Now that my Restaurant Impossible reviews have been so popular, I am going back and reviewing some of the older shows. I had to start with this 1st season episode where Robert visited a place called Rascal's BBQ & Crab House. This place looked like it was the home of a hoarder. There was so much junk in the restaurant, even in the main dining area. They had an outdoor dinning space, but it was so cluttered that you couldn't be used. This was the case of an owner who really has let things go. Robert had to use half of his $10,000 budget just to clean the kitchen and remove the junk.
Rascal's BBQ & Crab House | Restaurant website unavailable
Problems Robert Had to Address
- An extremely dirty and messy restaurant
- A server that didn't know much about the food she was selling
- Bland food (a lot of crab in the cakes but not a lot of flavor)
- An owner who didn't want to take responsibility
- Failure to properly date and label food
The amount of problems in this place was staggering. They pretty much were doing nothing right, besides offer up a generous portion of crab in their flavorless crab cakes.
Lesson for Home
By law restaurants need to label their leftover food. I think this is also a good thing to practice in your own kitchen. If you are going to freeze something for later use, say a cooked chicken breast. Wrap it in foil first and then into a plastic bag. Then pull out a permanent marker and right on the bag exactly what it is and what date you placed in in the freezer. This will help you use up the older stuff first as well as not having to guess what you have.
Crab Cakes | Click here for the recipe
A crab cake that features Panko bread crumbs, ginger, and lump crab meat. I love using Panko bread crumbs, I never use any other kind. They give you a crunch that your grandma's bread crumbs never could. After you try these crab cakes, give my Take Out Style Orange Chicken a try.
Pork, Brisket, or Seafood Dry Rub | Click here for the recipe
This is a basic dry rub that you can put together in use on all sorts of things from pork to beef to seafood. If your someone who spends money on pre-made spice rubs, making your own is so much cheaper (and typically less salty). Consider giving a dry rub like this as a gift.
This is one of the most controversy episodes of the series. The owner was not happy how he was portrayed. Obviously no one wants to be displayed as a lazy, hoarder, with a disgusting kitchen. He accused the show of painting a picture that wasn't the truth. According to an article on Delaware Online, people from Food Network were making the kitchen look worse by planting caraway seeds as mouse droppings and exploding coffee in the microwave. The owner also claims he was not allowed to clean the kitchen before hand. While I understand that a TV show looks to entertain and Robert often gets over dramatic (like wearing a hazmat suit, even thought the pro clean up crew did not), I don't know if I believe that they were really sabotaging his kitchen. The owner was making excuses on the show and never really humbled himself fully to his mistakes. Seems like just another way to pass the buck.
As for the above recipes, the owner said he did not keep Robert's changes, that he deemed were "too fancy". Unless he is referring to other recipes we did not see on the show, I can't see how the recipes I talked about above are too fancy.
The restaurant itself has undergone more changes since the show. It is now called Beach Bum's Crab Shack. It's still owned by the same person. They are also planning to offer a "fast-casual" menu in the near future.
The name change didn't help as this place has joined the list of restaurants that were impossible for Robert to save. A new restaurant called Boomers Tropical Grill has opened in it's spot.
If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:
This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.
In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.
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