Last night, for date night, we finally got to use our Yelp coupon to Rouge Tomate. Getting $100 worth of food for $50 is always great, but when it’s a Michelin starred restaurant, I suppose it’s even better. Located in midtown-east, right near the Plaza Hotel, makes going there a treat, as you get to walk around the edge of Central Park and see all the horse carriages. Anyway, on to the meal.
Unfortunately, our table was very low lit and being that I didn’t want to use a flash on my camera, there is only one picture in this entry. I feel weird using a flash, but the one on my blackberry wasn’t too intrusive. The sheer size of this restaurant is pretty amazing. The upstairs has high ceilings and a very large, well stocked bar. There is a nice lounge area next to the bar, set up with numerous leather lounge seats. The main upstairs dining area contains lots of booths along the wall as well as smaller tables for two. Downstairs, another enormous dining room seats at least another 100. Though I’m bad at guessing, this place must seat 250. Here a couple pictures of the upstairs and downstairs seating areas:
The service throughout the night was impeccable, as you should expect from a michelin restaurant. Everything was cleared promptly and quickly, water glasses never sank below half-way, and our waiter was knowledgeable about the menu and could describe dishes with ease. Because they have such an all encompassing cocktail list, littered with seasonal flavors and house-made liquor, I started with a citrus dark and stormy. This was a typical d & s but with grapefruit juice. They also had their own ginger beer. My wife ordered the pear crisp, which tasted like a dessert.
Before our first courses arrived, we were presented with a choice of sourdough bread and wholegrain rolls, each served with a spinach and walnut spread. It was rich, creamy and had a distinct nutty flavor, despite not being crunchy at all. For our appetizers, we started with a set of three toasts, each topped differently. One with roasted heirloom cauliflower and pesto, another with pepper relish, and the last with celery root remoulade with quail egg. While the cauliflower was a bit oversalted it was still quite tasty. The best was the celery root.
For our second round of starters, I ordered something that debuted that night, a sardine escabeche with olives, fingerling potatoes and a light dressing. The dish was plated on a long narrow plate. The sardines were tender and not fishy and the potatoes cut in bite size discs. Anna chose the Honeycrisp Apple and Baby Beet Salad, which was bright, vibrant and fresh, served with walnut, celery, horseradish yogurt and honey vinegar. It was very light, and not overly dressed.
For our entrees, I had a little trouble, then I noticed they had sweetbreads listed. That made my choice easy. The local veal sweetbreads were served with cooked slices of Honeycrisp apples, turnips, grilled endive and a horseradish puree. The sweetbreads were grilled to perfection, without any fried crust, but it didn’t matter. My wife went with the gnocchi topped with a six-minute egg and paired with foraged mushrooms, herbs and sherry vinaigrette. Here is visual evidence:
Normally after all these dishes, I might pass on dessert, but here at Rouge Tomate, the portions sizes are a bit smaller than most NYC restaurants that I have been to. This could be a problem, but most of the dishes here are supposed to be a bit more organic and health driven. I didn’t mind, as I left stuffed. For dessert, we ordered the Panna Cotta with gooseberries, served in a glass jar, and the honeycrisp apple spiced cake with horchata ice cream, ancho chile and coffee. The desserts were exquisite and again a mark of plating perfection.
This restaurant may not have been on my radar despite the Yelp discount, but I was very impressed with each dish. They all included many different flavors, texture combinations, and looked beautiful. The drinks here really shine, as do the entrees. I think sharing various entrees and appetizers would be the way to go, tasting a little of each.
I’ve never provided a restaurant rating on The Carnivore and Vegetarian before, but I think it makes sense to start. On a five star scale, I would give the Rouge Tomate 4 stars.