Who reigned supreme in last night's Iron Chef battle against Grace's Neal Fraser? Well, if you saw the show last night, you already know the answer, but watching the show at Grace took the battle to a whole new level. The restaurant was closed for the evening and three screens were set up for viewing the show. Before the show started, we sampled a really tasty Tempranillo blend from Verdad Winery and snacked on probably the best assortment of passed hors d'oeuvres I've ever had. Some of the highlights were oysters, tuna tartare with fried olives, crab salad with fresh mint, pork belly with beans, pulled pork toasts, beef tartare on mini grilled cheese sandwiches and shrimp tempura...there was also a cheese and charcuterie table with speck, lomo and a wonderful cheese called Gratte Paille. Fraser's love for porcine products was evident in the appetizers, so it was lucky for him that the theme ingredient was...pork!
Then the show began, with Fraser battling chef Cat Cora, who tried to accent Mediterranean tastes in her dishes. I'm not sure what part of the Mediterranean garam masala and bacon ice cream are from, but let's just say her dishes looked better in presentation than they seemed to taste. One of the judge's reactions to the bacon ice cream was "this is freaking me out!" and another said "this should be illegal!" The assembled crowd at the restaurant went wild when the judges pronounced each dish of Fraser's better than the next -- each presenting ingredients that actually seemed to work together and each highlighting the flavor of the pork rather than burying it. Viewers erupted in cheers as Fraser's victory was announced. What a nice gesture to Fraser's fans to invite us to share in watching the show!