America’s Next Great Restaurant ep08: Venture in Vegas

Interestingly this is the first American’s Next Great Restaurant episode on my DVR that’s had a name. Anyway, it’s down the final four, Jamawn, Joey, Stephenie, Sudhir. Contestants are all heading out to Las Vegas to see what someone else besides LA thinks of their food. They’ll be making 3 dishes to serve up at Caesar’s Palace. They head out to an insane luxury suite at Caesar’s.

Sudhir is doing the previously-a-hit- Spice Coast taco. Joey is doing traditional and turkey meatballs and a pasta. Jamawn is doing 3 new dishes he learned from his dad. Stephenie is using that same troubled canned chickpea chef- she’s having issues finding sustainable lamb.

Healthy food Stephenie takes a huge bite into Jamawn’s fried chicken. Contestants have to hire a pair of employees who will do all the work, so they need to hire a quality staff.

The investors make the rounds as everyone preps. Sudhir is doing a mango and cardamon milkshake and the tacos from the food cart challenge. Jamawn is doing a cajun salmon, bbq ribs and a fried chicken. The investors urge Joey to change up his meatballs and lighten them up a little bit, less heavy cream. Stephenie is doing a grilled Greek sandwich with zucchini. The investors grill the hell out of her on the lamb and how it’s raised and then call her out for not giving a crap about how the beef raised. Her food better taste good as hell because she doesn’t know what she’s doing.

Teams now interview possible employees. Some are choosing workers based on personality and some on actual skills, which could pay off or hurt them.

Stephenie has researched her lamb and is using it. Bobby Flay addresses a huge crowd below as they give their Vegas opinion. Penn and Teller show up.

Investors are a little disappointed with Joey’s meatball, not fully cooked through. Steve Ells is surprised that despite that, the public still likes meatballs. Investors like the look and healthier approach of Jamawn’s salmon and ribs. Curtis is licking his fingers, so that’s gotta be good. Thumbs up all around.

Sudhir’s staff is well versed. Cauliflower quesadilla and curry chicken taco are going over super well with the investors. Chipotle Steve Ells likes it, but he likes anything in a taco so not sure how much weight you can put into that opinion. Stephenie over at Harvest Sol has a lamb on focaccia that the judges are sorta calling bland. Neither of her employees knows what they’re serving (short ribs with fried kale).

Teams head back to Los Angeles where three sections in the studio are partitioned off waiting for the three winners to set up their test restaurant next week. Investors ask Sudhir what his weakness is- he says he has none. Jamawn learns he got the most coins this week. Stephenie is questioned on her ability to actually execute the concept. At this point, she needs more confidence. Joey admits his meatballs kinda blew this week but he has the passion. Basically either Joey or Stephenie is going to go- judges are split. But really it’s no surprise as Stephenie and Harvest Sol is eliminated.

Bobby Flay reveals exactly where American’s Next Great Restaurant will be opening their three locations: Hollywood and Highland Center (Hollywood), South Street Seaport (New York City), Mall of America (Minneapolis). Interesting.

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