We're right in the sweet-spot of prime tomato-time, when all one really needs is a trip to the farmer's market and a great sauce recipe to keep you happily stirring away indoors in between vigils in front of a fan (we tend stick to the simple, rustic pleasures of Frankie's Spuntino's four-hour sauce). For those looking to get out and into a few lycopene-bombs made by a professional's hand, we see two tomato-centered menus popping up at AOC and Drago Centro, as well as new dishes being served at Bouchon and Lindy & Grundy that make the most out of their stashes of pommes d'amour. Come take a look at what's making these menus.
Ian Greslik, of Downtown's Drago Centro, is now offering a five-course tomato menu priced at $70 per person, featuring small plates starting on an heirloom salad with olive oil powder and bocconcino, and moving on to sand dabs with tomato water, cuttlefish, and orzo, plus rigatoni with pork bolognese and a smoked ricotta salad, a main course of New York streak with a tomato-crusted potato and olive puree, and ending on a chocolate budino with pistachios and tomato sorbet. Reservations are available at 213-228-8998.
Suzanne Goin's A.O.C. is also offering a five-course menu said to be dedicated to La Tomatina, that why-haven't-we-gone-yet festival where young folks bombard each other with tomatoes in Valencia. The restaurant could have considered letting someone throw a tomato or two, but instead is eschewing the mess for a five-course menu of Spanish-influenced tomato-based dishes for $50. The menu starts with appetizers of heirloom tomato bread served with cherry tomatoes and ricotta, yellow gazpacho, and crab-stuffed tomatoes, then moves on to wood-fired wild striped bass with tomato rice, roasted cherry tomatoes, and green olives, features a main course of veal meatballs with tomato confit, sun-dried tomatoes, and spiced tomato sauce, and ends with dessert of candied tomatoes with vanilla ice cream. Man, that all sounds good. If you agree, the menu is being served only on Wednesday, August 29 from 6:00 to 10:00 P.M., with reservations at 323-653-6359.
Lindy & Grundy are now offering a seasonal menu of dishes they're making at their state-of-the-art butcher shop, including a twelve-dollar chili made with fresh tomatoes and aromatics that the duo recommends putting atop hot dogs and burgers and the like. Available now at 801 N. Fairfax Ave.
Bouchon Bakery began celebrating its first b-day in L.A. yesterday, finding Thomas Keller's place adding birthday cake macarons, fresh lemonade, and a newly introduced canele. The bakery's reps also let us know that the menu now features an import from the Yountville location in the simple form of a tomato and brie sandwich with pepper and salt on a baguette flavored with vegetable stock that will be a permanent addition to the lunch menu going forward. Probably best to get it now before market tomatoes take their winter and spring rest.
Of course, these are just the tip of what we found in our mountain of PR pitches for you to feel-up, feel-up, but no doubt L.A.'s surfeit of market-driven restaurants are all reveling in one of the most delicious tastes of the summer. Wherever you go, enjoy the fruits of summer while they last.