|"The team works overnight to remodel the restaurant."
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Before Gordon's Arrival
Sammy is very experienced in restaurants, having worked in them since he was 8. He owned a successful pizzeria, but is struggling with a proper Italian restaurant. Sammy thinks Sabatiello's excels in everything from decor to food, but customers aren't coming and he is a million dollars in debt.
Gordon walks through Stamford reading reviews, and walks in and is greeted by Sammy. Sammy is confident. Even Gordon admits the decor is nice. Gordon quickly finds Sammy obnoxious.
Italian wedding soup, lasagna, New York strip
Impressions of the Food
Italian wedding soup-Gordon says it's hideous and the meatballs are gray. Sammy brags it'll put you in the mood to get married, to which Gordon retorts "I'd rather get fucking divorced". Sammy admits the soups stay on for 2 days, and Gordon responds, "How can it be soup of the day when it's the soup of yesterday?"
Lasagna-Before even eating it, Gordon says "Did someone drop it?". Gordon notices bits of chicken or veal and "something synthetic". He says "if this is homemade, I'll dance around this restaurant stark-bollock naked".
New York Strip-Gordon says it is tough, unseasoned and consistently poor`
First Dinner Service
Gordon talks with Jose and Manny. Jose admits the soup was actually 3 days old. Gordon then blasts the lasagna, and finds it was frozen. Sammy questions what Gordon knows about lasagna since he's Scottish, and Gordon says "every chef I know makes lasagna fresh every day". When the subject turns to the steak, Sammy admits he's cut down on the quality of steaks. Sammy theorizes maybe Gordon is just in a bad mood. Gordon replies "I get out of the same side of the bed every day, and I know what I'm talking about". Sammy continues to defend himself, and seems personally offended. Gordon inspects the fridge. The kitchen on the surface seems spotless. However, Gordon finds that they keep cooked and raw products together. Gordon has Jose sort that out, and Sammy blames Jose. As the service starts, Jose tells Gordon he wishes he had fresh ingredients, but Sammy doesn't let him. When food comes back, Sammy defends it by saying "but it's not bad though!". One customer says her lamb is cold in the middle. Sammy tells Manny to put it in the microwave. When they bring it back, she says she can tell it's been microwaved and it's still wrong anyway. Sammy goes to confront her. Sammy offers to have them make her a new one, but she says she only wants it if it's not microwaved. Sammy gets offended and mouths off to her. The other customers notice and are appalled by Sammy's attitude. Gordon tells Jose that it's not his fault, that it is the fault of the substandard ingredients. Sammy brings the new lamb to the same customer, and the dining room gives a loud, sarcastic applause. She says it was still wrong and that she was leaving. Sammy loses his cool and decides to shut down the kitchen. Sammy was mad at both the customers and Jose and Manny. Lauren and David try to apologize for Sammy.
Gordon confronts Sammy and tells him he's the problem, citing his attitude towards the customers. Gordon admits he has passion, but says he's clueless. He again cites the poor ingredients, as well.
Remainder of the Visit
The next day, Gordon meets with Sammy. They go over Sammy's history. Sammy says he started working for his late older brother, and that he looked up to him. Talking about this gets through to Sammy. Gordon teaches Sammy, Jose and Manny a new recipe for lasagna and steak. Gordon also introduces them to a tableside service. People know Gordon is there, and the restaurant is packed. Sammy expedites, and Jose doesn't communicate. The tableside steaks are full of mistakes. Sammy takes to yelling at Jose again. Even Gordon agrees Jose is making mistakes. Gordon sits down with Sammy, and agrees with him that Jose is a problem. They agree that if he screws up something as simple as steaks, he can't be good enough. Sammy decides to give him only one more chance.
Restaurant & Menu Remodel
Since Gordon likes the decor, he only redesigns the menu and decides to rebrand it as an Italian steakhouse. He introduces a lot of new dishes to fit the new theme. Sammy admits Gordon's menu is better than his.
Sammy tells Jose he's down to his last chance. Gordon encourages Jose to communicate better. Jose does not get off to a good start. Sammy decides to jump in behind the line and start cooking. Though this creates chaos, Sammy shows a talent in the kitchen and the people like the dishes he made. Gordon praises Sammy for his performance, and Sammy shows his appreciation for Gordon for opening his eyes.
After Gordon's Departure
Sabatiello's closed in late 2009. Sammy responded by vandalizing his own building which got him into legal trouble. Sammy went back to the pizzeria business and again achieved some success, before his pizzeria closed in 2018.