Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Tomato Salad

ht-saladThis time of year is my absolute favorite — and not just because the US Open is going on. Tomatoes are at the peak of their eating in the New York area (and elsewhere, too), and I’ve been indulging every chance I get at restaurants or when strolling through my garden and grabbing ’em off the vine. Perhaps the loveliest way to enjoy tomatoes when they are in their prime is in a simple salad. Panzanella is a personal preference (because, um, croutons!), but you’ll find a wide variety of styles of tomato salad at this time of year and interesting companions (Nectarines!) that bring out the best in each bite of tomato. Find out which are winning rave reviews from OpenTable diners.

Anson, Charleston, South Carolina: “The food was incredible, the atmosphere relaxed, and the service without fault. My husband and I enjoyed the house specialty pimento cheese ‘for the table’ followed by a salad of heirloom tomatoes, arugula, watermelon relish, and buttermilk dressing.”

Cafe Mahjaic-Lotus Inn, Lotus, California: “The fish tacos we had for an appetizer were probably the best I’ve ever had, and the tomato cucumber salad was delightful! ”

Cindy Pawlcyn’s Wood Grill & Wine Bar, St. Helena, California: “The heirloom tomato and melon salad was excellent and clever.”

Della Santina’s Trattoria, Sonoma, California: “It’s a good restaurant in terms of Italian menu options with some variations on California, like the heirloom tomato salad with white anchovies.”

Extra Virgin, Kansas City, Missouri: ” If you like tomatoes, you’ll love the seasonal items on the menu. The Missouri tomato salad with pesto sauce, the panzanella salad, and gazpacho were full of perfectly ripened tomatos. With a side of bread and ricotta cheese, we had a wonderful selection of late summer items to enjoy.”

Gramercy Grill, Vancouver, British Columbia: “My mom had the special tomato and bellini cheese salad and I had the endive with blue cheese salad and citrus dressing. Both were scrumptious.”

Local 121, Providence, Rhode Island: “The food was outstanding. The tomatoes in the heirloom tomato salad melted in your mouth.”

Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, Palo Alto, California: “A must on the menu is the heirloom tomato salad with burrata cheese. I’d go back for that for sure!!!”

* Mon Ami Gabi, Bethesda, Maryland: “This week featured the most fabulous heirloom tomato salad with the tomatoes purchased from the local farmers markets.”

Oak + Almond, Norwalk, Connecticut: “Love the menu and the decor here! Had the heirloom tomato and corn salad with an appetizer of warm nuts to start.”

* Oyster Club, Mystic, Connecticut: “For an appetizer, I chose the tomato and arugula salad with burrata cheese. The creamy cheese alongside farm fresh tomatoes, spicy arugula, and vinaigrette made for a fresh tasting, salad bursting with the flavors of summer.”

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Endless Summer: Do Diners Tire of Tomatoes and Other Seasonal Ingredients?

I was dining with a good friend recently, and as we looked over the menu, I noted that there was an heirloom tomato salad on it that I must try. I usually attempt to order something different than my tablemates, so I asked if he were interested in it. “No,” he said, “You get it. If I see another heirloom tomato, I’m going to throw up. I’m sick of them.” Mon dieu! I’d never imagined anyone could tire of fresh summer tomatoes — let alone be sickened by the thought of them.

You see, I’m a tomato junkie. I always order them when dining out. I even grow them. During the high season, I eat tomatoes every single day! To me, they are the best of summer’s bounty. Their aroma is as intoxicating as the sweet-acidity that packs every bite! And not only do they taste good, they are stunningly gorgeous. Okay, so, you get where I’m coming from: I’ve NEVER seen a tomato dish on a summer menu that doesn’t draw me in like a chocoholic to Ghirardelli Square. Still, I will consider that it’s possible that some diners get tired of the ubiquitousness of ingredients during a season’s denouement. After all, I have had chefs tell me part of the fun of seasonal cooking is that the ingredients start to shift just as their interest in them wanes.

So, tell me, diners, do you tire of any ingredients during certain seasons? Do spring ramps make you want to spring forward to summer? Do you get sick of sweet summer corn? Do squash blossoms drive you bonkers at some point? Share your thoughts in our comments section.