For the better part of the year, tomatoes can be sadly lackluster and often tasteless. But come summer, these colorful orbs reach their peak, bursting with sweet, bright flavor. Delicious either raw or cooked, and found in varieties like Brandywine or striking Green Zebra, oblong Plum or tiny Cherry, the summertime fruit is incredibly versatile. Take the savory Tomato and Zucchini Bread Pudding at The Harrison, the Mussels and Heirloom Tomatoes in Lobster Broth at RedFarm, and the surprising and refreshing Strawberry-Tomato Sorbet at Oddfellows, each showcasing tomatoes equally well as part of an appetizer, entrée or even dessert. Here are a few other terrific tomato dishes to snap up this summer…
At the newly opened Oddfellows in Williamsburg, wd-50 alum Sam Mason dishes out artisanal ice creams, with flavors ranging from basic Mint Chocolate Chunk to more adventurous concoction, the likes of Burnt Marshmallow, Maple-Pecan Bacon and Beet Pistachio Honey Goat Cheese. So it’s not especially surprising to find tomatoes on the menu, incorporated in a sweet and savory Strawberry-Tomato Sorbet. Talk about an inventive take on a classic frozen treat.
The Musket Room
Not familiar with Kiwi cuisine? Matt Lambert is bringing a taste of New Zealand to New York with his recently open and quickly embraced, Nolita spot, The Musket Room. And like many chefs lately, he’s also particularly inspired by Asian ingredients, so you’ll find a Steak and Cheese Pie alongside dishes, like Wasabi Custard with Langoustines, and this season’s standout — Tofu Gnocchi with Roasted Tomato Dashi, Oyster Mushrooms and Asian Greens.
RedFarm may technically be a Chinese restaurant, but don’t go looking for Beef with Broccoli, Shrimp Lo Mein and Chicken Fried Rice. Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng bring a greenmarket sensibility and playful spirit to their menu, with signature dishes, like PacMan Dumplings, Katz’s Pastrami Egg Rolls and Shrimp-stuffed Jalapeno Poppers. And since they’re obviously not afraid of breaking the rules, they’re even using tomatoes this season, not exactly a staple of Chinese cooking. Chef Ng creates the perfect summer medley with Mussels and Heirloom Tomatoes, simmering in a Lobster Broth.
In a surprise move, fine dining chef, Paul Liebrandt, just recently left Corton in Manhattan to open The Elm in Brooklyn in July. And while Williamsburg is known for its spate of rustic-casual restaurants, Liebrandt has remained true to his vision of forward-thinking French fare. Separated into categories, like Raw, Sea, Land and Share, the modern menu features dishes, like Summer Beets with Tomato Aioli and XO Sauce, and “Flavors of Bouillabaisse” with Mussels, Orange Confit and Fennel Blossom. And Liebrandt’s flair for uniquely utilizing seasonal ingredients really shines through in his Kanpachi “Jamon,” made with Watermelon and Heirloom Tomatoes and seasoned with Vadouvan Spice, an Indian curry blend accented with garlic and shallots. We guarantee you’ll never look at tomatoes and watermelon quite the same way again.Read More
You can’t go wrong with any of the pastas at Dell’anima in the West Village, as they’re all made fresh in-house daily. You’ll currently find Gnocchi with seasonal Grilled Vegetables, Fettuccine with Cockles, Garlic, Chili Flakes and Breadcrumbs, and Garganelli with Almonds, Scallions and Chanterelles. But before tomato season ends, we recommend sampling the Orecchiette tossed with Pancetta, Roasted Sungold Tomatoes and Basil, and topped with Parmigiano Cheese. It’s an inspired take on a BLT, and if there’s any better showcase for tomatoes than that classic, summery sandwich, it’s this.
Jimmy Bradley’s The Harrison is a reliable Tribeca standby, with notable former chefs like Amanda Freitag and Joey Campanaro each leaving their imprint on the menu. Now the kitchen’s back in owner Jimmy Bradley’s hands and what you’ll find is expertly executed, New American fare with Mediterranean influences, like Toasted Couscous and Farro with Mozzarella, Chili and Mint, Grilled Octopus with Sweet Potato Falafel, and Day Boat Scallops with Preserved Lemon Butter and Pattypan Squash. And since tomatoes provide a perfect cross-cultural through-line, they play a starring role in a number of new summer dishes. Try the Heirloom Tomatoes and Sicilian Tuna served with Cornichons and Country bread as well as a wonderful savory twist on Bread Pudding, made with farm fresh Tomatoes and Zucchini, topped with a Poached Egg and Pecorino Cheese. Yum.Read More
American comfort food gets a tasty seasonal upgrade at chefs Mikey Price and Joey Campanaro’s West Village neighborhood darling, Market Table. The airy dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows has not only a view of the city streets, but also the chefs hard at work in an open kitchen. Inspired summery dishes take center stage on the menu with options, like Watermelon Gazpacho with Peekytoe Crab and Avocado, and Monkfish Medallions with Zucchini, Lemon Confit, Wild Mint in a Tomato Coriander Sauce. Better yet, start with the Burrata, paired with a bevy of seasonal ingredients, including Heirloom Melons, sweet, Cherry Tomatoes and a Parsley Sauce to revel in Market Table’s celebration of the sweet tomato season.
Franny’s may be famous for their wood-burning pizzas, but they also apply their local and seasonal aesthetic to a wide array of equally delicious Italian dishes. Particularly notable are the Spaghetti with Seabream, Agretti and Controne Pepper, and Crostini with Wood Roasted Pancetta and Ramp Butter. Chef Jonathan Adler is also taking advantage of the fleeting tomato season with a not-to-be-missed Fried Polenta with Sungold Tomatoes and Crescenza cheese. We get excited just thinking about it! Read More