I really enjoyed this show. I liked the combination of behind the scenes in a real restaurant, with real restaurant culture (do *not* disrespect the chef!) and Iron Chef style tasting and judging.
It didn't hurt that it was shot in SF and in places I'm familiar with. Plus, they eliminated the most obnoxiou contestant first, instead of saving his ass because he "makes good television." I think the fact that the judges are also working with the contestants means they aren't going to put up with much attitude.