Gordon gives poor Atlanta a break this week and whisks us away to Fremont, CA to prove to thw world he’s not only a talented chef, but also a seasoned marriage counselor. Is there anything he can’t do?
In Fremont, we meet a trophy-wife-looking woman who swears up and down she’s not a trophy wife, and watch as she clashes with her husband in their strange, inexplicably named restaurant, Spin a Yarn. The owner is a paunchy little man named Saki, whose heavy Greek accent requires subtitles. He married Jen, his bartender, in what sounds like a shotgun wedding, but they dont elaborate on whether that was the case. Anyway, Jen lied about her bartending experience in order to get the job, which is silly, since female bartenders are hired based on their cleavage. Sure enough, two years after the lies, Jen and Saki were married with a baby. They’re five or so years in at this point, and she sounds absolutely miserable.
The sanctity of marriage
Exquisitely Eyebrowed Server Mary says Jen is a hot mess on the job, and we see a few examples of this before Jen jumps in there with a disclaimer about not being as stupid as everyone thinks. Honey, if you have to deny it that often, there’s probably a reason. At least one customer seems to agree with Mary.
These expressions don’t just happen on their own.
Jen informs us she’s street smart instead of book smart, which I guess explains how she ended up knocked up by her greasy, middle-aged boss. Condom usage instructions aren’t written on the street, you know.
Their big problem at the moment is paying for the recent remodel Saki was dumb enough to put in Jen’s hands. Saki had it in mind to spend around $350k, and she went a bit over that–like $600,000 over.
She’s run up almost a cool million in bills, claiming she wasn’t given a budget, but the more she talks, the more it sounds like she just started picking stuff out without checking the price. That’s a stupidity thing, not a budget thing.
While it’s not a good thing to have that much debt sunk into a place, that might not be so bad in itself, except the restaurant is continuing to do poorly–because of the food. It’s inconsistent at best, and straight up nasty on a regular basis. These woes are putting a strain on their already miserable disaster of a marriage, and Jen’s teenage daughter, Mikayla, is stuck in the middle of it.
It’s like an ABC After School Special up in this place.
Before they can all kill each other, Gordon shows up, looking svelte in a navy blue v-neck baby tee. Did Jen just call Gordon “White Oprah??”
Jen tells the story of how she and Saki got together and how he didn’t fire her cute blonde ass on the spot when he realized she lied about her previous work history. I have a feeling things might have gone differently had she been a swarthy dude instead of a potential piece, but that’s neither here nor there. She flat out admits on national television that she was never into her husband physically, what with the 16-year age difference and his fat greasiness, but she’s not a trophy wife because they dated for an entire eight months and she fell in love with him before tying her life to his. Then she calls him her Beast, and we don’t actually hear the fatal gunshot off camera, but I’m going to go ahead and guess he committed suicide once this episode aired.
But his life insurance covered the remodel, so all’s well that ends well!
Jen says their relationship has been bad news since she accidentally blew all their money on a remodel. She blames her overspending on her pair of X chromosomes, which isn’t helping the feminist movement as a whole. I’m sorry, but my Fallopian tubes do not prevent me checking the price tag on an item and weighing it against the balance in my goddamn bank account. Gordon doesn’t look too convinced either, especially when he hears that they don’t even own the building into which they just sunk all that money ($50 a piece tiles?!?). If they haven’t done well once their 10-year lease is up, they’re pretty much screwed. As for now, their communication is non-existent, no surprise there, and Saki is working overtime to fix the problem Jen’s idiocy wrought. Gordon is on the job.
He greets the waitstaff, informs them they look like fat little undertaker penguins or some such thing, and is seated by Hostess Erica. She says Saki is old school and needs someone to kick him in the ass. Saki’s unkicked ass takes Gordon on a tour so he can see what happened to all their cash.
The bathrooms are actually nice, and you can see where the money went, but right next to the super expensive tiles are a bunch of $2 butterfly decals from Michael’s plastered all over the toilet stalls.
To give Jen credit, she seems to have nice taste in general, but there are weird little details like the butterflies here and there that lend a certain lowbrow undercurrent to the place.
