Top Chef recap: The Battle before the Restaurant War

Danny Meyer visits as the chefs get ready for Restaurant Wars
Ep. 10 | Aired Jan 9, 2013

THE IT GIRL Even the way Kristen's squeezing that produce is perfect.

David Moir/Bravo

It was interesting that Kristen didn't choose Stefan. Perhaps she just really wanted Brooke, or maybe it's strategic -- maybe she thought Stefan would still want her to win, even if he was on the opposing team.

Lizzie found herself on the bottom for the second week in a row. She had strong ambitions with her mustard green canederli finished with fonduta and crispy speck — a dish inspired by a very specific region of Italy — but there were some execution problems. Tom thought the flavor was great but overall it was too heavy, and Gail thought parts of it looked like slices of American cheese.

Once again, Josie put on a show while serving the guests; this time, she did it because the food wasn't quite ready for the judges, and Tom gets cranky when he's hungry. Unfortunately, her roast pork on black bean cake wasn't worth the wait. Gail said the pork was not only completely dry but also flavorless.

Micah's first misstep came when he seemed to ignore Danny's advice about cooking from the soul. He named his restaurant Raw — which was also the name of the fictional restaurant at which Samantha met Smith Jerrod on Sex and the City — because raw foods had helped him lose 25 pounds in the past. I'd think that the foods that made him gain those 25 pounds in the first place would be closer to his soul, but Micah was being a little more strategic, knowing that there are a lot of image-conscious ladies in southern California who'd go for raw and healthy. If he were trying to impress the judges with raw food, he should have created a dish that wasn't usually served raw, or in some other way inspired. But as Danny noted, raw fish — sashimi, really — was about as obvious as it gets, and for that Micah got sent to Last Chance Kitchen.

Micah absolutely messed up this week, but he has a lot of talent — it's a bit disappointing to see him go. It seemed to me that the judges would have been totally justified sending Josie packing instead, but Micah's concept and execution were all wrong. It'll be interesting to see how this girls vs. boys Restaurant War turns out. Urbano vs. Atelier Kwan!

Was it Micah's time to go? Whose restaurant would you go to? Follow me @EWStephanLee.

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