Award-winning architectural firm Bentel & Bentel has just unveiled Rouge Tomate, an ambitiously designed bi-level restaurant in midtown that's founded on the principal of S.P.E. (Sanitas Per Escam, Latin for Health Through Food). It's the first New York location of a Belgian chain started by a former Mercedes-Benz salesman. In keeping with the eco-friendly approach, executive chef Jeremy Bearman (L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas and db Bistro Moderne here in NYC) is committed to market-driven and locally sourced seasonal menus.
Bearman's got a different menu for each of the restaurant's two distinct spaces. On the ground floor, there's a 36-seat café, 30-seat lounge, and a 14-seat curved walnut and oak bar serving hand-crafted cocktails using house-made ginger ale, lemon-lime, and other sodas. And, of course, wines and spirits that emphasize organic and biodynamic producers. Downstairs you'll find seating for 100 guests, including six semi-private booths overlooking a shallow pool filled with cranberries and a private dining room that accommodates up to 16.
Appetizers include Nantucket Bay Scallop Tartar with Tsar Nicolai caviar and argan-yuzu vinaigrette; and Carrot Broth with black pearl tapioca and hints of curry. Entrees range from rice paper-wrapped Black Cod with Napa cabbage, crosnes and horseradish broth to tamari-glazed Grass-Fed Hanger Steak served with Bloomsdale spinach, mushroom marmalade and buttermilk-parsnip puree. Rouge Tomate is currently doing a three-course prix-fixe lunch ($34) in the street-level cafe and a three-course prix-fixe dinner ($72) in the downstairs dining room. It opened Tuesday, and Not Fine Dining has a very extensive review.
Rouge Tomate, 10 East 60th Street (between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue), (646) 237-8977