Friday, April 01, 2011

America's Next Great Restaurant

Is anyone watching this besides me? I'm actually enjoying the show, and I have lots of ideas to improve the contestants' restaurant concepts. For instance, that dumb "Saucy Balls." From what I can tell, Joseph has one meatball recipe, based on his nana's, in which he changes up the protein from challenge to challenge. His menu board listed an eggplant meatball, which sounds vaguely interesting, but would have to require a boatload of bread crumbs to absorb eggplant's extreme moisture. Furthermore, he's serving the balls on a plate with a fork. This is "fast casual" guy - make sandwiches! Do a classic meatball sandwich with granny's balls, then do meatball recipes from around the world, encased in appropriate starches. How about a nice lamb "meatball" (a riff on Indian Sheekh Kabab, or Lebanese kofta) sammy in a pita with raita? Swedish meatballs on limpa?

Then there are the bozos who have changed their concepts entirely. Grilled meat restaurant "Grill'billies" (don't understand the apostrophe) was "Hicks," which originally was going to serve up tapas-sized portions of southern BBQ favorites. After the judges finished bashing Greg's and Krystal's lack of knowledge about authentic barbecue, the poor kids had no idea what to do. Why couldn't they have smoked meats prepared in advance? Nobody said it had to be authentic...Chipotle isn't authentic Mexican. And it's not like they make their proteins fresh to order - all their slop is precooked and kept warm, ready for the next salt-loving burrito-eater.

I liked last week's rejectee, Alex's, Revolution Taco idea: to serve tacos based on different cuisines. Unfortunately, he was a douchebag too concerned with image to worry about the flavors of the food. But if Angelo Sosa can do a Korean beef taco at Social Eatz, why couldn't Alex? Gypsy Queen Cafe is serving up Buffalo chicken tacos this week, and I've been known to make tacos at home out of sundry leftovers. Does someone else want to grab this concept and go with it?

I think Eric's Meltworks grilled cheese restaurant has great potential - who doesn't love a good grilled cheese sandwich? His problem is that he puts too much stuff other than cheese in his sandwiches. Bobby Flay suggested he add "signature sauces" to his menu, and after mulling it over, I decided that was a brilliant idea. How about a nice tomato-based dipping sauce, to mimic tomato soup? It would go with just about any cheese. Feeling Southwestern? How about a side of green or red chile sauce, or swirl them together to make a "Christmas" dip?

On to Sudhir's Spice Coast (originally the Tiffin Box, a great name, but possibly too unfamiliar to the greater American audience). I think a fast casual Indian-influenced joint would be a good way to introduce this country to the incredible flavors of India. He just has to go with his own concept and not let his idol Steve "Pink Lips" Ells or Curtis "Douche" Stone confuse him.

What do you think?
Posted by theminx on