Friday, September 11, 2009

Bistro 5: Heirloom Tomato Dinner

Fresh, heirloom tomatoes such as Brandywine, Green Zebra, Speckled Roman, and Organic Peach. Intriguing names, as well as intriguing tastes. The Organic Peach, above in the lower right hand corner, was new to me and it actually had a very slight fuzz on the skin.

Chef Vittorio Ettore of Bistro 5 in Medford (one of my favorite restaurants) is currently showcasing heirloom tomatoes this month in special dinners. You can opt for a Three Course Menu for $45 with Wine Pairing for an additional $18. Or select the Five Course Menu for $65 with Wine Pairing for an additional $22.

(And as a special discount for my readers, if you tell the restaurant that you saw my post about this dinner, you will receive 10% off your bill.)

Chef Ettore invited me to check out the new Heirloom Tomato dinner and it was an amazing meal. Please note that the menu is subject to change throughout the month, depending upon the availability of ingredients. So you may not get the exact dishes that I did, but I am sure they will be qualitatively similar.

The dinner began with Gazpacho accompanied by Yellow Brandywine sorbet, Jalapeño pasta & Scallop ceviche. At first, these different ingredients might seem to clash. Who would pair such items together on the same plate? Yet they meshed quite well, making this the most creative dish of the evening as well as one of the most delicious.

The sorbet was quite refreshing with a strong tomato flavor. There were plenty of thinly sliced pieces of tender scallop amidst the pasta, with just hints of spice from the jalapeno. The gazpacho itself was thinner in texture than other gazpachos I have had, almost a broth rather than the thicker and more full bodied soups you might be used to. But it certainly did not lack in flavor, and actually was a much lighter dish because of it. A nice way to begin a five course meal. The gazpacho burst with fresh tomato flavor, as well as hints of other veggies. Overall, this was a clean, fresh and tasty dish. Highly recommended.

The second course was Evoo Fried Green Tomatoes, with Green Zebra Tomatoes, Buffalo mozzarella & Opal basil pesto. Opal basil is also known as purple-leaf basil, due to the purply-red color of its leaves. The tomato had a very light, fried coating (maybe panko?), and the flavor of the tender tomato was enhanced by the crisp coating. The creamy mozzarella and pesto enhanced the dish, creating a great mix of flavors. I craved for more of the fried tomatoes so I knew this was another delicious course.

We moved onto a heartier course next, Braised Rabbit with Smoked Speckled Roman Tomato, Shaved parmigiano & Prosciutto. This was more of a rustic and wild dish, with lots of smoky and salty flavors, yet neither overwhelmed. The plentiful pieces of rabbit were very tender, blending well with the rest of the ingredients. The tomatoes were more in the background in this dish, yet they still stood out on their own with their smoky flavor.

Next up, Berkshire Pork Loin with Aussie Tomatoes, pickled ginger & Marinated eggplant. Again, the tomatoes took a back seat to the rest of the dish, yet they made a significant contribution to the flavor of the course. The pork was delicious, tender and with a touch of sweetness to it. Though I am not usually a fan of eggplant, this marinated eggplant was rather tasty.

We ended the evening with an Organic Peach Tomato Napoleon, with Basil yogurt gelato & Vanilla bean crème Anglaise. Another exceptional dish that really showcased the flavor of the tomato, though this tomato has some sweetness to it. From the delicate, crispy pastry layers to the creamy basil gelato, everything just worked well. That is even a bit of candied basil atop the gelato. It was a light dessert, perfect after the four previous courses.

The wine pairings were very good, especially the whites, a Chardonnay and Pinot Grigo, that accompanied the first two courses. Plus, service was impeccable. This was an excellent dinner, though I expected nothing less from this Chef. If you love tomatoes, or just good food, then I highly recommend you check out this special heirloom tomato dinner this month. And tell them the Passionate Foodie sent you.
5 Playstead Road
Medford, MA
Phone: 781-395-7464

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