‘Top Chef’ 16 episode 5 recap: Three restaurants battle it out and two chefs are eliminated as ‘Restaurant Wars’ conclude

After the surprise early arrival of “Restaurant Wars” and a rare “to be continued…” on last week‘s “Top Chef,” the 12 contestants in the competition were still under pressure and feeling the heat this week when Tom Colicchio announced that not one, but two chefs would be eliminated. Because she won the Quickfire Michelle Minori was the only chef safe from elimination, leaving the other eleven on shaky ground.

Below, check out our minute-by-minute “Top Chef” recap of Season 16, Episode 5, titled “Restaurant Wars Part 2,” to find out what happened Thursday, January 3 at 8/7c. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about which of the three restaurants you would have preferred to eat it and whether or not the right chef was sent packing.

8:00 p.m. – When we last saw the chefs, service was set to begin in the three pop up restaurants: Thistle by the Gray Team, North East by the Orange Team and Third Coast by the Blue Team, but both Nini Nguyen (Blue Team) and Brian Young (Orange Team) were struggling to properly prepare their front of house staffs and Pablo Lamon (Gray Team) was already behind on his entree double duties in the kitchen.

8:06 p.m. – By the time the judges arrived to be seated for their reservation at North East, Brian was on hand to be attentive and ensure that their first course came out on time, but not before they noticed that only one other table in the rest of the packed restaurant had food on their table already.

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8:15 p.m. – Of North East’s dishes, the judges preferred Brian’s ballotine to Eddie Konrad‘s crudo in the first course, Eddie’s steak to Eric Adjepong‘s pork and scallops in the second course and Adrienne Wright‘s cheese plate to her peaches and cream dessert. Overall, they liked the look of the restaurant and for the most part enjoyed the food as well.

8:22 p.m. – The next restaurant the judges visited was Thistle who were managing the front of the house the best of the teams. Though Sara Bradley was on top of it as hostess, she went on quite a bit long explaining the menu to the judges and was cut off by Padma Lakshmi who asked that she go put their order in.

8:26 p.m. – Of Thistle’s dishes, the judges preferred Michelle’s agnolotti to Sara’s gazpacho in the first course, liked neither the team-prepared short ribs nor Pablo’s scallops in the second course and enjoyed Brandon Rosen‘s soy milk custard more than his roulade.

8:30 p.m. – When the judges arrived at Third Coast, the front of house was in full-on meltdown mode with guests waiting hours for a table and servers wrongly writing tickets to give to the kitchen and then dropping the food off at the wrong tables.

8:39 p.m. – Of Third Coast’s dishes, the judges received Justin Sutherland‘s bisque before the team’s oysters in the first course and enjoyed neither, then liked the team’s snapper dish more than David Viana‘s duck in the second course and loved Kelsey Barnard Clark‘s panna cotta over Nini’s chocolate.

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8:43 p.m. – At Judges’ Table, the panel acknowledged that this was one of the hardest “Restaurant Wars” in series history and they did not envy their challenge. That being said, the Orange Team won the evening with North East. Brian scored points for his service manual, but was also praised for his ballotine and ultimately named the challenge winner, his first of the season. In addition, all four members of the team (Brian, Eddie, Adrienne and Eric) won $10,000 each!

8:50 p.m. – The other teams were left vulnerable (except immune Michelle) to elimination with two going home. At Thistle, Michelle’s dish and Brandon’s dessert earned raves, but Pablo’s short rib was one of the night’s worst. At Third Coast, Nini had to explain why server training and the front of house were such disasters while food-wise the judges were mostly positive except for Justin’s dish.

8:56 p.m. – In the end, the judges decided that both Pablo and Nini were most responsible for the failures of their teams and should pack their knives. Pablo was coming off of back to back low performances in past episodes while Nini had back to back wins, but both will have a chance to return after a battle in Last Chance Kitchen.

SEE ‘Top Chef’ winners: Where are they now (Seasons 1 – 15)? [PHOTOS]

NEXT WEEK: Tom and Padma throw a 1920s themed party where cocktail food, including more oyster shucking, is on the menu.

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