Top Chef Chicago: It's Down to the Final Four...

Top Chef Chicago: It's Down to the Final Four...

Not being huge red meat eaters, this is a lot of beef to be looking at so early in the morning.

But from butchering to cooking, this episode was all about the cow. And yet for once during judges' table, nobody had one.

Note: We reveal the loser and the final four below...

First off, we were introduced to a new cut of steak in this episode: the Tomahawk chop, which is a frenched, bone-in rib eye. In the Quickfire challenge, Spike proved he could butcher a slab of meat — a pretty impressive skill — better than anyone else, and he won over guest judge Rick Tramanto.

But as in the police academy episode, Spike squandered his advantage of being able to pick his protein in the elimination challenge. He zeroed in on some frozen scallops, which were mushy and waterlogged in his appetizer dish. And when called to defend them, he blamed Rick Tramanto for even having them in his cooler. Ooh, poor form.

We did love the elimination challenge, though. The chefs were on their own, cooking an appetizer and a main course in Tramanto's new steak house. We got to see them operate in a restaurant kitchen without having to collaborate with each other, and they turned out the kind of dishes we expected.

Namely, Antonia served sophisticated comfort food (did you notice the mini Staub gratin dishes? Adorable!). Stephanie went under the radar — she's so even-keeled, it's delightful — and then produced virtually flawless dishes. We're noticing she likes the savory-sweet combination, like sweetbreads with raisins and pinenuts.

Richard was slow, methodical, and fancy schmancy, as usual, but we will say that he's dropped some of the wizardy from the first episodes. He's calmed down a little, and his food looks much more approachable (his hamachi and sweetbreads made us want to eat sweetbreads). But we all know the tiny smoker will be back for the finale, right?

Stephanie won, but the judges had high praise for all of the top three.

And that leaves us Spike and Lisa... Oh, Spike and Lisa. Spike was eliminated for soggy scallops and an uninspired steak, but Lisa is still with us, people... Despite peanut butter mashed potatoes, which — we don't care what the judges said — sound awful.

OK, weigh in. How do you feel about Lisa being in the finale?

More Top Chef Coverage:

Related: How To Broil a Steak in the Oven

(Images: Bravo)

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