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"Hot Tomatoes" not so Hot


Restaurants & Bars 13

"Hot Tomatoes" not so Hot

Grita | Apr 12, 2007 07:16 AM

The people who own Carmen in the North End have recently opened a casual dining place on North St. where Di Mio used to be. This place was such a disappointment. My friend and I each ordered salads. We specifically chose this place because of the 10 specialty salads on the menu - we thought we were in for a real treat but we were wrong.

1) I ordered the equivalent of a tuna Nicoise salad called the "Jezebel". After leaving to place our order the waitress then came back to tell me they didn't have any fresh tuna. She suggested I have tuna salad instead. We all know that's not even close to fresh tuna.

2) I chose a completely different salad topped with what the menu referred to as "Grilled Jumbo Shrimp". What I received was the equivalent of cold shrimp scampi on top of my salad and the shrimp were all chopped up into bite size pieces. They were oily, garlicky and cold. I'm guessing this was what they use to top the shrimp pizza named "Bubba Gump Pie". These shrimp were not grilled or jumbo as advertised.

3) My friend had a salad topped with Grilled Chicken breast that was also chopped into the smallest pieces imaginable. In fact, everything was chopped up so ridiculously small - even the pieces of mozzarella, avocado and bacon.

4) There was hardly any dressing on the salads and the dressing that was there was completely bland. We each had to ask for an extra side of dressing.

5) The lettuce referred to as "mixed greens" on the menu was mostly iceberg. It was pale and browning on the edges. Yes, there were a few pieces of actual dark mixed greens in there and too much raddichio to be called mixed “Greens”.

6) The avocado on the salad was either frozen or so unripe that it was almost inedible. My friend bit into a piece and literally said "Oh my God, what was that?" She had to actually remove it from her mouth because it was so tough she could not chew it.

7) The presentation of the salads was not pretty and the ingredients did not taste fresh. Sadly, there was truly nothing enjoyable about these salads. We ate them because we were hungry but the whole time I kept apologizing to her for picking the restaurant.

The bill for 2 salads and 2 glasses of wine at this very casual place was $42 (with tip it came to $50). The place is overpriced for the quality of what they serve.
Here are a few other examples from the menu:
- the basic cheese pizza starts at $15.75
- pulled pork sandwich for $11.50
- salad with grilled chicken for $11.50
- Two hot dogs with chips & pickle for $8.50
- Roast beef sandwich $9.50

On the plus side, our server did bring us two complimentary chocolate chip cookies with the bill. They were a little hard but actually quite good. The best thing I ate at Hot Tomatoes all night actually. These positive things did not go unnoticed:
- The place is nicely decorated (lots of red)
- Great menu (large variety of pizza, sandwiches, salads soups) Perhaps too much variety. I’d say, stick to fewer items and make them better.
- They serve beer & wine and they pour a large glass of wine (although it was an $8 glass which is steep for a place like this)
- The pizza that I saw on other peoples tables looked really good
- Our server was friendly

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