Restaurant Review: The Tomato Café

Tomato Cafe

The Calamata Pizza, offered at the Tomato Café of Fishkill, NY. (Photo by Jac Bergenson)

By Jac Bergenson

Growing up, I used to love a place called the Plain & Fancy Deli. Nestled in the heart of Fishkill’s Main Street, the deli was the place to go for a good, meaty sandwich.

I cannot recall exactly how long ago, but a few years back the Plain & Fancy Deli closed and a little pizza shop called the Tomato Café took its place. My disappointment lasted only so long as I waited to try the new restaurant out.

The first time I ate at the Tomato Café was a few years ago, near when it opened. The first time I stepped in, I knew this wasn’t the average Italian fare; a cozy fore-dining room gives way to an industrial looking dining room in the back. With blacks, reds, and chalkboards all over the place, the Tomato Café didn’t give the same vibe as your typical mom & pop Italian shop. But it had an identity all its own.

I’ve come back to the Tomato Café a couple of times in the last few months, having heard that it made a reputation for itself for good food, and it hasn’t changed.  As if the owners knew they had a good thing when they started (they most likely did know), everything is as I remember it.

I sat down with my mind set on one of the pizzas. After all, they do have an extensive pizza menu with quite a few options that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. I settled on the Calamata Pizza, which gets its name from its signature ingredient: calamata olives. In theory, the pizza sounds like a Mediterranean paradise—what, with the olives, mozzarella cheese, tomato, garlic, and artichoke. Each bite was every bit as good as I had hoped. Calamata olives can be overpowering if used incorrectly, having an extremely salty flavor, but the pizza was perfectly balanced in its flavor.  Moreover, the crust was fantastic—both light and crispy.

My guest helped herself to the Chicken Sandoval, a pasta dish with chicken, mozzarella, spinach, and roasted red peppers. She added some calamata olives to hers as well, having had the dish before (and a fascination with calamata olives). As always, her plate was a hit—with well-balanced flavors, and showing the skill of the chefs, not overly saucy. There was just enough moisture to make the dish pop in flavor, but not enough to drown you on the way down, as is the case in many places.

I admittedly missed an opportunity by skipping out on a glass of wine; the Tomato Café seems to have added a wine list recently. They had some of the staples—Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir, for example—as well as a few varietals that I am personally a huge fan of, like Malbec (a red wine with a full body and a rich, non-acidic flavor), and a couple that I had never heard of before. Their wine list might attract a vinophile or two, by the looks of it.

Though it comes last in my review, it is certainly not the lowliest reason why I’ve returned to the Tomato Café more than a few times—the service is fantastic. It’s not as formal as it is friendly. I always see the same faces every time I go, and they’ve never given us a reason to complain. Though the food came out a little slower than usual, the server never gave me the impression that he wasn’t doing his best for us.

So it’s been a couple of successes to start the semester. The Tomato Café is a great spot to get some pizza, creative Italian food, or wow a date. I would dine here again (and again).

Verdict: 4.5/5

The Tomato Cafe

Where: 1123 Main St., Fishkill, NY

Hours: Mon-Thu, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sat, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Price Point: $10-$20 per entree

Telephone: 845-896-7779

Website: www.tomatocafefishkill.com

Notes: Outdoor seating available; brunch served