“Kitchen Nightmares,” FOX’s venerable restaurant makeover show featuring a British celebrity chef angrily admonishing a bumbling staff to “come on, guys!” has finished a week-long shoot on Court Street in Carroll Gardens (Brooklyn). Chef Gordon Ramsay, host of the program, supposedly has whipped into shape Mama Maria’s Italiano Ristorante at 307 Court Street. Shooting took place from June 18 – 24, with what appeared to be the “new” restaurant unveiling (a staple of every episode) happening Saturday June 23. Apparently the makeover wisely included losing the awning and the out-of-order words “Italiano Ristorante.” Strolling by late this evening I noticed a brighter, sharper interior, and new tables with newspaper-themed tabletops.
I’ve actually never eaten at Mama Maria’s, so I’m not able to pass judgment on its food or service. I can only state that the joint has barely registered a blip on my radar, and I go to a lot of local restaurants. If there is a reason it appears on this show that I can glean, it is that Mama Maria’s doesn’t seem to have a distinct character. To me, it doesn’t fall into the new and trendy category, but it’s not a go-to among the old school places either (like Sam’s, Red Rose, or Ferdinando’s). In fact I was never sure whether it was a regular restaurant, an extension of/hangout for employees of Sal’s Pizzeria next door, or a sports bar (I’m pretty sure they’ve recently advertised NFL Sunday Ticket). It seemed to want to be all things to all people and ended up being none. Hopefully Chef Ramsay gave it some direction. Now I have a reason to check it out, and I’ll definitely be checking out the episode when it airs.