Mad Tomato Review

Sharpness and Warmness: The Happy Medium of Both at Clayton’s Mad Tomato

By: Tara Williams

Mad Tomato, an Italian restaurant located in downtown Clayton, offers customers a wide variety of traditional Italian food with some American flare. The restaurant itself is decorated thoughtfully with wine shelves behind the bar and art-décor paintings covering the walls. A single nutcracker sat in the middle of the wine shelf and a warm hearth fire sizzled nearby, offsetting the sharp and clean lines that the room brought upon itself. The ambiance was casual and inviting, and the server that attended to us shortly upon our arrival was lively and friendly. Her suggestions for our orders helped narrow down our meal selections of the night. We ordered the calamari, Pasta Puttanesca, and the featured dish of the restaurant, toasted ravioli. We also order the Funghi Pizza, which showcased their featured ingredient of wild Ozark Forest Mushrooms.

The first dish to arrive was the calamari. Much to my surprise, the dish was served alongside banana peppers. I meticulously picked at one calamari while my father tried it, jokingly telling me that “I wouldn’t like it,”. I considered this a challenge, and hastily forked the food into my mouth. The salty and fatty flavors of the calamari were balanced with the sharpness of the banana peppers, much like the décor of the place. The flavors swirled in my mouth, and to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the two flavors together. I suddenly felt like Remy the Mouse, from Disney’s, Ratatouille.

The next dish was the toasted ravioli, the restaurant’s featured dish. When the plate arrived I inhaled the warm wafts of air radiating from the dish, reminding me of home. The Toasted Ravioli, considered a delicacy in St. Louis, was everything that I hoped it would be. The crispiness of the shell and the seasoning was perfectly balanced with the soft filling of the ravioli. The next dish was the Pasta Puttanesca. I admired the colorful dish, sporting the colors of red, green, yellow, and brown. The pasta was homemade, which I observed by looking at it. The imperfections of the pasta; the bumps and clumps, the holes and the unmanufactured lengths of each strand was everything that made the dish.  The sauce was tangy and sweet, with quite a kick of chili, proving that the chef could create a fantastic and truly authentic Italian dish. Our final dish was the Funghi Pizze. When it arrived at our table, I felt as though I was bursting at the seams. The fumes of the pizza, however, made me drool, and I was enticed and invited by the pizza for me to take one bite. I did, and an explosion of different flavors erupted in my mouth all at once. The fungi were very unique tasting and exquisite with the spice of the arugula. My last bite was one of the warm and glutinous dough of the pizza and the sharpness of the cheese sprinkled on top. This bite was the intersection of sharpness and warm undertones, as was the spirit of the pleasant restaurant.

Mad Tomato, is the fusion of, American and Italian cuisine, homeliness and hipness, sugar and spice, and everything nice.