Sunday, 29 May 2011

US Season 4 - Zeke's - CLOSED

Open or closed? CLOSED
Location: Metairie, LA

Episode Summary:  Zeke's was originally owned by a local icon named Zeke and was very popular with the locals, sadly Zeke died in Hurricane Katrina and was bought by current owners Darryl and Ellen Cortello. They sacked staff, raised the prices but lowered the quality. Gordon visits locals before the restaurant and they say they have stopped going due to this. Gordon arrives during lunch service, is greeted by Ellen and orders some food. He is told the menu has remained the same with a few additions from Darryl. Gordon orders oysters Cortello, boiled shrimp, chicken fried steak and bread pudding. He is not impressed with the food especially the shrimp which he finds out comes in frozen, the oysters are no good too and the chicken fried steak has no seasoning or taste.  He is however impressed with the bread pudding, made by Chef Emil.

Gordone enters the kitchen to discuss the lack of fresh shrimp, Darryl claims he doesn't have time to buy it. Emil reveals it was Darryl's decision to use low quality meat. Darryl claims Gordon knows nothing about New Orleans food as he has a full dining room and no food returned. At the dinner service Gordon discovers that the shrimp is prebagged and is not impressed. The food is going out cold and he discovers the lasagne was made a week ago. As Darryl sees nothing wrong with this Gordon announces to the dining room that it was made a week ago, the customers leave the restaurant and Darryl tries to defend freezing leftovers. Chef Ramsay calls a team meeting the next morning and encourages them to voice their views to Ellen and Darryl. Jason tells them they are more concerned with customer numbers than good quality food, customer service, respecting the staff and paying a decent wage. Ellen defends it by saying they have had to use their own funds to pay the wages and don't make anything themselves and Darryl angrily tells them "If you don't want to be here, don't be here".

Gordon sets a challenge for the chefs to go to the Grocery store and come back with ingredients to cook an impressive seafood dish. They make Salmon and Grits and Red Fish with Grilled Vegetables. Gordon serves them to Ellen and Darryl pretending he has made them, they love the dishes and Gordon reveals they are made by Emil and Jason.  The restaurant has a makeover overnight and has a new area with fresh shellfish. Gordon also revamps the menu with new items such as a bucket of shrimp, catfish and alligator. On relaunch night, some of the put off locals are present. Gordon encourages the servers to push the seafood buckets as it takes pressure off the kitchen. Darryl is expediting the rest of the menu, it starts to fall apart as he calls lots of tickets together and shows he is still only focused on getting the dishes out quickly as many dishes go out undercooked. Gordon tells them to focus on one dish at a time and communicate better. The relaunch turns into a success and the customers love the food. The local news channel arrives to cover the relaunch. Gordon congratulates everyone on the successful relaunch.

What Happened Next: In the following weeks, customer numbers are up and morale has improved. The restaurant is still open and reviews look mostly good since Gordon was there. They hired  a new Executive Chef Michelle Matlock who had plenty of experience and some vegan specials for the menu (see blog review). As of October 2012, the restaurant closed and was sold.

Extra Reading

Diners sought for two 'Kitchen Nightmare' makeovers in NOLA 

Love Hotel Hell? Visit my Hotel Hell blog here.


  1. "Level of stubbornness of owner: 5/10"

    More like 10/10!

  2. Now Porters & Lukes. It is completely remodeled. The owners are Amazing, great customer servies. Variety of food such as oyster barriataria, eggplant vincent, many others very good food between $10- 40. If your ever in the area stop by for lunch or dinner. 1517 metairie rd, Metairie, LA. Also has very nice bar. Reserve large parties up to 20 or so.

    I think you and Gordon Ramsay would be impress

    1. This sounds suspiciously like someone who has some stake in the restaurant. It reads like an advertisement, albeit one that someone forgot to proofread.

    2. blatantly someone with an ownership interest in the business! didn't even try to disguise it! because when people ask me how I feel about a place I had dinner at, I tell them all about how wonderful it was, that I didn't have a single complaint, then give their address verbatim and tell them to "stop by sometime."

    3. Yeah, whenever I review a restaurant I always forget to tell people how good the food was and what I ordered and instead tell everyone about party reservations and the address.
      Poor Zeke. What a bunch of p.o.s. that have taken over his legacy.

    4. Yup and when I review a restaurant, I also tell people to reserve a table for 20+ people!

  3. Are the 2 young chefs still there?

  4. where are the 2 young chefs? They seem so talented.

  5. No wonder the place failed with two ignorant, arrogant owners.

  6. fresh frozen shrimp, portions, wtf , eventually the standards fell again

  7. I watched the episode and cannot believe how moronic Darryl and his wife are. The worst business owners I have ever seen. How sad... glad the restaurant was closed. Hope Darryl and his wife are bankrupt. They deserve it.

  8. I think I want to chime in with the same question others have asked... what happened to Emil and Jason, the young chefs that seemed to have the acts together??? I sure hope some success came their way.