Kitchen Nightmares Episode Recaps



Aired: 2/25/11

Ristorante Davide, the first fine dining establishment in Boston's North End - the city's version of Little Italy - opened in 1982 and was quite popular in its heyday, with lines out the door nightly. Fourteen years ago, brothers Frank and Anthony fulfilled their dream by purchasing the restaurant at the height of its popularity. At the time, the guys thought that they had hit a gold mine, as the eatery continued to do well. But things took a dark turn when Frank found out that Anthony was embezzling money to support his drug addiction. When Anthony went off to rehab and jail, the responsibility of keeping Davide running smoothly fell square on Frank's shoulders. And, according to Frank's wife, Kim, Frank more or less gave up, and the business went downhill.

These days, a recovering Anthony has returned to the restaurant and wants to forget about the past, but he doesn't think Frank can. Anthony is also frustrated that Frank won't take responsibility for giving up, and he places the entire blame on his brother. Anthony's wife, Deborah, agrees that Frank has a lot of pent-up anger and resentment toward Anthony and that if the brothers can't put the anger aside, the business won't succeed. But if they close the doors tomorrow, the family will be out $1 million.

Chef Ramsay arrives at the restaurant and asks Anthony when they last updated the space. Anthony admits that though they changed out the booths and took the wall coverings down, they haven't changed as much with the times as they should have.

Chef Ramsay starts out by holding a staff meeting with Frank, Anthony, Kim, Deborah, and the guys' mom, Maria. Frank says that Davide has been slow for three years, and though he works mainly in the kitchen, he started in the dining room and picked up cooking skills along the way. Anthony explains his previous absences and the fact that Frank was left with all the responsibility, prompting him to get depressed and burnt-out. Deborah says that Anthony is trying to make amends, but Frank can't move on from the past, while Frank accuses his brother of destroying the business and admits he's still mad.

Later, Chef Ramsay sits down to a meal to see how the food is. He's impressed with the menu right off the bat - the Caesar salad is prepared table-side and every pasta is handmade, his waiter Andrew says. The execution, however, isn't as remarkable. The salad takes a whopping eight minutes to make, and the lettuce is too wet. He also dislikes the soggy eggplant, which hasn't been cooked long enough and tastes like it was prepared last week.

Though Andrew insists it was prepared this morning, he later finds out from Frank that the eggplant were fried three weeks ago and frozen. After Chef Ramsay asks when the "handmade" lobster raviolis were made, Andrew learns that they're store-bought and feels betrayed, since Frank told him that all of the pastas were made in-house. Andrew is horrified to have to reveal this information to Chef Ramsay, who then asks if Frank is indeed a passionate chef. Both Anthony and Andrew admit that he isn't.

Finally, Chef Ramsay tries the rack of lamb and finds the garlic crust burnt, which makes the whole dish bitter. Chef Ramsay heads back to the kitchen and calls out Frank on the unfresh food.

Davide is about to face a busy dinner service because word has leaked out that Chef Ramsay is there. But before dinner has even started, Frank seems to be in a haze, and Chef Ramsay finds him slumped over in a chair in the kitchen. As orders start rolling in, a depressed Frank tries to get motivated, but the kitchen quickly gets backed up. Anthony, however, can't relay any information from customers or the dining room without Frank swearing at him.

Chef Ramsay is horrified by the complete lack of communication and the fact that Frank sent out fish he knew was bad, which promptly got sent back. After a few more dishes are returned to the kitchen, Frank begins to lose it, flying into a swear-laced rant before walking out. Sous chef Eddie and the rest of the staff must finish off the painful dinner service.

Afterward, Chef Ramsay explains to the staff that he saw something quite frightening in Frank and the fact that he's so burnt-out he's given up. Kim breaks down in tears and explains how her husband feels so defeated. Chef Ramsay says that he wants to try to bring him back, and he has both Kim and Anthony come up with something nice to say to Frank to inspire him.

The next morning, Frank, Kim, Anthony, and Chef Ramsay sit down together. Anthony tells Frank that he knows how much damage he's done and he knows they can both work together to make the restaurant work. Kim says that the couple has made it through the past 12 difficult years together, and she's upset to hear the mean things that come out of his mouth lately, which stem from the burden he feels. She asks him to put his chef's coat back on and tells him that he needs to break down the wall he's built in order to make the business succeed. Frank refuses to put the jacket on because he thinks he doesn't deserve it.

Later, Chef Ramsay asks Frank to make something he likes and put the passion on the plate. He creates a lemon chicken dish and Chef Ramsay loves it. Overnight, Davide gets a facelift to get rid of the tired décor and give the dining room a contemporary look. Kim is brought to tears - though this time they're happy tears.

That evening, Kim persuades Frank to put on his chef's coat, and Chef Ramsay reveals a new menu including bruschetta, beet and burrata salad, homemade gnocchi, pork tenderloin, and Frank's lemon chicken. Just before dinner service, Chef Ramsay tells Frank that Anthony is trying and to cut him some slack. Chef Ramsay raises the stakes when he tells the guys that some Boston Magazine critics are also coming in tonight.

Not only are the writers happy with the food but so are most of the customers. Back in the kitchen, however, things are getting busy, and the brothers are falling back into their old argumentative ways. A rushed Frank even ends up sending out an undercooked pork dish to the VIP guests. After a refire, the dish comes out perfect, and the rest of the dinner service goes smoothly as Anthony and Frank work together in the kitchen.

Afterward, Chef Ramsay says that he saw a family come together to pull off a strong service. Frank proved to him tonight that he can run a kitchen, even under pressure. He tells him to keep that chef's coat on and never sit down in the kitchen again. As Chef Ramsay leaves, he says that, thanks to the turnaround of the food and staff, Davide has every right to return to its former glory.

In the weeks that followed, Frank's rediscovered passion for cooking flourished and customers continued to reap the benefits. Anthony also proved that he's clearly committed the restaurant and to his brother.

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