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Hot Tomato's - disappointing

w
Waquoit Oct 26, 2011 04:39 PM

Weird night at Hot Tomato's in Hartford last week. We hadn't been in years due to a couple of less than satisfing visits in the past. We chose HT that night because I read about the return of a former chef and thought we would give the place another chance. Everything we ordered was off, some worse than others. We started with the Pasta Pillows. Pillow connotates soft. The sweet potato filling was not soft, it was hard, one was almost crunchy inside.

I was hoping they had the Giobatto. They did it was billed as the "Original" Giobatto. They even had the name of DiFiore pasta in bold on the menu. It wasn't quite the original but it was pretty good, except for the pasta. I don't remember the pappardelle pasta all stuck together before like this was. Clumps stuck to the bottom of the bowl and clumps of 4 and 5 noodles stuck together throughout. My girlfriend had the osso bucco . I thought she had to do too much trimming before she started to eat. She said the flavor was okay but she wasn't expecting it to be so tough.

Then it got a little weird. One of the staff came over and asked us how everything was. I didn't want to get into it, but he picked up on the fact she didn't eat most of the osso bucco and started pressing the issue. She mentioned that it tasted good but was too tough. He asked if we wanted him to take it off the bill. We hemmed and hawed then he said he would take it off. Then he mentioned that if we wanted good osso bucco we should go to this place in Southington (whose name escapes me). I'm thinking to myself, "Now you tell me, I thought we would get good osso bucco here."

When he comes back he says, "I didn't take the osso bucco off but I willl treat you to dessert." What was up with that? Thanks but no thanks, It was time for us to leave. I left feeling badly. I still remember my first visit to Hot Tomato's, it was awesome. I had many fine meals there, but those days are long gone apparently.

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Hot Tomato's
1 Union Pl, Hartford, CT 06103

  1. s
    sbxstr Oct 29, 2011 11:18 AM

    Anyone remember the original Hot Tomato's -- it was a little hole in the wall on Ann Street around the corner from the Civic Center. First had Giobatto there I'm guessing in the late '70's.My wife did a pretty good job of re-engineering the recipe and has made it since then. Had it last night in fact.

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    Hot Tomato's
    1 Union Pl, Hartford, CT 06103

    3 Replies
    1. re: sbxstr
      r
      riffjamer Oct 31, 2011 06:06 PM

      I remember the original Hot Tomatos on Ann St. I went there a number of times and it was always great.
      I think you're right about the late 70's.

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      Hot Tomato's
      1 Union Pl, Hartford, CT 06103

      1. re: riffjamer
        r
        Rusticfood Nov 2, 2011 04:59 AM

        I was the sous chef & chef at Hot Tomatos in New Haven between 1985-1988. Those recipes are burned into my brain - ask me anything

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        Hot Tomato's
        1 Union Pl, Hartford, CT 06103

      2. re: sbxstr
        f
        FoodieJim Nov 2, 2011 12:20 PM

        Yes. It started out where "Tapas on Ann" is now. Then it moved to a "stand alone" building on Asylum, (which later became a BBQ place, and then was torn down for parking), and then moved to the train station.

      3. f
        FoodieJim Oct 28, 2011 07:44 PM

        "I still remember my first visit to Hot Tomato's, it was awesome. I had many fine meals there, but those days are long gone apparently."

        After HT closed and then re-opened, there really wasn't anything left of the original except for the name. In fact, Salute has far more in common with HT than HT. The current iteration of HT is souless, and the food is hard to recommend. I doubt it will last much longer. Too bad. But if you harbor memories of HT in its heyday (when you needed to buy a $100 preferred customer card to get a prime time reservation), you will be sadly disappointed with the current version. There is nothing left from that era. Nice TV behind the bar, though. I'll give them that.

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        Hot Tomato's
        1 Union Pl, Hartford, CT 06103

        1. c
          chowmensch Oct 26, 2011 05:30 PM

          Not sure who the HT guy was referring to when he recommended a good osso bucco in Southington (maybe Cava?) but Piccolo Arancio in Farmington has one of the best osso buccos in the area.

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          Piccolo Arancio
          819 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06032

          Cava Restaurant
          1615 West St, Southington, CT 06489

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