Since my foodie friend, Beth, offered to take me out for my birthday, it meant I got to try , which had been at the top of my list after hearing so many good things about it. Better yet, Beth promised that I could order cheese!
Mad Tomato had nine different cheeses to select from so it was hard to pick between my local favorites such as Baetje Farms or to go with something Italian to keep with the theme of the evening. Luckily, I was allowed to pick a few so I went with the Alpine from Marcoot Jersey Creamery, the Widmer 6 year aged Cheddar from Wisconsin, and then a firm goat cheese from Italy.
Next course was the appetizers and you could definitely make a meal from them because there are so many to choose from. We selected the Calabrese Olives and the Abruzzese Prosciutto di Parma Salumi, which provided a salty break in between bites of cheese.
I was about to order Grandma’s Eggplant, but it was explained to me that this was not the eggplant parmesan that I am used to so instead I went with another all-time favorite: Ricotta Gnocchi. Super rich, cheesy and creamy.
My friends ordered the Fettuccine-Gulf Shrimp and it’s strange to taste fettuccine in a tomato sauce instead of the traditional alfredo, but this was a much lighter pasta and I really enjoyed the huge chunks of shrimp in every bite.
The other item I highly recommend is the pizza as they have their own brick oven on site. I had a couple of pieces of the Funghi pizza which came with mozzarella and arugula as well as the mushrooms. I probably should have requested black olives on it to make it perfect, but instead, I tried it with a fried egg on top for the first time and it’s a great combination!
My friends weren’t as lucky as their pizza came out burnt and had to be replaced. Since the pizza is thin crust, it really didn’t go so well as leftovers either.
As the person with the birthday, I had the added pressure of picking out the wines for the table but I immediately knew that I wanted a Barbera, which is sometimes called the “Italian Pinot.” This way everyone could have red that was not too dry and the 2008 RioFava Barbera from Piedmont had a strong, fruity finish. The first bottle went quick and I wasn’t quite ready to order a second one so luckily I had some help picking a red that would be a little stronger for the main course. I still really wanted an Italian wine as well so we settled on the 2008 Argianno Super Tuscan. I don’t think you can go wrong with a wine that has “Super” in the name!
I really appreciated our waiter because I asked him a lot of questions about the cheese and the wine and it can’t be easy to be an expert in everything, but I was very happy with all of his recommendations. And since it was my birthday he was kind enough to bring us Tiramisu for dessert along with a strawberry mojito in a cute, little aperitif glass!
Mad Tomato = http://www.madtomatostl.com/