It's Time for Tomato Salads and Strawberry Daiquiris in New York
Reviewing the top summertime tomato dishes at Superiority Burger, Bread & Salt, Ursula, and Claud
I’m just gonna say it: Our weather this year is wild and we should all be eating as many tomatoes as our bodies will allow before the earth erupts into a fiery mass of fossil fuels, lithium ion batteries, and pivot-to-video PowerPoint decks. Or more realistically, let’s take advantage of tomato season before we’re all stuck with a bunch of watery BLTs in October.
So my first piece of advice is this: If you see a tomato special at any reputable establishment, you should order it. If it’s good, you win. If it’s bad, you probably didn’t spend $900, so you can afford try another one somewhere else.
My second piece of advice is to sample any or all of these five tomato dishes below. To keep the mood nice and chill, I also threw a frozen cocktail into the mix. Most of these are seasonal, but some of them are not! Either way, it’s a scientific fact that tomatoes are more fun to eat in the summer.
Ursula’s fried green tomato sandwich
Members of the Central Food Writing Committee will tell you all that you should be consuming and photographing ripe tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches as much as possible in July and August. They’re not wrong, but allow me to suggest something a little bit different.
Eric See’s newly relocated Urusula, a New Mexican joint famous for its chile-spiked breakfast burritos (and inclusive, community-focused ethos), makes a damn fine fried green tomato sandwich ($16). The kitchen seasons the cornmeal-crusted fruit with a blend of chile powder, garlic, and smoked paprika, then places it on a a yeasted sourdough Pullman roll with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and vegan aioli. Take a bite and enjoy the warm, tart crunch; the musky spice rub; and the soft bread. I could eat two of these for lunch on a hot day. 387A Nostrand Avenue, Near Madison Street, Bed Stuy
Tatiana’s Miami Vice
It’s not uncommon for a fine-dining service captain to inquire whether you’d like to kick off a tasting menu with a glass of Champagne or an apertif. But at Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi, a chic and subversive restaurant that overlooks the Metropolitan Opera, a waiter hands you a cocktail list that includes fancy Jell-O shots, piña coladas, and strawberry daiquiris.
Order a combination swirl of the last two drinks — a Miami Vice — and within minutes a staffer will ferry over a frosty glass that looks like a serving of vanilla ice cream laced with strawberry puree. The colada glides across your tongue with its creamy coconut slush, before the fragrant daiquiri steps in check all the sugars with a zap of garden acidity. If you’re test driving Onwuachi’s excellent egusi crab dumplings (with maybe a hint of hot sauce), the Miami Vice will tame the oceanic aromas (and heat) quite nicely.
Every couple of years, I’ll ask a server at a nice spot for a classic daiquiri, and they’ll respond with some variant of “I’m sorry, this isn’t that type of place,” as if I just requested something that glows red and that’s served in a plastic souvenir cup. But what if a strawberry daiquiri is precisely what folks want at a splurge-y spot, because it’s nice to be inspired and surprised by familiar things, and because this frozen concoction can pair as well with good food as Champagne or martinis? Then again, I suppose not all ambitious spots want to be as bustling and awesome as Tatiana. 10 Lincoln Center Plaza at David Geffen Hall, Upper West Side