So after all the hubbub of the Next Food Network Star, we get Party Line with Dan and Steve. And my overall review? Meh. While it didn't offended me the way a Susannah Locketti show would (I hate carbs and I lost 50 pounds!), it didn't grab me the the way a Hans show would. This has nothing to do with Dan and Steve, but the studio format (a la Sara's Secrets) is just not conducive to food porn in the Everyday Italian and Nigella Bites fashion. The show is fairly straightforward with Dan and Steve making dishes for entertaining. They supposedly give you tips on how they carry it off as caterers but the tips are fairly lacking.
In this first episode they are focusing on cocktail party recipes. It seems Steve got hit with the Rachael Ray bat because he's totally about the schtick. Dan on the other hand, is focused on the food. Their recipes are beef crostini with sage whipped cream, parmesan cheese balls, and crab stuffed pepperoncini. The crostini just seems crazy daunting because it takes the entire episode for the payoff of the fully assembled crostini. The beef doesn't even touch the pan until ten minutes into the program. The parmesan cheese balls sound like a winner, even with Steve admonition to use margarine instead of butter. However, I have to question using pepperoncini as the casing for the crab mixture. It just seems too overwhleming.
While they do give some fairly good advice in terms of presentation, there's a lot missing in terms of preparation. For example, Steve talks about using oversized plates for good presentation of hors d'ouerves and using things like olive plates to serve cheese balls on. However, they don't give good advice on preparation. For example, Steve tells us to serve the cheese balls warm. HOW do you do that? How far can you make them ahead and serve warm? How do you keep them warm if they are made ahead of time? Or with the whipped cream on the beef crostini, how do you keep it light a foamy for a long time? After a while whipped cream gets liquid. Do you just constantly have to make new batches of whipped cream? THAT'S the kind of advice I need from caterers.
Grading on annoyingness from Bobby Flay (BOO) to Alton Brown (YAY), I'd grade them a Sara Moulton.