Neither donkeys nor doughnuts were on the menu as Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares relaunched Brooklyn restaurant Mama Maria’s last night. Ramsay’s restaurant takeover show heads into its sixth season this fall, and, judging from Mama Maria’s Yelp page, the family business fits squarely among the troubled restaurants Ramsay has endeavored to turn around since the series’ 2007 debut.
Anyone who’s seen even a single episode of Kitchen Nightmares knows the show invades a flailing eatery for a few days, rejiggers its cuisine and décor, then welcomes diners to critique the new and improved restaurant. On the night of the re-opening, patrons are generally treated to a prix fixe of ready-for-reality-TV drama: An aperitif of nervous hope, an appetizer of early-evening success followed swiftly by a main course of server blunders and behind-the-scenes bottlenecks, then a long wait while the imperiled staff attempts to regain its composure, and finally the sweet dessert of redemption. As I headed into the restaurant for an early evening seating, I worried I might be stuck in the smooth sailing portion of the night. Would there be no Nightmare for me? READ FULL STORY