Saki seems confused about the genre of his restaurant, describing it as a seafood steakhouse continental pasta joint. Okay, then. Gordon thinks that makes little to no sense, but he takes a seat and orders some food. Saki retreats to the kitchen so he can take shit off Mikayla for having sweaty armpits. I know it’s out of character, but I’m going to go ahead and give this guy credit for actually giving a rat’s ass. After several weeks of owners insisting there are no problems with their food or establishments, at least Saki knows there are things he needs to change. His marital status might be a good place to start.
Eyebrow Mary takes Gordon’s order, informing him that everything on the menu has a Greek twist. Head Chef Victor says everything used to be made from scratch, but Saki has changed things up and insisted on using canned food. Victor hopes Gordon’s exquisite palate recognizes the truth and calls them out on it so he can get some goddamn decent ingredients for once.
The Greek Sampler arrives, looking like something a dog would reject. Once he learns that the shit mixed into the mashes potatoes is canned salmon caviar, Gordon sends it right back. The Crab Louie is also made with canned seafood, with Gordon thinks is disgraceful. I guess they had to scale back on the food budget because of the new decor. Those swanky butterfly decals aren’t going to pay for themselves, you know. Saki says that the crab is fresh out of a can, and the sad part is he’s serious. Victor is just standing there looking smug.
This tastes like shit, and you can tell them I said so. By the way, I love your eyebrows.
The teriyaki filet mignon actually makes Gordon cough, but when Mary tells Saki, he says that can’t be right because everyone loves the teriyaki. Mikayla tells him he can’t make excuses and informs us that Saki needs to wake up. Okay, I’m going to withdraw the credit I gave him earlier until that happens.
Meanwhile, Jen moseys on back to check on things, and takes Mikayla’s side. Saki sends them both away, and Mikayla gets a little attitude. She’s just lighthearted enough to balance that line between cute sassy and I’m-going-to-smack-you sassy, and you just know Saki doesn’t stand a chance when Mikayla and Jen decide to gang up on him.
Kids today, I swear.
As they leave, Gordon heads in, and the ladies sneak up to the window to spy. Gordon immediately leaps up Victor’s duodenum and gives him hell for the caviar and canned crab. Saki says fresh crab is hard to get, which is super bullshit, considering they’re next to the bay. Victor passes the buck onto Saki and says he’s being held back. When asked for an explanation, Saki turns to stone.
Before dinner service, Gordon and Mikayla sit down together. Mikayla spends a lot of time helping at the restaurant (yay, child labor!) and subsequently running interference in Saki and Jen’s fights, at work and at home. She’s had to deal with a lot for a 14 year old, and despite the sassiness we saw earlier, she seems like a good kid. She’s not afraid to work and help out, and she’s trying to hold together a family with no help from the two non-speaking adults in the house. Should have saved that $950k for the kid’s future therapy sessions, Jen.
In the kitchen, Saki keeps an eye on things and no one expedites, while the head chef washes dishes because Saki doesn’t want to shell out to hire a dishwasher. Food is being sent back in droves as Saki stands there and Gordon gets more and more agitated. It seems Saki is trying to cut corners in the kitchen to save money, but it’s backfiring when they have to eat the cost of all the wasted food. Jen blames Saki. She sneaks into the kitchen, but when she questions the prime rib, he kicks her right out again.
Gordon finds a horrorshow of undated cooked and raw meat, moldy produce, and all sorts of manky shit in the storage area. Jen calls Saki out right there for not cleaning the refrigerator, then says the chicken looks like her bra padding. At least she’s honest. The sight of all the decay makes Jen puke and run away to gag in an alcove.
I love how Victor can’t be bothered to give a fuck.
Gordon calls her back and makes sure she takes some responsibility for the state of things. She yells at Saki and tells him he needs to follow up with the kitchen staff to make sure they take care of the food. She can’t believe no one bothered to clean out the fridge knowing Gordon was visiting, and when Saki refuses to budge, she starts really freaking out. She runs away crying. I’m starting to understand why Saki looks so tired all the time.
I really do see her point in this case, though.
Gordon gathers the two of them together and gives them some shit. Jen tearfully begs him for help, and he tells Jen she needs to get involved, both in the business and her marriage. Jen whines that she’ll do her part and be a bitch of she has to. I’m sure that’ll be a real stretch. She and Saki march back inside, determined to get that place in shape that very night–no one goes home until shit is handled.
