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About Our Wine Dinners

Our guest speakers all have a direct hand in the wine-making process. We only invite the owner, winemaker, or general manager to speak to us, never a salesman or the regional sales manager of a wholesale company etc., etc.

Not that there aren't some great people in that end of the business. We just like to use our long-standing relationships to bring you some insight right from the source. We are honored that these folks think so much of us as to make us a premier venue for this sort of thing.

Wine is about people. Wine is about dining. Wine is food.

Wine is about a common experience.

We hope that you can join us for some of these uncommon common experiences.

Get the most up-to-date information on our upcoming events by joining the Stage Left/Old Vines mailing list.

And don't forget--there are more great events scheduled at our other restaurant, Catherine Lombardi.

Upcoming Events

[Except where noted, prices are per person and do not include tax or service.]

Tha Stage Left Wine Dinner Club: Get 20% off all wine purchases in both restaurants for the entire next calendar year! Just come to six wine dinners in a calendar year and you're automatically a member.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Pre-Theater Menu at Stage Left (Quite the Bargain!)

  • Beginning Friday, March 13
  • Offered Every Night Until 6 PM Sharp
  • Just Show Your Tickets

It's been a while since we offered a specific pre-theater menu, so we thought it time to reintroduce one. This menu will be available to theater-goers alongside our regular menu until 6 PM. We would encourage you to check out the schedules at the George Street Playhouse and The State Theater for a whole slew of great shows heading to town.

View the menu

Call 732-828-4444. $39.00

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

History of The Tomato in Seven Courses Menu

The Tomato is a fascinating food of The New World that spread across The Old World shortly after being discovered. It is hard to imagine any cuisine, but especially Italian cuisine without the humble tomato. This fruit (Yes, it's a fruit) is one of the most ubiquitous and powerful forces in the culinary world and New Jersey is home to some of the best tomatoes in the world.

Did you know that we put up about 10,000 lbs of Jersey tomatoes every August, that we use all year long? Every year we celebrate the tomato and its history with a singular menu called The History of The Tomato in Seven Courses.

History of The Tomato in Seven Courses Menu
Offered Nightly in Stage Left

A Shot of Gazpacho
Black Garlic Popcorn, Aged Balsamic

The first tomatoes to reach The Old World were assigned the name “pomo d’oro” by Sienese botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli. “Pomo d’oro” translates literally as golden apple. We assume they were yellow tomatoes.

While some thought them to be poisonous, some thought them to be an aphrodisiac. This might explain how a supposedly noxious plant was propagated nonetheless. Tomatoes and Corn were both new discoveries to European tastes. Europeans still don’t get the whole sweet corn thing.

Yellow Tomatoes
Crab Meat and Ginger

The variety of tomatoes available today is exciting, nay unto breathtaking. This is a direct result of people supporting our local farmers at greenmarkets and demanding better, more interest, and more local products. We offer here a journey to demonstrate that a tomato is not a tomato is not a tomato. A classic accompaniment is true aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, and a lesser-known, but just as complex condiment from the Austria: Hand-made, Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil from Styria. Of course we make our own mozzarella.

Varietal Tasting of Heirloom Tomatoes
Discs of House – Made Mozzarella
Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil, Aged Balsamic and Olive Oil & Avocado

The first mention of tomatoes with pasta didn’t occur until 1839 when Ippolito Cavalcanti, Duke of Buonvicino offered a recipe for Vermicelli con le Pommodoro.” The Sauce was the precursor t the modern Neapolitan tomato sauce.

Holy Basil Linguini
Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
Corn, Pecorino

The place of the tomato in Italian cuisine cannot be overstated, but the tomato is fundamental in French cuisine as well. In the 1800s some of Antonin Careme’s most significant work was to categorize hundreds of sauces under the five basic sauces. These “mother” sauces were Bechamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Hollandaise and…you guessed it…Tomato.

Berkshire Pork Strip Loin
Classical Tomato Sauce a la Careme

There aren’t many surviving Aztec recipes, so we’re working from various descriptions. The first western person to write of a sauce including tomatoes was Bernardino de Sahagún, a Franciscan missionary to the Aztecs, who made note of a prepared sauce offered for sale in Tenochtitlán (today’s Mexico City) some time before 1590. He reported that the sauce contained tomatoes, hot peppers and pumpkin seeds. The Aztecs also taught us how to use corn.

The most likely region where the tomato was first domesticated is the Vera Cruz region of Mexico, where the greatest varietal diversity of the cultivated form can be found today. The tomato, like the chili pepper, probably originated wild in South America but was not domesticated there by pre-Hispanic populations. It seems the tomato was viewed to have a tempering effect on the very hot peppers.

Flat Iron Steak
Aztec Sauce, Jalapeno Corn Bread

This is the end of our story for now. I wonder what those ancient peoples would think of a Candied Tomato with Basil Sorbet and Black Pepper.

Candied Tomato
Basil Sorbet, Black Pepper


$79 per person
Plus Tax and Service
Reservations Here or by calling 732-828-4444

Eat History!

Call 732-828-4444 or reserve online. $79.00

Get the most up-to-date information on our upcoming events by joining the Stage Left/Old Vines mailing list.

And don't forget--there are more great events scheduled at our other restaurant, Catherine Lombardi.

Dinner-Theater Package

Enjoy a night on the town with a great performance at The State Theater and a fabulous dinner at one of your favorite restaurants. Park once. We’ll pick up the tickets and have them waiting for you here. Dine before or after the show and it’s all for one very reasonable price.

View the Stage Left Menu
View the Catherine Lombardi Menu

Prices are per person plus tax, service and beverage. Please visit the State Theater's website for performance details.

Stage Left | 5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 | T: 732.828.4444
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