Rouge Tomate, the Final Feast

It was shocking when I found out that Rouge Tomate would be closing its doors on August 9th after its last dinner service.  Luckily I made it in time for a final dinner on August 8th.  I will really miss this place. Ahh, but the good news! They'll be relocating to a new location downtown soon, so you can expect to see more dining adventures about RT 2.0 from me here.

Dinner was fantastic as expected.  I have been tempted to order the prix-fixe dinner menu, but then again I think that there'll be 1) too much food to consume in one sitting or 2) something else will catch my eye, and I'll want to eat that instead.  My boyfriend and I decided on ordering from the menu a la carte, and that's where the party began. 

First. the wine. 

For a good time, drink wine.

I asked Pascaline, who recently was inducted into the Court of Master Sommeliers (hooray!) for her recommendation on a bottle. Preferably biodynamic and natural. I'm convinced that it's the insane amount of sulfites in other wines (even spectacular ones) that bring out my Asian glow to a cherry red, so when I'm Rouge Tomate, I try to stick to the biodynamic offerings. They keep me safe. I always place complete trust in Pascaline, because she knows best! She selected this red wine from the Loire Valley. A 2012 P'tit Luchini made by Japanese-Canadian winemakers.  To have Asians making great wine in France especially in the Loire region is impressive, and this one was a winner! The Vin de Soif style of wine translated from French means "wine to quench thirst." The wine did its job well, because we were extremely satisfied.

Amuse Bouche 

This is just a little something that is served before your meal to prepare you for what's to follow. (For future posts, I must take notes on the ingredients!).

Time to prep the palate!

Eggplant “Tartare”
Sunny-Side Up Farm Egg,  Garlic Confit, Sungold Tomato, and Pickled Fennel 

Could make you opt for a meatless day.

The first appetizer has been a favorite of mine since it was introduced on the menu early last fall, so of course I had to have it this one last time. It's been slightly modified from the first version - there used to be thin wafer-like strips encasing the eggplant tartare in a box-pinwheel shape. Surprise, surprise! Because it's made so perfectly to mimic the texture of a raw meat tartare like steak, tuna, or venison, you might forget you're actually eating all vegetables (and egg) after the first bite.

Arctic Char Crudo 
Horseradish Yogurt,  Trout Roe, Dill, and Pumpernickel

Why, hellooooo there.

Oh, another dish that I love to start off with. Ever since I encountered this during my first visit back in Summer 2009, I fell in love.  I couldn't resist the delicate texture and clean, mild flavor of arctic char. It's closely related to salmon and trout, but it's more sustainable, and it might even be better in overall taste. The slightly spicy and sourness of the horseradish yogurt together with the sweet and crisp trout roe, dill, and pumpernickel combined made intense delicious bites. 

Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Panzanella
Beldi Olive, Cucumber, Feta,  Basil, and Sherry Vinegar

No need for greens here.

This light and refreshing summer salad was a compliment of the chef. Thank you, Chef Andy Bennett! I enjoyed how the feta cheese really enhanced the flavors of the watermelon.  Never had a salad like this before.  I'll have to try my hand at this one day.

Barnegat Light Sea Scallops a la Plancha
Chickpea-Buttermilk Puree, Greenmarket Pole Beans, Spicy Romesco, and Marcona Almonds 

It never occurred to me to look up what "a la Plancha" meant all these years. Since the food at Rouge Tomate is either broiled, baked, grilled, or steamed, it made sense to me that "a la Plancha" (grilled on a metal plate) would be one of those cooking methods. (Thanks Google!). Here we have with these fantastic, fresh sea scallops.  These are one of the best tasting varieties I've eaten. They're sourced locally from the town of Barnegat Light, NJ. My boyfriend chose this as his entree, and he happily enjoyed every bite.  I tried a little of it, and I could taste the freshness of the scallop in each chewy morsel. The chickpea-buttermilk puree added a nice touch of acidity to it. 

Cow’s Milk Ricotta Gnudi
Asparagus,  Wild Mushroom, Spring Onion,  Wild Spinach in Parmesan Broth

During my last couple of visits in 2013, I've always ordered the gnudi. I had to have it once again. Just can't resist the lightness, fluffiness, and creaminess of this gnocchi variation. Each piece released a burst of extraordinary flavors and pretty much melted in my mouth. It's so good. SO very, very good. 