The next day, I assume after shit was handled, Gordon sits down with Saki and Jen again for a marriage counseling session. Jen says she feels like Saki never lets her have a say and she has no control. Well, the last time he gave you control you blew through $950,000 in bathroom tiles, so I’m going to have to side with Saki on this one. To his credit, Saki admits he needs to change. She says she’ll do anything he wants.
Unfortunately, she didn’t realize he was about to play the threesome card.
Gordon throws everyone (Jen) into a tizzy when he announces the dinner service will be run by the owners. He puts Jen on the prime rib cart, and she freaks. She’s having major stage fright over serving some fucking meat, and is gagging at the thought of carving the fatty roast. Let me get this straight: she managed to conceive a child with Saki, who most closely resembles a Greek Rodney Dangerfield, yet can’t handle touching beef fat? Silly bullshit.
He gets no respect!
Even Mikayla thinks she’s being ridiculous. Jen’s a damn drama queen. She does know herself, however, because right off the bat she’s fucking it up in front of the customers, even with Gordon standing there verbally coaching her. She says she doesn’t know how to cut meat. It can’t be that hard–just pretend it’s Saki’s throat.
Once they’re back in the kitchen Gordon lays into her, and she starts getting shrill and cranky with him. He throws a roadblock right up in front of that bullshit, saying his name is Gordon, not Saki, and for her to do her best or nothing at all. She has to learn. She vows not to cry (anymore) and gets her head on straight. Saki compliments her and they have a rare nice moment.
The next day, Gordon shows them how he redesigned the menu based on the concept of an actual steakhouse, as opposed to what looks like the ramblings of a Grecian Sybil. Everyone is in high spirits. Then Gordon informs them that half the San Jose Sharks will be dining there that night! THE SAN JOSE SHARKS!!
Now, as a rule, I generally feel about sports like Madonna feels about hydrangeas, but Mr. BlueCanary is from the Bay Area and got me into hockey via The Sharks back in the late 90s. They’ve been breaking our hearts every year since then, so I can only hope none of my boys get food poisoning, because they need their strength if they ever plan on actually winning the Stanley Cup. Go Sharks, and please do stop fucking up the playoffs year after year after year.
That night, everyone orders the prime rib and things are going well. Saki is actually doing a goddamn thing, and the customers seem to like the food. Jen is carving her little heart out on the prime rib cart, getting a little overzealous with the serving sizes. SHARKS!! Jen goes to greet them, but tells them NOT to order the prime rib. Huh? So of course they all order prime rib, because they are the SAN JOSE SHARKS, and they are hungry for beef. But wait! There’s like a third of a prime rib roast left, because Jen cut four-inch slices for everyone else. Maybe Gordon should get her involved elsewhere in the business. Do they still need a dishwasher?
Beefcakes ordering beef!
Turns out, Victor knows his bosses a little too well and had cooked another roast on the sly to head off this very situation. He yanks it out of his asshole and sends it out with a visibly shaken Jen. The Sharks are happy and Jen quietly craps her pants in relief. The Sharks give Saki a jersey (want!!) and do the whole picture with the owner thing. Saki thanks them and tells them to have a great season.
If only, boys. If only.
Gordon praises the family’s turnaround and gives them all compliments. Saki and Jen have hope for the future, both for the restaurant and the marriage. It’s always helpful to have free child labor, too. Gordon says Jen proved she’s not a trophy wife, and that they’re exhibiting the teamwork they need to succeed. He still can’t believe that bathroom cost $80k, though.
Spin A Yarn, complete with a new, readable sign, is still doing well, according to the follow up. Jen is still telling Saki to kiss her ass, but she’s doing it in a somewhat loving way, and everyone seems happy. All’s well that ends well, I guess, though we’ve not seen hide nor hair of that baby they mentioned at the beginning. Here’s hoping Victor’s spare roast was actual beef.
Next week is the alleged season finale, and it’s another family nightmare. One woman is effing everything up, and Gordon is seen storming through the parking lot as she begs him not to leave. Such drama! I can hardly wait to skewer her every emotion.
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