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Regular Chopped Judges-- how are THEIR restaurants?

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Over the years, the descriptions given for various judges have changed as their media presence and restaurant "participation" has changed, but most have worked at a restaurant.

Which have you guys visited? Reviews?

Regular Judges off the top of my head:
Maneet Chauhan
Scott Conant
Amanda Freitag
Alex Guarnaschelli
Marc Murphy
Marcus Samuelsson
Aarón Sanchez
Chris Santos
Geoffrey Zakarian

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  1. I'd be curious to hear also. Went to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and it was beyond horrible.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jjbourgeois

      Beyond horrible? Let us say way, way, way beyond horrible. And the service, oh, I can't go there.

      1. re: jjbourgeois

        So glad it wasn't just me. I wouldn't have said "horrible." I would say "unremarkable."

        1. re: chicgail

          Sad to hear Mesa Grill has gone down hill. Went once years ago and had the whole crispy snapper I believe and the squash blossoms and some excellent tequila. Service was great at the time even though we were a little close to the kitchen.

      2. Funny thing. I can't watch Chopped because of the judges. In particular: Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Aaron Sanchez. For some reason they all drive me nuts. Which then also piques my interest as to how their restaurants are.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Phaedrus

          I went to Scott Conant's restaurant, DOCG, a few months back. I went as a bit of a test because I didn't enjoy him as a judge on the show before that, but we said if the food at his restaurant was good, we would accept his comments on Chopped as fair game.

          In the end, Scott Contant's food was great. The only "miss" was the selection of assagini, but it was perhaps because it was a lot of similar items to share between just two people. The pasta dish and the pork dish we had were excellent and the dessert (salted caramel budino) was one of the best we have ever had. After that experience, it is a grudging respect for his judging!

          As for Mesa Grill mentioned above, pedestrian but decent food, but some of the worst service I have had in recent memory.

          1. re: Phaedrus

            I went to Conant's Scarpetta in NYC for my 50th birthday dinner with my husband and daughter. I enjoyed it a lot; I wouldn't say that it was a transcendent dinner or anything, but it was an enjoyable evening.