When we went to Rouge Tomate Chelsea, I did not know what to expect. On one hand, I remembered a dinner that I found ok and quite pricey at the time they were Uptown (they closed in 2014); on the other hand, I was intrigued by their Michelin Star. So we decided to give it a try on a Friday night. The place was nice, with its open kitchen in the main dining room, exposed brick and reclaimed wood, as a testimony to the commitment of sustainability of the owners.
There, Chef Andy Bennett crafted a seasonal menu that is served seven days a week. Interesting menu, but know that portions are small...However, what is big is their beverage list that has few non-alcoholic drinks, but lots of wines and spirits, ranging from whiskey from all over the world (France and Japan for instance), wines, tequila, gin, etc. And some interesting cocktails, some classic and some quite creative like their Black Manhattan, made with rye, vermouth amaro, chinato, amaro sibilla and juniper maraschino. I was glad that it did not come in a martini glass by the way! It was delicious, nicely bitter and slightly sweet.
Jodi went for their lemonade, a less risky choice.
As an appetizer, I chose the Marinated Scallops and Hokkaido Uni. It was like a succession: first a scallop topped by uni (sea urchin), then some fennel, then a scallop topped with grapefruit and so on and so forth. It was good, but I admit that the texture was a bit too soft for me. But I liked the succession of flavors and the acidity the grapefruit added, as well as the way the fennel cleansed my palate between each bite.
Jodi opted for the mushroom tartare that was a great vegetarian interpretation of a classic.
And also the Spring greens and herbs that were topped with ricotta salata (I only ate the radish that she does not like).
My main course was the part surprisingly small. Unfortunately, I should say because it was sublime! It was the roasted squab, served with chanterelle mushrooms, spigarello aka Broccoli spigarello and cherry. The squab itself was delicious, with its bold and gamey taste. I loved to combine it with the cherries and the sauce that was very good. The broccoli spigarello was a nice touch that went well with it and I think it was the first time I tried this leafy green that is not really like broccoli rabe or even broccoli taste wise.
Last was dessert. As we were a bit hungry, we decided to order two that is fairly unusual, as we typically share one dessert, trying to be reasonable...The first one was the chocolate mousse, served with dark cherry, dark chocolate feuilletine and pistachio. I loved the feuilletine, but did not really like the dessert itself that was way too far from a chocolate mousse and so not what I really wanted...
However, the second dessert was fantastic: it was a grapefruit curd with a ginger Chantilly, a basil meringue and a pink peppercorn tulip. The plate looked beautiful and it was very creative. It made me think about what would a deconstructed lemon pie where the lemon would be replaced by the grapefruit would taste like. With a nice acidity, it was not too sweet and very addictive. I simply loved it and would recommend it!
Overall we had a very good dinner at Rouge Tomate Chelsea: the food was original and for the most part delicious, but I found the portions small considering the price of a meal there.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Rouge Tomate Chelsea - 126 W 18th St, New York, NY