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David Lissner
for restaurants

Chicago celebrates the tomato


Red, ripe and juicy … it’s the height of fresh tomato season, and local restaurants are celebrating.

  • At 2 Sparrows in Lincoln Park, Chef Gregory Ellis host a five-course tomato dinner at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, featuring an array of tomato varieties in an heirloom tomato salad with basil seed vinaigrette, shaved pecorino and frisee; ‘Sun Gold’ tomato gazpacho with summer succotash and blue crab; seared duck breast with cherry tomatoes, shaved turnips, celery root puree, and toasted pistachios; grilled pork tenderloin with roasted tomato risotto, spinach puree and foraged mushrooms; and tomato and peach mochi with Belgian beer and green tea. The dinner costs $50. Space is limited to 60 diners, and reservations require a credit card.

  • Carlucci in Downers Grove offers such tomato specials as tomato bisque soup with lobster crostini, $6.95; heirloom tomato salad with arugula and cucumber vinaigrette dressing, $8.95; tomato granita with heirloom tomato carpaccio and tomato caramel, fresh basil, $10.95; seared diver scallops, heirloom tomato ragu over pappardelle pasta, $24.95; and caramelized tomato tart with vanilla gelato, $5.95.

  • Throughout August, it’s Tomato Fest time at The Rosebud in Little Italy, Rosebud Steakhouse in Streeterville, Rosebud Prime and Rosebud Theater District in the Loop, Rosebud Trattoria in River North and Carmine’s on the Gold Coast, where a variety of tomato special will feature, as well as Rosebud’s signature square noodles in rich tomato-basil sauce.

  • Kanela in Lakeview’s August tomato specials include stuffed meatballs with fresh mozzarella in spicy tomato sauce, $8; flatbread with tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella, $10; and scallops tossed with corn, mushrooms, sugar-snap peas, fresh tomato and cream,15.

  • Burger Boss in Elmwood Park celebrates tomato season with the “BL Green T Burger,” made with applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, chipotle mayo, fried green tomatoes and beefsteak tomato slices all on a freshly toasted brioche bun, $5.69. Pair it with a peach shake, $3.50, through the end of August.

  • “Underground” Chicago chefs from Clandestino, Tuesday Night Dinner, Yo Soy and others collaborate on a tomato garden party at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, at The Convent, 1714 S. Racine Ave. in Pilsen. The chefs will prepare dishes from local tomatoes serve them with cocktail mixed with handmade craft spirits from Chicago’s Koval Distillery. Live music and silent auction also feature. The dinner benefits Mindful Medicine Worldwide, a nonprofit that brings healthcare to developing countries. Tickets are $75.