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Iron Chef - Battle Rice

What a great episode. While I dont like Batali all that much and often root against him in these battles, both he and Bartolotta's rice dishes were ridiculous last night.

Those were two top notch performances.

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  1. Didn't everything look delicious? And it's so easy to ruin rice (I'm thinking of recent "Top Chef" episodes), I find it impressive that according to the judges the rice in all 10 dishes was perfectly cooked.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NYCkaren

      Don't forget chef Keith ruining the rice on Survivor!

    2. I thought so, too. Crazy concoctions that sounded delicious and intriguing. I usually watch the show (when I do) while multi-tasking, and I tune out most of it until judges table and then pay attention only if Ted Allen or Jeffrey Steingarten is on. Poor Bartolotta sat through critique after critique pronouncing his food "perfect" (and other superlatives), only to then hear each judge wax poetic about Batali's dishes.

      1. I watched this show for the first time in a long time, and really enjoyed this episode. Every single dish is one I'd like to try - I like the idea of pulverizing the rice to powder and then using it on a risotto cake while it's being pan seared...that looked phenomenal!

        1. One further thought: I was a bit surprised that Mario didn't make a dessert. Considering that in past episodes we've seen desserts made of all kinds of seemingly inappropritate ingredients like fish, how can you not make something sweet with rice? Still, all of the dishes he did prepare looked wonderful.

          By the way, I missed the point totals. What were they?

          17 Replies
          1. re: NYCkaren

            Batali Bartolotta
            Taste: 27 26
            Plating: 15 15
            Originality: 15 15

            Total:
            Batali 57, Bartolotta 56

            Great Show!
            edit: Sorry, the web page removed all of my careful spacing trying to create a readable table.

            1. re: Bellyacher

              I'm going from memory here but I am pretty sure that chef Bartolotta's scores for plating and originality were both 14, giving him a final score of 54 to Mario's 57. Either way they both earned some of the highest scores awarded on ICA in quite a while.

              1. re: Bellyacher

                Not true i think. bartolotta had 14s in plating and originality. which i thought was frankly a setup for batali to win.
                his looked good but bartolotta's better imho. and more interesting.

                1. re: AMFM

                  Ah, I think Batali was much more original, and his plates were great. Bartolotta used only 1 rice, boring. (not saying he was bad, but Batali was def better!)

                  1. re: jme1beachbum

                    i just went - "really, squash risotto?" i mean the dishes were lovely and looked good - and it is true that he used multiple kinds and made a drink and all. it's just that the other guys looked so good too (and i think did such a good job showing the diversity of just arborio - proving you could've had just that as an ingredient). i thought the fritters at the end looked insane and of course now i'm blanking on what else was what.
                    poor guy.
                    and i've seen that marrow thing before (didn't someone fake marrow - i know it wasn't with the same ingredients - i think jill davies on next iron chef) so it didn't strike me as that original either. i just wanted to eat bartolottas more that night!

                2. re: Bellyacher

                  I have to say, not sure if its the judges that were so talking uppity about the dishes and the high scores, but Im glad Im not the only one that thought this stuff looked insanely delicious.

                  Surprised not to see more rice pudding but Im actually going to try and grind some black forbidden rice tonight to bread some crab cakes based on what I saw. What a great idea.

                  1. re: yankeefan

                    Yankeefan, if you do please post the results on the home cooking board. I want to hear about it.

                    1. re: NYCkaren

                      Ditto on that! I have both black and Bhutan (I think that's it) red rice that this could be good for!

                      1. re: NYCkaren

                        In that battle, one of the chefs grinded (ground) three different kinds of rice into powders and coated scallops with them, then fried the scallops. Looked wonderful.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I thought it was the risotto cakes? The scallops were just seared off, IIRC.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I think that was a different dish. I'll try to find it on the website.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              It was Batali's sea scallop sliced horizontally into thirds, each one coated with a different ground rice powder.

                              Batali's range and creativity on the show really is impressive - all the more impressive given that he could have easily just stuck with being the "regional Italian" guy.

                              Though I'm sometimes amused at how chefs sometimes get such brownie points for creativity for doing nothing more than re-creating a traditional dish from another culture (i.e. Korean bim-bim-bap).

                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                Thanks Frodnesor - could have sworn there was a discussion at the table about the difficulty of the risotto cake holding together, depending on how dry/moist the risotto was, and how well the chef's risotto cake held together. Was that Bartolotta's dish? And I guess he wouldn't have wanted to cover it in rice powder as it was already rice. :-)

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Linda, you were right about the risotto cake; chef Bartolotta did crust it with rice powder (arborio powder). He also had another dish which was topped with a plain, seared scallop (I can't remember what the rice component of that dish was.) As Frodnesor already pointed out, Batali did the scallop slices crusted with three different rice powders.

                                  It is kind of hard keeping all of the dishes straight especially when there are a lot of common elements. Maybe we should appoint one Chowhounder to type up a menu at the top of the thread for each episode.

                                  Not dibs!

                                  1. re: kmcarr

                                    OK, I *wasn't* going crazy! Or I *hadn't* had too much wine with my dinner on Sunday night! LOL Thanks kmcarr!

                                2. re: Frodnesor

                                  THANK YOU on the bibimbap comment. The judges were all over batali for making street food. Now I love bibimbap, but i wouldn´t consider a traditional version of this dish iron chef worthy.

                          2. re: NYCkaren

                            I will do, Ill post here that I tried it when I do and will post results on home cooking. I cant wait to try. Thanks for the feedback.

                    2. I missed this one... however, I am sure it will be repeated, so I can catch a rerun.

                      Having eaten at both of their restaurants, I'm not surprised at the outcome. Bartolotta is a major player. FYI was chef at Spiaggia in Chicago for many years.... kind of a "Mantuano Sandwich."