Tomato Pet Peeve
I can't understand why restaurants insist on refrigerating tomatoes. The first time I went to Naples I had a caprese salad which brought tears to my eyes. The room temperature tomatoes were bursting with flavor, the olive oil was delicious and the buffalo mozzarella? Unbelievable.
I ordered a caprese when I got back home and the cold tomatoes were tasteless and ruined the dish. Now I only eat a caprese at home. Living in Los Angeles I'm lucky because we get great tomatoes all year long at the farmers markets. I once brought one of those tomatoes to a friend's Italian restaurant and asked if the chef could make me a caprese using my own tomato. He did and it was great.
Why do we refrigerate? First, to reduce spoilage. Second, those pesky health dept. inspectors are completely, diametrically opposed to anything that would make food taste as it should. I'm just glad you found a chef that wasn't offended by the BYOT. I've done that for a customer before myself and it was hard not to play a switch on them; they were such good tomatos!