Last night, I met a friend for a drink at Rouge Tomate, a new-ish restaurant in Midtown East. Open since October 2008, they boast seasonal, local meals and a fresh juice bar. It’s a lovely space — light colours, very modern.
The cocktail I had was amazing — the best I’ve had in a long while. It was called Rhubarb Crisp and had vodka, rhubarb puree, lemon, vanilla bean, and prosecco. (It was supposed to be made with rum, but I’m not a big fan so they nicely switched it out for me). Seriously, this was a great cocktail.
My friend departed but I had about an hour to kill before my next appointment and was in need of dinner, so, encouraged by how good the cocktail was, I decided to treat myself to a nice meal at the bar.
I was debating between two pastas and the bartender recommended the Paparadelle with Chicken Ragout, Artichoke, Tomato Confit, and Olives. Before it was served, they brought out an amuse bouche of white gazpacho with almond and grapes, which was excellent. They also brought some multi-grain bread with a spinach and almond spread. The bread was good, but I wasn’t a fan of the spread — it tasted like the spinach I used at eat in grade school: overcooked and mushy.
Finally, the entree came out and… wasn’t that great. First off, it wasn’t presented well. It looked like something I could have easily made at home. Upon tasting it, I realized I could have made it much better at home. The pasta was a bit too al dente, the chicken had a strange, almost bitter taste, and the reduction on the bottom was very salty. Also, the dish was totally overpriced: $29. I was expecting a lot more — if not in size, then definitely in flavor. I ate about half and then gave up.
I’ve heard really good things about the food, so perhaps I just ordered the one bad dish on the menu — but I sort of doubt that. Has anyone else been? How was your meal? Did you think it was worth the cost?
While I wouldn’t go back for a meal, I would definitely go back for a cocktail — every single one on the menu sounded amazing. (They also give you a little bowl of popcorn with your drink, so it’s a great place for after work!)