H Ntomata (The Tomato)

When I heard that one of the restaurants we would be dining at was called “Tomato”, I thought it to be be rather boring. Upon reading Chrisanthos Karamolengkos’ bio and his notoriety for playing with Greek classics, I had no idea that he would also show us his love of the tomato by using the ingredient in almost every coarse that was served to us last night.

Our evening commenced with a platter of grilled bread that was accompanied by a bowl of olive oil, fleur de sel and dried tomato ‘dust’. The recommendation was to drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle the tomato dust and some sea salt if desired. Remarkable…I must try making tomato dust!

Next up was some smoked mackerel fillets that were topped with sweet cherry tomatoes. These were naturally sweet, roasted or poached to concentrate the tomato’s natural sweetness and everyone adored this course.

The next course was also centered around fish but this time it was lavraki…the European sea bass which was served ceviche-style with citrus and a sweetened olive. This was the lone dish that did not contain any tomato.

Next up was some succulent King crab dipped in batter and fried. Simple enough but these were served with croquettes made of peas, fava and split peas and….three different sauces for dipping. Yes, one of the sauces contained tomato!

A classic in Greek cuisine is Shrimp Saganaki. Here, chef Chrisanthos sauteed the shrimp and laid them on a bed of soft Feta cheese and finished with a tomato water…the essence of tomato’s flavour.

Our main course finally arrived. It would be a tender lamb souvlaki made of lean lamb loin that was marinated in pomegranate juice and served with a salad of pomegranate, orange and mint.Dessert contained tomatoes! Sweet tomatoes that were reminiscent of ripe cherries. The dessert consisted of a Szechuan pepper ice cream, chocolate mousse and the tomato spoon sweet. Everyone at the table was in awe of this creative, delcious and eye-catching dessert.

Here’s a group photo of most of the bloggers that were invited to Sani Gourmet Fest and also included in the photo are two brothers who are both sommeliers of note from Athens and one of the female sommeliers we friended during our stay.

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© 2007-2011 Peter Minakis

© 2011,
Peter Minakis

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6 Comments for “H Ntomata (The Tomato)”

says:

You know, my old car (before it got totaled by a Prius on the 405 – massive 10 lane HWY in LA) was called NTOMATA. What an interesting place – and I hope you do make tomato dust (and share the recipe). I would love to try that dessert!

says:

A French blogger, Domi (his blog is called Domi cuisine pour vos yeux) shows how to make food dust (he’s got eggplant, peas, and other veggies); this sounds like a fun time with interesting people.

says:

[…] At Fryni, the onions were slit and blanched and as soon as the onions cooled, the layers were peeled away then filled with a spoonful of cheese and rolled up. I first stuffed onions earlier this year to make these sublime onion dolmades. Only knowing this meze as being a cheese-filled onion, I began flipping through some of my Greek cookbooks and I found one very similar in Diane Kochilas’ “The Greek Vegetarian“. This book includes a rendition by Chef Chrisanthos Karamolengos – a chef I had the pleasure of meeting this past May at the Sani Gourmet Festival. […]