It's Restaurant Wars: The episode so big, one hour can't contain it!
In our boys vs. girls battle royale, Team Y Chromosome (Josh, Sheldon, and Stefan) will be creating Sheldon's modern Filipino "Urbano," while Team X Chromosome (Kristen, Josie, Brooke, and Lizzie) will be staging Kristen's French "Alterlier Kwan."
Stefan's main concern is simply that the boys are outnumbered. Brooke admits she's worried that Kristen's youth and lack of experience "running the whole show" will be to their detriment.
The chefs hop into Toyota Avalons (powered by Bing!) to the Georgetown Ballroom to see the spaces they will be dealing with. They are all impressed with the beautiful, wide-open dining space, and then start wandering about looking for the kitchen.
"Where’s the kitchen?" Brooke asks. The boys look at a blueprint in their dossier and see the kitchen is in "the courtyard" -- as they are standing in a completely empty courtyard. Ah, there's the rub: This year the chefs will not only be building a restaurant from the ground up, but their kitchens as well. Well played, Bravo puppetmasters. Well played.
Let's get shopping! Kristen goes with Lizzie to shop for ingredients, and pairs Josie with Brooke to pick up rental equipment because "Josie's personality and my personality are complete opposites." It's the nicest way possible of saying "I rather don't like you."
As they are shopping, Brooke admits "I have a very different disposition than Josie." There it is again ... these girls are awfully tactful. Brooke wisely steers Josie away from selecting some hideous tangerine orange napkins.
On the boys' side, Stefan goes flower shopping (insisting this does not make him gay) while Sheldon and Josh take on the Asian market. Josh is nervous as neither ne nor Stefan have any experience with Filipino cuisine, and one can't "take something to the next level" if one has never done it to begin with.
Kitchens are delivered and set up on the patio and the chefs commence prep. Sheldon and Lizzie both start roasting their meats so that they can have everything ready to begin their stocks the next morning.
Josie was to have roasted her bones to do the same, and on two occasions said she was "getting to it," but at the end of the day it isn't done. Josie is all easy breezy about it (I think she is the Matthew McConaughey of "Top Chef," "Alright alright alright!") while Kristen's neck veins are already starting to bulge.
Back at the apartment, Brooke receives a letter from her 4-year-old son and wipes away tears and shows it proudly to everyone. She hates that she's left him but says that this competition is "99 percent to give him better opportunities." I was already pretty firmly camped out in Team Brooke's side but this sweet moment sealed the deal for me. Brooke for the win!
Each team confabs about tomorrow's showdown. Josie implores Kristen to think about having some dishes pre-plated but Kristen puts the kibosh on that, insisting they can handle each plate to order.
Josie storms off to the patio to smoke, where the boys are having their meeting, and blabs her worries to Stefan and Josh. After she steps aways Josh mutters, "If they cook the fish to order they are going to go down. So hard."
Game day: Prep commences and the chefs really have their work cut out for them. Brooke will be taking on front of house for the girls' team, as she and her husband "have opened four restaurants." Which makes me wonder: All these chefs are constantly touting how many restaurants they've opened, but they never actually mention of any of them are still open.
Stefan takes front of house for the boys and within moments, one of their dishwashers is assisting Sheldon prep in the kitchen. Smart move, as the boys are understaffed as it is.
As time ticks down, Kristen realizes that because Josie has taken so long preparing her bouillabaisse stock that there is no time to add gelatin as she wanted. She makes a quick decision to thicken it instead with cream and soy milk, but is highly perturbed Josie's slow pace has forced her to adjust her recipe.
The swelling bongo music tells us that it's almost time for service. Brooke and Stefan change into their fancy host outfits. Stefan asks his wait staff if they have "the candles ready for sexytimes" and suddenly realizes he has no idea how to properly pronounce any of the of Filipino words on the menu. Times up! Doors are open.
The judges walk in, and Brooke's face says what all of America is thinking: Holy COW that is a short skirt, Padma! She and her mile-long legs are joined by Tom, Emeril, Gail Simmons, and Danny Meyer. They are immediately impressed with Alterlier Kwan's atmosphere and menu.
Lizzie's first course is a twist on charcuterie -- rabbit, pickled turnips & yellow beets in chicken & rabbit broth. The judges are delighted that it's not what they expected and are all smiles as they slurp her broth. In the kitchen, Kristen is exasperated that Josie hasn't tested the syphon on the bouillabaisse broth, which is unacceptably flat, and Kristen declares she would "prefer a dishwasher over Josie" at this point. Ouch.
After a much too long wait, the judges receive Josie's dish: halibut, dungeoness crab, bay scallops with the aforementioned, foamless shellfish broth. The dish is not well received -- though Tom's crab is delicious, Emeril's scallop is undercooked and Gail leans over to note that Tom "has some sort of foamy substance on your dish that I didn't get." The other restaurant guests are equally confused.