Food vibrant in spice and flavor inside of a bland building
August 5, 2020
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for local produce
One of the best things about this time of year is the abundance of fresh, local tomatoes in dishes on restaurant menus. Any other year, tomato pie would be making appearances at restaurants across town. There are many delicious dishes showcasing the juicy red ‘mater, however. Here are some of the standouts. —Kristen Wile
‘Mata Pie, Leah & Louise
Usually this time of year, you’d be seeing tomato pie all over the city. The dish is a labor of love, however, and with kitchens operating with the minimum staff, there are few to be found. Leah & Louise, the much-anticipated restaurant from Greg and Subrina Collier, is serving a bread pudding inspired by tomato pie, with smoked mushroom pickles, tilefish bacon, and an herb salad.
Heirloom Tomato Salad, Haymaker
When ingredients are this good, sometimes simple is best. Chef William Dissen’s heirloom tomato salad is a reflection of the season, made with local tomatoes, cucumbers and marinated summer squash. Corn, herbs, and olive oil finish off the dish.
Tomato Pie, Kindred
You can depend on Joe Kindred to present one of the city’s only menus featuring tomato pie. His tomato pie is the classic, with juicy tomatoes, cheese, and a crispy crust paying homage to the best harvests of summer.
Panzanella, Aqua e Vino
This small Italian restaurant in Strawberry Hill is as traditional Italian as you can find in Charlotte. The panzanella salad offered this time of year is just as traditional: tomatoes, cucumber, sweet onion, basil, and croutons.
Avocado BLT, 300 East
The best tomatoes of the season also make for the best BLTs of the year. Whole wheat sourdough bread holds Heritage Farms bacon, locally sourced tomatoes and lettuce, and mayo.
Early tomato soup, Peppervine
Peppervine reopens this week after a closure to sterilize and test staff following positive Covid-19 diagnoses among employees. Chef Bill Greene is known for his use of seasonal ingredients, and his tomato soup combines tomatoes with another flavor of summer: fennel.
Spring Gazpacho, Bonterra
Soup isn’t only for winter. Tomato season brings this cool offering from Bonterra, a classic soup that uses Roma tomatoes.
Ricotta Salad, The Stanley
The Stanley isn’t a restaurant to stick to the traditional. The menu changes frequently, but a ricotta salad with tomatoes, melon, marigold, and basil paired with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses brings a fresh combination of seasonal ingredients.