Seven Layer Chocolate Icebox
Salted Caramel, Banana, Coffee, and Almond 

Have you ever eaten cake that doesn't baking? That's what an icebox cake is - layers of crumbled chocolate, coffee, and almond bits packed together to create this masterpiece. The salted caramel ice cream was divine, and the torched banana on top pulled it all together. This dessert is also gluten-free and vegan as well - amazing!  Pastry Chef James DiStefano always seems to amaze me especially with the Chocolate Sphere Dessert (one of the RT menu originals in the early and most recent days - click here to see it)

Everything on the menu is created and cooked under the SPE Certified (health through food) guidelines and watchful eye of RT's in-house nutritionist, Kristy Lambrou. Nothing is deep-fried or uses saturated oils. Since all the food is either boiled, baked, grilled or steamed, you can rest assured that while eating a four or five course meal you're indulging in a healthy and nutritious way.  

Thanks to Rouge Tomate, I've learned a lot about the NYC restaurant scene and especially about phenomenal food and wine. This place will always be #1 in my heart despite the many contenders. I'm looking forward to visiting the new location. I hope the wait won't be too long, because withdrawal is already kicking in. 

Rouge Tomate
10 E 60th Street
New York, NY 10022
(646) 237-8977


ROUGE TOMATE Cart in the Park

[A Food Cart Unlike the Others]

How excited was I when I heard that my favorite restaurant Rouge Tomate launched a food cart a mere 10 blocks from my workplace!  I think it’s only been about eight weeks since the opening of the Rouge Tomate Cart in the Park, and I am loving it!

I’ve been three times in the past month having ordered two of the same lunch box combos with different drinks.

Featured here is the lunch box from the second [fabulous] time I visited the Rouge Tomate Cart.

First photo from the left is the Rouge Tomate BLT.  This was probably the best and healthiest BLT sandwich I’ve ever eaten.  It’s made with Benton’s Hickory Smoked Bacon (glorious bacon, wherever they get it from), Jersey Beefsteak Tomato, wild arugula, and avocado on whole wheat bread. 

Next is the Local Chilled Corn Soup. It’s clean, crispy and creamy with succotash, jalapeno, and basil.  I’m not a big soup person — it really depends as when it comes to soup, I’m picky.  When there’s a soup on a menu that grabs my attention, I’ll go for it.  Since it’s a Rouge Tomate creation, I definitely had to try it. This soup was phenomenal! It’s very refreshing when you eat it.

Center stage — my snapshot of the lovely cart at the entrance to the Central Park Zoo.  I was thrilled when I took this photo.  Silly, yes. Excited I finally found it? Very much so.

Drink following was the Mint Lemonade. How can the proportions of lemon, mint, lemon and lime syrup, and seltzer be mixed to create a wonderfully balanced drink?    I think the experts at Rouge Tomate hold that secret.  Who doesn’t love the refreshingly cool and clean taste of mint?

Lastly, the lunch box spread. I finally received my reusable, insulated Rouge Tomate lunch tote! Appetizing and healthy!! The menu at Rouge Tomate and the cart are created with executive chef Jeremy Bearman and nutritionist, Natalie Hancock.  Rest assured, you can feel great about what you eat here, because it’s healthy and satisfying!

They serve breakfast (muffins, parfaits, juice) and desserts (sorbets and gelato), too!

As an avid user of social media such as twitter and facebook (plus tumblr), I immediately had to follow and become a fan in order to spread the word and Rouge Tomate (cart and restaurant) love to all my friends and fellow followers.

Let me tell you, everything in the lunch box tasted of a perfect combo of fresh and savory. I can’t describe any other way. BLT lunch box is only $15! You must go and try it!

Enjoy and eat healthy! Love you guys!

Rouge Tomate Cart in the Park
E 64th St and 5th Avenue
(by the entrance of the Central Park Zoo)

Monday - Saturday, 9AM to 6PM (Restaurant homepage)
Cart menu // Facebook fan page

Check the menu regularly for any delicious additions or changes!