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I’m always on the lookout for restaurants that embody the same food philosophy as my own kitchen – respect for the body, respect for the food, respect for the planet. The truth is, you can’t separate those three elements. There is no delicious and healthy food without locally sourced and responsibly grown ingredients. Throw beautiful surroundings to the mix and I’m in heaven. And so I was thrilled to share a great meal with 3 girlfriends last week in Manhattan at a restaurant that was new to me even though it has been around for several years. Recommended by the lovely Claudia Hanlin of The Wedding Library (read about The Wedding Library tomorrow) it was exactly what four girls needed at the end of a busy day.

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Rouge Tomate on 60th Street (between 5th and Madison) is a beautifully designed space with food that is as delicious as it is good for you! Creations of Executive Chef Jeremy Bearman and Pastry Chef (and boy, did we have some pastry!) James Distefano are mouth-watering.

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We started by sharing Housemade Falafel, which was perfectly seasoned, wonderfully moist and came with two delicious sides: Cucumber Raita and Spring Onion Jam. I enjoyed Atlantic Fluke Ceviche followed by Upstate Farm Lettuces and Fresh Herbs. Rouge Tomate an extensive wine list with many organic and biodynamic options. My choice: 2010 Riesling, Hermann J. Wiemer from Finger Lakes – fresh and crisp. Check out their menus and wine & cocktail lists here.

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Oh, I forgot to say that there is a legitimate reason to say that the food at Rouge Tomate is not only declicious but also “good for you”. Their seasonally inspired culinary offerings rely heavily on locally sourced ingredients and are prepared in consultation with their own culinary nutritionist Kristy Lambrou. The food sourcing and preparation follows the guidelines of SPE (Sanitas Per Escam = Health Through Food), an organization promoting chefs and dietitians working together.

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Rouge Tomate is a member of Green Restaurant Association and is dedicated to implement and promote environmental solutions through all aspects of their business: “reducing its carbon imprint by choosing ecological materials made from recycled or recyclable elements; using Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood for floor and furniture; using energy-efficient equipment such as ovens, refrigerators and lighting systems; separating waste and composting all food items and appropriate materials; giving preference to local and seasonal products; buying meats and poultry from farmers who feed animals with local plants; and featuring wines by viticulturists who follow organic and biodynamic principles.”

Now to design, which is serene but modern and corresponds beautifully with the creative, simple and well balanced menu (created by architectural firm of Bentel & Bentel):

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