Kicking off the start of tomato season, Alobar, Jeff Blath’s nose-to-tail restaurant in Long Island City, Queens, is letting the red fruit loose with their Tomato Festival Menu, created by chef Ian Kapitan, formerly of Jo Jo, Vong, and Danube.
"What I like about tomato season is the versatility in working with tomatoes and the various preparations that you can do with them,” said Kapitan. “The most unusual preparation has probably been tomato water Jello. It throws your senses off until you figure out what it is."
Tomato gelatin won’t appear on the special menu, but there are at least six other tomato-based dishes to try, including an Algerian-style spicy tomato soup, roasted tomato ravioli with house-made ricotta and mushroom bacon broth, and tomato bread and jam. The restaurant also offers two drinks in honor of the festival: a tomato water martini and Bloody Mary’s with fresh-squeezed yellow tomatoes. The special menu runs from September 3 to 9 and $30 will get you two courses and a cocktail.
While tomatoes are the focus of that week, you can still order from the cozy restaurant’s regular menu, which features meaty dishes like country fried rabbit, maple bacon popcorn, Amish pig tails, and duck confit sloppy Joes. Plus, they have a great beer and wine list, creative cocktails like the Smoked Peach: a mezcal, jalapeño, and Cointreau drink. If you hit up Alobar on a Tuesday, you get the bonus of $8 whiskey drinks, bourbon flights, and appearances by various whiskey and bourbon distillers.