At "PJ's Steakhouse," it's a pathetic joke (that's what it stands for) - Kitchen Nightmares review

(S0303) Having lived in Queens, New York for a spell, I can tell you that there are the strangest stores tucked away here and there with dusty and completely disorganized shelves, with perishable foods literally rotting where they sit. I don’t know if these places are drug fronts, run by people completely inept or incapable at running a business, or what. It just would blow my mind that these kinds of places could exist somehow within the largest city in the United States.

ramsey

PJ’s Steakhouse, located in Forest Hills, Queens isn’t nearly that bad, but the poor state of the restaurant does remind me of the feeling of being astounded how businesses can exist in highly competitive markets when they themselves are not, let us say, competitive. The answer as it turns out – surprise surprise – is that they don’t. At least not for long.

Owner Joe took over a former bar and grill from his late and beloved brother PJ (thus the name of the restaurant) with his wife Madalyn. They’ve sunk $2 million into the place yet seem genuinely clueless and perplexed as to why they are on the brink of bankruptcy and losing the joint. It’s obvious from the jump that a combination of incompetence and complacency along with the god awful attitude and work ethic of head chef Eric has made for a true kitchen nightmare in this case.

Even by Kitchen Nightmare’s typical hyperbolic editing standards, PJ’s is a disaster at the jump. There’s bits of plastic in Chef Gordon Ramsey’s crab cakes during his introductory meal. And that may have been the best thing about it. “Rancid,” Ramsey declares flatly. Because Kitchen Nightmares tends to be formulaic (which is not a negative criticism for this kind of show) I like to point out some anomalies from week-to-week. For example, it’s rare when Ramsey takes issue with a menu for having too few items, but here he notes that the steakhouse only offers two cuts of steak instead of the 8-10 he considers appropriate.

Meanwhile, Joe sits at the bar drinking wine and watching television as Ramsey eats his introductory lunch. I’m going to take a little guess and say that Joe hasn’t watched Kitchen Nightmares before, or there was simply some amazing Irish telenovelas going down that day. What’s obvious is that he is tuned out (sorry for the bad pun there!).

Ramsey then rolls up his sleeves to get to work, calling out Eric on the food he sends out of the kitchen: “That was pretty f—king embarrassing.” Then after finding crates and bags of rotten produce in the walk-in refrigerator, Ramsey rightly declares that, I’ve just come to the conclusion that no one gives a f—k.” Madalyn echoes this sentiment by later declaring, “The bottom line is nobody here wants to work. Nobody.”

The theatrics this week literally get theatrical, as Ramsey brings everyone into a movie theater to watch camcorder footage of interviewees on the street explaining exactly why they hate PJ’s Steakhouse. Chef Eric maintains a kind of moron smirk throughout, declaring “It’s not that bad” in between epithets in the face of overwhelming contrary opinion. To Eric essentially the customer is not always right. Or ever, perhaps. Ramsey soon points out the stark facts about the Eric Problem to Joe and Madalyn: “I’m telling you, the engine room is f—ked.”

Eric is given a final chance during the next service, in which the new “mixed grill” special goes on the menu along with other new fast and small dishes such as Irish Stew and Chicken Scaloppini as part of the rebranded PJ’s Grill. After Eric continues to send out cold and poorly prepared food, Ramsey shuts down the place, and Eric is soon after 86ed by Joe and Madalyn. Ramsey then takes measures that I’ve never quite seen before, installing one of his own chefs in the kitchen for a month as well as bringing in a restaurant manager to help mentor Madalyn. So essentially, Ramsey’s team winds up taking over the restaurant for the final service we see, so of course it makes sense that everything from that point “magically” goes well.

After Ramsey installs his people and everything runs smoothly, I jotted this note down: “Things went well after that… but not really sure how Joe and Madalyn really participated in that?”

And as the episode ends, we learn that Joe and Madalyn actually end up selling the restaurant and returning to the construction industry. So that’s that then.  

More thoughts on “PJ’s Steakhouse”:

  • Also on a Queens note: I’ve always thought of Forest Hills as the nicest part of the borough.
  • “You know what I know about running a high end steak house? Apparently not much.” – Joe the owner
  • “That’s it, I’m goin’ drinking.” – Joe. “Going drinking? You’ve been doing that all day.” – Madalyn
  • I like that Joe declares “I’m going drinking” in the middle of dinner service, as though the four-step walk over to his favorite bar stool encompasses some kind of journey.
  • “If he can help us, great. If he can’t, he can go f—k himself.” – Eric the Chef on Gordon Ramsey
  • “I don’t really suck that bad, you know?” – Eric the Chef on himself
  • “I just don’t know how to have better manners at the table.” Madalyn
  • Video: Kitchen Nightmares, “PJ’s Steakhouse”
    Check out the episode in full from Hulu, while available:

     

    By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

    About the author

    Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

    More From Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

    Salvage Dog’s “Parkville Farmhouse” airs on October 22nd, 2017 at 9/8c on DIY.
    Read More
    Superstition's series premiere, entitled "Taking Care of Business," is on Friday, October 20th, 2017 at 10/9c on SYFY.
    Read More
    The Eleven series premiere, “Paradise Lost,” airs on October 19th, 2017 at 9/8c on A&E. Additionally, the second episode, “Russian Roulette,” airs right after at 10/9c.
    Read More
    3 Comments
    On: Friday, December 30, 2011
    kevin said:

    Eric wasn't capable but he didn't deserve to be castrated like that.  Ramsey's a dick and Fox is a fuckin joke.  For the sake of ratings you ruined a guy that, while he wasn't up to the task, probably has kids, a wife and comittments to answer to and he's fucked as even a short order cook because of this retched piece of shit Gordon Ramsey.  fuck Ramsey.

    On: Friday, December 30, 2011
    mrpeter said:

    sorry. I disagree w you. Eric did not belong in a kitchen that freezer was classic example of taking advantage of owners.

     

    sorry eric, get a job driving a cab and remember to clean the puke out of the back seat

     

    ramsey may be a dick, but he knows how to run a kitchen

     

    I ever see eric in a kitchen, I  will be sure not to eat there.

    On: Thursday, May 3, 2012
    Peter McGregor said:

    Ramsay is nothing but a money grabbing HUN

    Name:

    Email (Will not be used):

    Comment:

    characters left
     

    Featured Articles

    Popular Today

     
     

    Recent Comments

    Boardwalk Empire, "Two Boats and a Lifeguard": daddy issues
    Are you looking for a partner for the relationship or for fun? Then you came to the right place. We are providing you the best dating...
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    I can verify Bear Claw. Good man. I cant vouch for the other participants. It is to bad society does suck so bad that this type...
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    Lake Michigan is not an ocean. Has anyone seen my white dog? Lost him while hiking in Arkansas
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    I too also as well live on the island, I can attest that Dan lives in the ocean as he has for hundreds of decades. We locals call...
    Parks and Recreation: why is everyone so mean to Jerry?
    It's funny because its so not funny.
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    I too live on the island and ISLANDER does not know what they are talking about. Dan lives out in the middle of the island with...
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    this is not real i know that goat and it is not "doc's" its my neighbors goat. and by the way i live on the very top of that mountain...
    Parks and Recreation: why is everyone so mean to Jerry?
    I just finished the series on Netflix and can not wrap my mind around how he is treated. I never found humor in any of the scenes...
    Swamp People, "It's Personal": men at work
    Wow, very hard work , 1st they are hooked with a hook in there mouth , 2nd they come along with a shot gun and shoots it in the...