There’s nothing like a rosy-red tomato bursting with flavorful, fleshy juice and the tangy sweetness of a summer garden. Whether you go with the to-MAY-to or to-MAH-to pronunciation, there’s no doubt now is the time to indulge as the red fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) is at the height of its season. Whether you prefer tomatoes in a salad, as a side, or as part of an entrée, you can’t go wrong with the following dishes.
There aren’t many places in Westchester where you can find fried green tomatoes. At Alvin & Friends Restaurant (49 Lawton St, New Rochelle 914-654-6549; alvinandfriends restaurant.com), the Country Caprese ($9) is a Southern food lover’s dream, comprising thick slices of green tomatoes (often sourced from the New Rochelle Farmers’ Market), which are breaded, fried, and stacked Napoleon-style. The tomatoes are seasoned with the restaurant’s own spice mix and topped with “drunken” (wine-soaked) goat cheese. Eat one and you may soon be beckoning the waiter with a “Hey, y’all.”
True, the focus at Burrata Wood Fired Pizza (425 White Plains Rd, Eastchester 914-337-3700; burratapizza.com) is pizza. But it’s also about sourcing the best local ingredients. Case in point: the simple burrata salad ($14), dotted with an array of colorful heirloom tomatoes in red, bright green, and purple, and drizzled with aged balsamic vinaigrette and topped with a fresh ball of burrata cheese.
Long Island beefsteak tomatoes take center stage at the newly renovated City Limits Diner (200 Central Ave, White Plains 914-686-9000; citylimitsdiner.com), where Chef Peter Assue puts them in an appetizer ($9.95) overflowing with feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onion, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and cracked black pepper. Even better: City Limits sells heirloom and plum tomatoes to go (depending on availability).
Talk about seasonal. At the summer pop-up tapas restaurant at Hastings Station Café (134 Southside Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson 914-478-8080) operated by Chef Eric Korn of Irvington-based Good-Life Gourmet, pan-roasted salmon is topped with a tomato-and-corn salad made with baby heirlooms, summer corn, fresh thyme, chopped parsley, sherry vinegar, and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and canola oil. The temporary restaurant is open every Thursday to Saturday from 5 to 11 pm through August.
For a summer classic with a twist, try the gazpacho de Andalusia ($7) at Fig & Olive (696 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale 914-725-2900; figandolive.com). Made with San Marzano tomatoes (equivalent to heirlooms), bell pepper, onion, cucumber, basil, pine nuts, olive oil, bread, and sherry vinegar, the dish is refreshing and packed with healthy ingredients—almost like a salad in a blender.
How can you go wrong with a summer salad highlighting the best of the tomato’s season? You can’t! Which is why the insalata panzanella ($13.50) at Lusardi’s (1885 Palmer Ave, Larchmont 914-834-5555; lusardislarchmont.com) featuring red, yellow, and purple heirlooms is a must-try on your tomato odyssey. It’s served with avocados, soy-infused vinaigrette dressing, and a touch of caciotta cheese. Choose an outdoor table and pair with a glass of Lusardi’s specially produced Sangiovese wine and you’ll wish summer could last forever.
Be prepared to fall in love with the tomato-and-string-bean-salad ($9.50) at MP Taverna (1 Bridge St, Irvington 914-231-7854; michaelpsilakis.com/mp-taverna). The vine-ripened goodness! The fresh mint! The sweet, simple combination of haricots vert, vinaigrette, feta, tomatoes, oregano, red onion, and torn herbs. The salad is Chef Michael Psilakis’s version of a Greek steakhouse salad, which easily can be tossed with steak or chicken.
Two of summer’s best flavors come together at Myong Gourmet (487 Main St, Mount Kisco 914-241-6333; plgourmet.com), where a local heirloom tomato is scooped out and filled with more than a pound of fresh Canadian cold-water lobster meat. A light dressing and subtle spices are mixed in with thin avocado slices surrounding the dish.
The heirloom tomato salad ($14) at Restaurant North (386 Main St, Armonk, 914-273-8686; restaurantnorth.com) is not your typical salad, but instead is a celebration of amazing tomatoes, all of which come from Sycamore Farms in Middletown, New York. The varieties include Green Zebra, Black Brandywine, Copia, Yellow Stripe, and Yellow Pear. It also features an arugula pesto, cinnamon, basil, and olive oil from Mount Etna in Sicily.
Like BLTs? Then you’ll enjoy the stuffed BLT ($10.95) at Sweet Grass Grill (24 Main St, Tarrytown 914-631-0000; sweetgrassgrill.com). The appetizer, which turns a simple tomato into a hearty dish, is made up of an heirloom tomato stuffed with croutons, heritage pork bacon, and local greens, and placed atop a basil aïoli.
Beefsteak tomatoes form the base of the tomato mozzarella Napoleon appetizer ($9) at Westchester Burger Company (106 Westchester Ave, White Plains 914-358-9399; 275 S Ridge St, Rye Brook 914-305-6095; 353 N Bedford Rd, Mount Kisco 914-218-3200; westchesterburger.com), a simple dish layered with panko-crusted fresh mozzarella, thick-sliced ripened tomatoes, and a pesto sauce olive oil balsamic glaze. It’s then topped with watercress.