The best tomatoes are the ones that grow in your own (or your neighbors’) garden. Fresh off the vine, served simply—sliced, with a touch of sea salt and a good olive oil—is best. If you want to get “red-and-juicy” at a local restaurant, try one of these tomato havens.
The Tap House (16 Depot Sq, Tuckahoe 914-337-6942; thetaphouseny.com) uses tomatoes wherever possible. Try the “PLT” with pancetta (instead of bacon) and basil mayo. Or try the summery Tuscan panzanella salad and/or a chilled yellow-tomato soup with basil and mascarpone.
At Valley Restaurant at The Garrison (2015 Rte 9, Garrison, 845-424-3604; thegarrison.com), co-chefs Brandon M. Collins and Vinny Mocarski feature a salad of local heirloom tomatoes with crispy Serrano ham, smoked mozzarella consommé, and basil oil. “People know where their food is coming from when we use local ingredients,” Collins says.
Chef Jeff Raider makes tomatoes No. 1 at One (One Bridge St, Irvington 914-591-2233; restaurantoneny.com). “I look forward to the summer months, when heirloom tomatoes are at their peak. I’m never disappointed with the quality.” Raider’s tomato dishes will include sliced heirloom tomatoes with pecorino and basil, spicy tomato gazpacho with mint and crabmeat, and a roasted tomato, arugula, and grilled calamari salad.
Leslie Lampert, proprietor of Cafe of Love (38 East Main St, Mount Kisco 914-242-1002; ladleoflove.com), loves heirloom tomatoes because of their earthiness and balance of sweetness and acidity. The heirloom tomato salad with toasted Israeli couscous is very simple: clean-sliced wedges, a sprinkle of sea salt, and just a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. “All combined, the salad says summertime,” Lampert says.
At BLT Steak (221 Main St, White Plains 914-467-5500; bltsteak.com), Laurent Tourondel likes “to take full advantage of heirloom tomatoes when they are in season. They remind me of the tomatoes that my grandmother used to grow in her garden.” He riffs on the classic steakhouse Caprese salad with a colorful toss of marinated tri-color baby tomatoes, burrata,
arugula, and black olives in a ginger-sherry vinaigrette, garnished with pretty chive blossoms.
// Judith Hausman