WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
A colorful, pleasantly grubby, small cafe serving Americanized Mexican food and a good bit of Italian and New Orleans cooking, too. The Blue Tomato has a strong following among people who live and work in Old Jefferson and Elmwood. It’s more about low prices and big portions than excellence–but those criteria draw big crowds.
If what you want is an enormous platter of nachos covered with everything but the kitchen sink, slabs of grilled fish, a big hamburger, or a big salad, all at a very low price, this is the place for you. If you’re looking for the fine points, this is not the place to look. However, the menu has shown signs of enhancement lately.
The building is a former Time Saver store (I worked in it for about three years when I was in high school). It opened as the Blue Tomato in the early 2000s. Hurricane Isaac ripped up the roof, and the restaurant was closed briefly in 2012, but is back again more or less as it had been.
Although the layout is a rectangle, the tables seem to be randomly placed, which along with the wild Mexican decorations makes for a kicky environment.
Artichoke and spinach dip
Beef and bean dip
Chips, guacamole and salsa
»Garbage can nachos
Taco salad (beef, steak or chicken)
Grilled or Italian shrimp salad
Grilled chicken salad
Quesadillas (cheese, beef, pork, shrimp, chicken, artichoke-spinach, or veggie)
»Grilled fish quesadillas or tacos
Tacos with beans and rice
Marinated grilled chicken
Tequila-lime or mango chicken
Grilled yellowfin tuna, ranchero or mango salsa
Tamale platter (pork or beef)
»Sesame Thai grilled tuna
Seared sashimi tuna, grilled shrimp and artichokes
Grilled fish bearnaise
Meatballs and spaghetti
»Carnitas (Cuban roasted pork)
Shrimp and eggplant parmesan
Burrito (beef, pork, steak or chicken)
Fajitas (steak or chicken)
Enchiladas combo (beef, pork, steak or chicken)
Meatball with mozzarella
»Pulled or barbecue pork
Torta de carnitas (Mexican pork poor boy)
Hot chocolate chunk brownie with ice cream
FOR BEST RESULTS
Avoid busy times; there’s not nearly enough parking and there’s only a little space at the bar to wait.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The service staff and the clean-up crew could pay quite a bit more attention to details.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment -1
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- No reservations