Friday, July 31, 2009

Rouge Tomate Restaurant

My husband and I recently visited Rouge Tomate, a fairly new restaurant serving Contemporary American cuisine, which opened in October 2008 on the Upper East Side (10 East 60th Street between 5th and Madison Ave) near Barney's. Rouge Tomate utilizes local purveyors and sustainable ingredients as well as adheres to the principles of SPE (Sanitas Per Escam).

SPE is a culinary and nutritional charter developed by chefs and nutritionists and is based on a genuine respect for ingredients and the crafting of balanced dishes that naturally marries thoughtful, well-executed cuisine with authentic nutrition. Executive chef Jeremy Bearman and executive pastry chef James Distefano collaborate with culinary nutritionist Natalia Rusin on sweet and savory dishes to ensure that each follows the principles of SPE.

From their decor, service and food, Rouge Tomate was quite impressive. It is clean and
modern with a sleek bar, a towering wall of fine wines and fresh apples in square glass bowls accentuating the freshness of the restaurant. Rouge Tomate is inviting, warm, non-pretentious and boasts an excellent, knowledgeable and attentive staff.

We were in the mood for a nice, cold non-alcoholic cocktail and the waitress suggested a drink from their hand-crafted cocktail menu called the strawberry blonde lemonade, which is made with strawberry basil syrup, lemon juice, fresh basil. It was the most refreshing drink I have had in a long time. The basil and strawberry concoction works very well together. I can't recommend this drink enough!!

After we had our delicious drinks, we moved onto our chickpea hummus, flatbread and marinated olives appetizer followed by the chilled vegetable gazpacho with mango, avocado, mint, and basil, compliments of the chef. The gazpacho reminded me of warm summer days when tomatoes actually had some taste of sweet tanginess.

For our entrees, my husband had the fresh maine lobster salad drizzled with a passion fruit vinaigrette and I chose the house-made spaghetti pomodoro with vine-ripe tomato, summer squash, garlic, capers, and basil. Now onto dessert, which is of course the most important part of a meal! We tried the nectarine with a honey roasted, buttermilk-lemon shortcake and toasted almond milk sherbet and the local strawberry with banana, orange and bourbon vanilla, anise-hyssop sherbet. Neither one disappointed! Not only did they taste amazing but you actually felt good eating these desserts because you knew they were made with a health factor in mind due to the use of locally grown ingredients and a nutritionist helping with the creation of the desserts to keep in part with the rules of SPE.

When you need a place to go for lunch whether it be from work or from all the great shopping on 5th and Madison Ave, I highly recommend a visit to Rouge Tomate. It is well worth the time and money. I know I'm looking forward to my next visit!!