Friday, January 27

going mad

As another St. Louis-area Restaurant Week rolled around, I knew it could only mean one thing: free dinner with my mom. This year I selected the Mad Tomato at the corner of Carondelet and Meramec in Clayton.  I had been wanting to try the place for quite a while now, particularly since it has the same owners as South City's Onesto.

I arrived around 5:30 (15 minutes earlier than our reservation) and the place was bare.  We of course didn't want to be the only ones eating, so we hunkered on up to the bar.  The bartender (and the nice lady from the Chamber of Commerce who saddled up next to us) made for nice conversation as we sipped our reds.  We, however, experienced a bit of sticker shock as we settled our tab at the bar.  Perhaps it's because we are cheap frugal, but $22 dollars for two glasses of wine was not what we were expecting.

Despite that, we sat down and promptly ordered two more glasses (hey, the 'Restaurant Week' specials were only $7 per glass). We placed our order and were soon  handed house made focaccia.  The bread was excellent - crispy outer edge, with a soft slightly cheesy, slightly saucy inside.  Yum, yum, yum - a perfect start to the meal. 

For my first course, I went with the minestrone.  It was a solid choice - beefy broth, a touch on the thick side and perfectly seasoned.  Nothing to dance around in circles about, but a good first course nonetheless. 

I went with The Other Grandma's Eggplant for my main course.  It was a bit like an eggplant lasagna - a stack of thin sliced eggplant layered with cheese, tomatoes, garlic and basil all broiled in an individual pan.  The basil really shone through the otherwise mild sauce, giving it a great flavor.  The only real downfall was the amount of cheese - it sort of took over the dish and was so thick, there were bites I wasn't sure if it was eggplant or a hunk of cheese.  Perhaps the Original Grandma's eggplant would have less cheese? Either way, still an enjoyable dish. 

And then came the dessert....

Holy cow, the dessert was amazing.  I would have paid $25 alone for it.

Lemon and Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Warm Apple Compote.  The cake itself was airy - and had just a touch of sweetness poking through the tangy flavors. And the apple compote gave it just the right boost of sweetness, along with adding a touch of warmth to a cool plate.  It was simply perfect.  Plus the syrup from the apple compote was done in a swirly pattern - and hey, who doesn't like swirlies?  This was by far the second-best desert I have ever had (shout out to NYC's Lupa and its Lupa Tartufo), and I am really not a dessert person.  DEE. LISH. US.

Mad Tomato on Urbanspoon

bottom line: i cannot wait to go back and explore more of the menu.  and eat another five pieces of that cheesecake.