REVIEW #59

Rouge Tomate

We avoided trying Rouge Tomate for quite some time on account of their vocal philosophy of sanitas per escam, health through food.  What this means in practice is that someone with the rather Orwellian title of “culinary nutrionist” tinkers with your food to make it more healthy, and less tasty.  All of the other shibboleths of politically correct thought are here too: organic and biodynamic wines, local purveyors, sustainable ingredients, reducing carbon footprint.  Gag.

It was with some surprise and relief that we discovered the modern American cuisine is actually much better at Rouge Tomate than at many comparably priced venues in town.  We have a stated policy of not arguing with what works, so Rouge Tomate is free to make the sausage however they like.  Perhaps this should not have come as such a surprise given that chef Jeremy Bearman is an alumnus of both Daniel Boulud and Joël Robuchon kitchens.  There is an outstanding selection of crudo or ceviche to begin the meal, such as an amazingly light and refreshing Hawaiian walu ceviche with avocado, yuzu, and lemongrass-ginger oil and an arctic char crudo with horseradish yogurt, trout roe, dill and pumpernickel.  A toast topped with superbly fresh blue crab, avocado and sweet corn combines into a perfect harmony of flavors.  Among the entrees are a farm quail with buttermilk grits, corn, chanterelle, blueberry and quail egg.

The 15,000 square foot bi-level space designed by Bentel & Bentel is airy, modern and sleek with clean lines, glass-enclosed wine cases and three massive windows that permit copious natural light.

Rouge Tomate is a superb restaurant, one we now revisit regularly.  They should drop the self-promotional virtue, and just serve good cuisine unencumbered by socio-political agendas.

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INFORMATION

Upper East Side
10 E. 60th St.
New York (nr. Madison Ave.)
646-237-8977
Daily, noon-4pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm
    Jeremy Bearman, Chef
    James Distefano, Pastry Chef
    Pascaline Lepeltier, Sommelier
    Bentel & Bentel, Designer

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