At Rouge Tomate, Silence is Golden
I heard the cocktails at Rouge Tomate, the new S.P.E. certified restaurant on East 60th were amazing. Where locally grown ingrediants are squeezed, pureed and doused in alcohol and a “healthy” cocktail is born. So when I visited on a random Wednesday I expected something more, um…exciting.
The gigantic space marveled me. Natural elements — wood, rainforest scene light panels, unisex bathrooms. Wow. I was greeted by not 1, not 2, not even 3 but 4 staff waiting at the top of the open staircase. The bi-level, 200 person restaurant also has a private dining room, a “cranberry pool”, which looked like someone dumped bulk cranberries from Cosco in a concrete mote.
The staff seemed somewhat stiff as did just about every patron in there. What it lacked in environment though, it made up for in delicious drinks. I had the Pear Crisp (yum!) and an apple something-or-another that was made with whiskey. If I liked whiskey, I may have loved it. They provided popcorn to snack on. Rowdy football fans at a too-familiar Brooklyn bar snack on similar tasting popcorn every Sunday, so… The scallops were eh. I couldn’t decide whether they were so supposed to be hot or cold. The Spanish Mackerel and Sweet Onion Flatbread was delicious enough to entice me to stay, and I would’ve been seated and eaten a full meal had the atmosphere not been so soporific I nodded off mid-sentence, nearly spilling my martini on the spotless cream leather.
It was painfully quiet, made worse by the fact that the tables were impossibly far away from one another. I read a review that called Rouge Tomate “sexy.” Unless you have soup cans and a string to whisper sweet nothings into your date’s ear from across the expansive tables, there will be nothing sexy about this cold, sterile restaurant. Downstairs seating is somewhat more intimate, but it’s still like trying to fall in love in a hospital hallway. Even on Grey’s Anatomy they go into the elevator.
Note: A regularly dressed, dare I say peasant-esque, female was either intensely reading or studying at the bar. Shhhhhhhhh.
The spacious lounge/café may, however, be the perfect place for Upper East Siders to rest their weary feet and shopping bags and have a drink after a long day of sale-scouring – being right across from Barney’s and all. A Pear Crisp would taste delicious with my next-to-nothing Jimmy Choos. Plus, you’ll feel less guilty paying for a pricey cocktail knowing that you’ve been saved by ubiquitous sales this holiday season. In the end, I hopped in a cab and headed downtown to dine. But should you seek solace after retail therapy, then by all means, knock your bamboo socks off
10 East 60th St, between Madison and Fifth
Open daily until 11 p.m. 646-237-8977
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