Dinner @ The Red Tomato (King West)

After a not-so-great dining experience at the Red Tomato (review here) during their pizza menu launch, I was invited to return with four friends to try their regular menu. I am so glad we accepted because this experience was significantly better.

My friends and I arrived for our 7PM dinner and we were promptly shown to our table. Our waiter immediately introduced himself and took our drink order. I was excited to see that they carry Innis & Gunn tall boys – my favorite and unusual to see in restaurants. Once our drink orders were taken, my friends and I discussed the menu and how we wanted to approach our dinner. I suggested that we each order an appetizer and a main, and share them – so that we can try as many of the menu items as possible. So that’s what we did. We each ordered a different appetizer and main, and passed it around, with each one of us taking a small portion of each.

This is what we ordered…

Appetizers

  • BAKED LOBSTER & CRAB SOUP
  • GUMBO SAUSAGE & CHICKEN WITH CORN BREAD
  • FRIED & SMOKED “JERK” CHICKEN WINGS
  • CRISPY COCONUT SHRIMPS WITH THAI DIPPING SAUCE
  • CALAMARI

What we loved…

The lobster and crab soup was our absolute favorite! It was creamy and aromatic with lobster and crab flavors well infused into the broth. I also loved that it came with phyllo pastry baked over the bowl. It made the process of digging into the soup very dramatic and a bit of a spectacle.

Our 2nd favorite was the gumbo! It was rich, well-balanced with just the right amount of spice, and the cornbread, though not appealing to look at, was flaky and buttery. Yeah, noticing a pattern here; they know how to make soups! Which, I must say, I find pretty damn impressive since from my experience, infusing deep flavor into a soup is not an easy task!

Both the calamari and shrimp were tasty, but I was not a huge fan of the batter and the seasoning – I personally found the two a tad bland and overly battered.

What we did not love so much…

Our least favorite were the wings. Unlike the soups, the wings tasted like the seasoning and flavor was superficial, and not absorbed into the meat. The wings tasted bland and incomplete. I also felt that with a side of rice, the dish would have improved since they were bulky and awkward to eat on their own. But then again, if you add rice, then they are no longer a starter. Hmm

Mains

  • MUSHROOM AGNOLOTTI WITH MUSHROOM TRUFFLE BUTTER SAUCE
  • JALAPENO LINGUINE CHICKEN ‘CALYPSO” WITH MUSHROOMS, SUNDRIED TOMATOES, WHITE WINE JERK CREAM SAUCE
  • GARLIC SHRIMP ANGER HAIR PASTA MARINARA
  • MEATBALL GNOCCHI
  • PORK BELLY PIZZA (no longer on their menu)

What we loved…

The angel hair pasta with the garlic shrimps! Hands down the best main! The pasta was cooked to perfection – not soggy and not tough. The shrimps were plump and juicy, and the sauce was creamy and well-seasoned. To be honest, I hated having to share it. 😦

My second favorite was the meatball gnocchi. The gnocchi was also cooked well (too often I find they are too soggy and cloggy-tasting) and the meatballs were placed on a delicious rich red tomato sauce that helped them stay nice and moist.

A dish that my friends really enjoyed but I didn’t was the mushroom agnolotti. I love mushrooms, just not as a filling. That’s just a personal preference, but that said, and to be fair, my friends really enjoyed this dish.

What we did not love so much…

Our least favorite pasta was the linguine with the jerk sauce. The jerk sauce just did not work for us. I am not sure I understand why this restaurant is so adamant about using jerk seasoning. It’s not working! In fact, this was the only pasta dish we could not finish. Imagine a brown sauce meeting a cream sauce resulting in a brownish mess on top of pasta.  And then to your horror, the two hate each other and the poor pasta and chicken are the victims of this disaster. So very sad.

The other item we could not finish was the pizza. But there is no point discussing it since it’s no longer on the menu, and if you read my earlier post on the pizza menu launch, you will see that I was never a fan of their pizzas to begin with.

Desserts

  • CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
  • CREME BRULEE
  • BREAD PUDDING

What we loved…

We loved all three desserts, but being a bread pudding lover, my expectations were set high! And they delivered! The bread pudding was not soggy, yet creamy, and not overly sweet. Good texture, and just the right amount of sweetness – score! Oh, and I can’t forget the caramel sauce! Who does not love caramel?!

The creme brulee was creamy with a nice and crispy sugar-coating that we enjoyed cracking.

The chocolate mousse was rich and the combination of light and dark chocolate was a nice touch – not everyone loves dark bitter chocolate.

In sum…

My friends and I had a fantastic experience at The Red Tomato. For me in particular, I was relieved to see that they were able to overcome and repair my last experience there. The service was on-point, the food mostly did not disappoint – amazing bisque, gumbo, angel hair pasta, meatballs, and desserts – and the vibe was relaxing and friendly. For these reason I suggest you give them a try. Though I would stay away from any menu item with the word “jerk” in it.

P.S. I don’t have anything against jerk spices. In fact, I love it! When done right.

Check out the food! …

Thank you to the Red Tomato team for taking good care of my friends and I! Hope to see you all again soon!

xo

‘Till next time!

The Red Tomato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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