Rubino: Battle Rabbit
The Challenger: Guy Rubino, who started his training in upscale restaurants in
LA, New York, and San Francisco before returning to his hometown in Ontario,
Canada, where he and his brother have opened two restaurants, the newest one
being the Asian-themed "Rain." Today, he wants to rain pain upon the black Tetsujin, Michael Symon.
The Crib Sheet:
Derek Clayton & Jonathan Sawyer, sous-chefs
Greg Argent & Robert Gonsalves, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient: rabbit fryers/roasters and Scottish hare.
And Battle Leporidae is on! Five minutes in and Symon is breaking out the
Scottish hare and truffle. The challenger is working chili pepper, shallots,
lemon grass, and shrimp paste. It's very much Asian vs. Mediterranean. He's also
working dark Korean miso into a saddle. "I typically focus on Asian cuisine, but
I don't like to fuse it. If a dish is Japanese, it's all Japanese."
Fifteen minutes into battle, and Rubino is working guinea hens with daikon and
apricots, while Symon is working on rack of rabbit and ground rabbit with
fatback. "I think with each battle, you get more confident, more comfortable. We
just want to keep the momentum and rolling." His pressure cooker is full of
rabbit, fennel, carrot, and red wine. Also in the works: mustard vinaigrette.
Challenger has rabbit loin and pineapple on the heat.
Executive chef at Butter in NYC, Alexandra Guarnaschelli
Food reporter Steve Dolinsky (ABC7 Chicago)
Editor-in-chief of Food & Wine Dana Cowin
Symon is packing a sous-vide in the VacuPack. The apricots are getting rolled
into the challenger's rabbit.
Halfway into the battle, Robert is making a Korean kimchi roll, while Rubino has
Thai rabbit, miso marinate, and a spicy chocolate sauce. The Iron Chef has rack
ribs, livers sauteeing, and the mustard vinaigrette rabbit is floating in the
immersion circulator. His ground rabbit meatballs have hit the fryer. He's
frying aromatics in the convection oven while sauteing arugula. Rubino is
pureeing rabbit livers, prepping a mango-papaya mixture, and finishing a mint
"Fifteen minutes to go." The Iron Chef has yet to begin plating his meatballs,
risotto, or rabbit livers. The Challenger... also waiting for final applications
for rabbit sous-vide and steamed bok choy. But the plating is beginning with
braised rabbit, rabbit rack, and risotto on the IC side.
Symon is finishing his risotto with truffle and green olive oil. Rubino is
plating rabbit and mushroom with fruity foam. Symon is using every bit of the
critter. With six minutes remaining, Symon is saucing his sous-vide rabbit.
Rubino's done with his rabbit-puree with bok choy. His sous-vide is done. He's
finishing his guinea-hen rabbit dish. Symon has rabbit meatballs, sous-vide,
risotto, rack of rabbit with a drummette, and a braised leg. And a screwdriver
for Alton. Rubino has rabbit loin with cannolli, kimchee roll, Peking-style,
Thai-style, and Korean-style.
"One minute to go." We're all but finished here, and Rubino loves to garnish. He
does it to the last second.
"Five seconds... Three... two... one." Put it down, walk away. Battle Rabbit is
Judgment (Rubino): "We are going to surf in and out through Asian. You'll see
some Korean, some Thai, some Indian as well."
- Hatcho Miso Rabbit
- Korean-Stile Rabbit with Kimchee Roll
- Peking-style Rabbit
- Thai-style Rabbit Curry with Shrimp Salad
- Garam Marsala Crusted Rabbit Loin with Rabbit Mousse Cigar
It's an interesting choice to go smoky to begin. Dana likes the presentation,
and Alex likes the way that all the ingredients tie together.
Judgment (Symon): "To use the entire animal. We were very conscious to use
different parts of the animal in each dish."
- Carrotini (or "Wascally Wabbit", carrot juice, fresh ginger, and vodka)
- Rabbit Meatballs
- Sous-Vide Rabbit Loin
- Rabbit Dirty Risotto
- Grilled Hare Rack and Fried Rabbit Drummette
- Seared Rabbit Thigh
Opening gambits are delicate, bold, and seductive. As for the rest, there's
nothing to hide it behind, and there are some who think that's a good thing.
But whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
... 52-46 in favor of Iron Chef Michael Symon. Chefs tied in originality, Rubino
had the edge in his arrangement, but it was the flavor of the Tetsujin's dishes
that gives him his second notch in the win column.
Two in a row for the new Iron Chef. Can he make it a hat trick? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, a new battle awaits around the bend. Until then, I bid you good