America’s Next Great Restaurant ep02

After last week’s great premiere I was excited for tonight’s episode so we could actually see the restaurant concepts up close. To begin, Bobby Flay gives the contestants the rundown of what’s to come in this competition in an obviously voice-overed intro. The first test is to serve 1,000 customers and to make a “mouth watering” logo with a marketing team. They also have to pick a chef. America will judge he says.

The contestants scramble to pick out of the large cadre of available chefs to find a compatible one for their idea. Saucy Balls Joey freaks out when his chef says carrots go in a meatball. The Indian food Tiffin Box guy is having trouble finding an appropriate chef but he finds a Swedish chef (bork de bork bork bork!) that’s relatively close to his food style. Alex “everything in a taco” finds a chef that worked with Gordon Ramsey but chatty WNBA Fran wants her too though. Greg/Krystal are looking for a redneck chef but they like the same guy as Saucy balls.

Two sets of teams like the same chefs so they bring the chefs back in to decide. Saucy says his favorite movie is Scarface but you can’t judge a chef by his movie choices, or can you? Guess not, he chooses the rednecks. Alex then calls Fran’s concept crap saying they have wraps at Subway. The Ramsay approved chef chooses Alex’s taco todos concept (seriously Taco Todos is a way better name than Hard and Soft for his idea).

Now they have to create logos. Some already have logos set, others just have lame ideas. Jamawn “Waffle Guy” from W3 is going with a football field theme that looks a little high school art projecty to me. Marisa from Wok is coming from a PR background but choosing what looks like a boring logo. Stephenie from Compleat is separating out the “eat” part of her title which make the name a lot better. Hard and Soft going with a tattoo style logo while slamming many of the others. Saucy Balls is putting his grandma in the logo in cartoon form, it looks like clip art and you half expect to see istockphoto watermarked across it.

Contestants now have to shop for food to feed 1000 and then start cooking while the graphic designers get to work on the logos. Alex, is a total ass and harassing Wok Marisa saying she can’t cook. Hicks, a two person team have a totally unfair advantage with the extra pair of hands. Hicks is making bourbon hot links and tater tot casserole. Grilled Cheese Meltworks is impressively going to cook all 1000 on site. W3 going away from his waffles and chicken concept to do some gumbo, Bobby Filet of Sole calls it risky.

49 days until they open. Bobby Flay is rocking the 80s cop style Poncherello glasses as he addresses the crowd who will cast a single vote by dropping coins in a box.

Saucy Balls gets the first tasting and Curtis Stone says his balls really are quite saucy. Bork bork bork, the Swedish chef might not be right for TiffinBox- overcooked chicken. Limbo next, Curtis says he might have to dance under a stick. She’s rocking a pulled pork sandwich, Flay says the good and bad versions are too similar. I thought that was the whole point, Bobby.

Hicks next, Steve Ells says the logo looks like a garden supply store. They’ve got bacon wrapped sausage and tater tot casserole, which is not impressing Chipotle Steve, he says its just fatty fast food. Big words coming from a guy who sells 1300 calorie burritos for a living.

Meltworks is making an Italian style grilled cheese with a tomato bisque. Ells says the gears in the logo don’t make him hungry which again is ironic considering Chipotle decor consists of mainly gears style artwork. Wok is next with a rice curry chicken dish. Curtis is saying she’s not serving a sir fry and it’s not good at all. He says she’s weak in food. Hard n Soft is now up with a bacon and cheeseburger tacos, which impresses Ells and Lorena Garcia who again doesn’t have much to say about anything (or is having all her lines edited out), but he says the logo doesn’t fit.

WNBA Fran’s Sports Wrap is now up and Stone says logo doesn’t look like anything. Flay says the wrap needs to be unique. Compleat is showing a pulled pork salad and gazpacho that goes over well with judges but they say logo is boring (agreed!). It actually inspires Lorena to talk a bit (not worth the wait though, she’s no Silent Bob)! That’s gotta be good stuff. Enthusiastic response. W3 is next, people are saying the name makes no sense with the food he’s serving today but his gumbo goes over well with Filet and Stone (I’ll come up with a nickname for him yet, I hope).

Now it’s back to Restaurant Row for the judges decision. And the winner is Meltworks Eric. Well done sir.

But now the judges have questions for a few contestants, starting with Fran. They are saying her chicken was dry and underseasoned. Fran says she can sell it but judges say its not any more exciting than a typical sandwich shop. Krystal and Greg’s Hicks is being critiqued now; judges say they didn’t see tapas style southern fare they expected. Curtis says it was gross and the logo is gimmicky and food not up to potential of the concept. Wok Marisa next to face the panel, defending her concept saying everyone likes stir fry and she’ll work with them to get it done. Judges say her food was the worst but her energy is good.

Judges have a decision and Fran’s healthy wraps are out of the competition. Sorry Fran. Overall a pretty good episode but perhaps they spent a little too much time on the picking and choosing of the various aspects of the competition for the week and not enough details on the food itself. But I’m sure that’s all to come when they have more menu-based challenges. I’m still digging this show.

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