I later forgot about the Groupon until December, when I was surprised with it as a Christmas gift. Since its expiration is approaching in March, I nailed down a night for us to use it. Upon arrival, we were led up to the top floor, which features a balcony overlooking the larger second floor seating area. It was fairly empty upon arrival, but it was packed by the time we left- looks like they have had no trouble bringing in business.
|Second and third floors Source|
|Testing out his new iPhone camera|
Served over a bed of arugula and a small pool of lemon-scented aoili, it was kind of a mini-salad. The frying process gave the 'chokes a super soft texture without ruining their subtle flavor- even my veggie-avoider enjoyed a piece.
His addition to the table was an order of the Kobe Sliders ($8.99), which come as two mini burgers, each with different toppings. The mini grilled brioche buns and the melt-in-your mouth, buttery meat would have been beautiful all on their own, but they also paired well with both a grilled portobello + truffle oil combination as well as the guacamole + pepper jack topping.
|Left: Guacamole Right: Portobello|
As our small plates were cleared, our waitress brought out the salad portion of the meal. Their salads are meals in themselves, and even though I picked one of the lighter options, the Goat Cheese Salad, it was impossible to finish ($9.99). A huge pile of spicy arugula (thankfully I love it, after the artichoke dish) was nestled in a bowl with a blanket of dried cranberries and huge bits of salty bacon, all of which was sprinkled with a brown butter-dijon dressing. I usually hate typical restaurant heavy-handed dressing applications, but this was light enough in flavor to not drown the greens. Three crunchy balls of fried goat cheese were obviously the highlight of the show-- goat cheese + deep fried shell = what's not to love?
|Goat Cheese Salad + Unnecessary Breadstick|
The pizzas are well sized for two to split for dinner (salad + pizza for two would be perfect), or would be great split with a small group for a snack during a Main Street shopping trip- the Tomato Bistro is open at 11AM every day of the week.
Our final bite of the night was dessert. We were given three options: creme brulee, flourless chocolate cake, or cheesecake. It was a no-brainer since we both love cheesecake. The rendition here seemed more or less homemade (it's sort of hard for me to tell!), with a dense graham cracker crust and a smooth, creamy filling. The swirls of overly sweet chocolate syrup was a distraction at best, but easily avoided.
Overall, our meal at the Tomato Bistro was just what I wanted- a relaxed atmosphere, relatively quiet but with a fun vibe (I could see it getting a little crazier later at night), solid eats with plenty of menu variety for the picky to the adventurous. Especially with our Groupon, it was incredibly well-priced. On a future visit, I would definitely cut down the number of dishes, making it even more affordable as a date spot.
The Tomato Bistro
102 Rector Street