Top Chef - Sunset Lounge? Isn't That a Don Henley Song?

Quickfire Challenge. The guest judge is Stephen Starr, owner of successful restaurants like Morimoto and Buddakan, and it's time for restaurant wars. The quickfire challenge is to do a tasting for Stephen, as if he's a potential investor. They have thirty minutes to create one dish to show off the concept for the restaurants they hope to open one day. The two winners will be the head of the two teams for Restaurant Wars. The bottom two are Jeff, who made salmon and an artichoke salad, which Starr felt was too pedestrian. Joining him is Fabio, who did a lunch concept with a Carpaccio, salad, and a filet mignon sandwich, and Starr didn't get the concept. The top two are Radhika, who made a globally influenced (mostly in terms of spices) pan-seared cod with corn, spinach and chorizo, and Leah, who had no idea what to do and no overall concept, but somehow threw together a tempura poussin with dashi, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.

Radhika ends up with Jamie, Carla, and Jeff. No one really wants to be in the front, so Radhika takes it on. Jamie seems to plan most of the menu, with Radhika's blessing. Their restaurant's name is Sahana (Sanskrit for strength) and the concept is "Old Spice Trade" (I don't know). Their menu is curried carrot soup, grilled scallop with chickpea cake, braised lamb shank, seared snapper, baklava, chocolate cake, and frozen yogurts. During prep, Jamie worries that the frozen lamb shanks won't thaw, and Carla is annoyed that Radhika is not even in the kitchen at all, and when she does venture back for a minute, won't make any decisions. The judges like most of the appetizers and dishes, although they aren't crazy about the snapper, since it's floating in some sort of tomato water. The desserts are a disaster; the cake is badly flavored and the frozen yogurt isn't frozen. The diners are not impressed with Radhika's hostessing skills, since she keeps disappearing into the kitchen for no apparent reason. In fact, the judges leave while she's in back doing nothing.

Continue reading this entry on Television Without Pity.

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