could chew. Ironic for a chef to do that. Or maybe I'm just slaphappy.
The judges are served M.E.C.'s "Best Burger Ever" and find they disagree with its name. "My burger is overdone," Gail pouts after Padmadala praises the housemade chips. Yakura thinks the burger has a nice "caramel" on the outside and has interesting things inside. Flavor-wise, he's happy. In the back of M.E.C., Cliff demands of Elia, "Just give it to me!" Elia rebukes him for raising his voice unnecessarily. Elia tells us that Cliff has a temper in the kitchen as well as an "air of superiority" that she hadn't seen until now. "The desserts," Cliff prompts their server and when the server pauses because he didn't quite hear what he said, Cliff repeats loudly and elaborately, "THE DE-SERTS!" Dick. The judges finish their meal with M.E.C.'s Oreo Lemon Pie. Ew -- Oreos and lemon? That sounds rather foul. I can appreciate dark chocolate infused with lemon verbena, which might be the flavor profile they are attempting, but this just seems off. Their presentation is of a crushed Oreo crust, cut into a flat round. On top of that coils yellow opaque lemon curd. While it sort of looks like they're trying to attempt a very diner-esque MoonPie, it just so happens to remind me of a certain picture in the Everybody Poops book. Yakura snarks, "You know, it tastes like a crushed Oreo." "You know why?" Colicchio vaudevilles. "Because it is a crushed Oreo?" Yakura boo-yahs.