Slideshow: Heirloom Tomato Dishes We Love Right Now

Heirloom Tomato Smorrebrod at Vandaag ($12)
Heirloom Tomato Smorrebrod at Vandaag ($12)
Tomatoes on toast: classic. But Vandaag would never just leave it at that, of course. Atop a toasted-up piece of their honey wheat bread, tomatoes join the creamy-middled, gently funky sheep's milk Shushan Snow from Three Corner Field Farm, along with amarillo pepper (more fruity than spicy) and basil seeds steeped in sherry. It's the sort of dish that changes with every bite—salty then sweet, spicy then rich—but none of that distracts from the juicy chunks of tomato.

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Vandaag: 103 Second Avenue, New York NY 10003 (at East 6th; map); 212-253-0470; vandaagnyc.com

Heirloom tomato salad with fried bread and salt cod at The John Dory Oyster Bar ($15)
Heirloom tomato salad with fried bread and salt cod at The John Dory Oyster Bar ($15)
We love how restaurants can combine similar ingredients in such different ways. The John Dory Oyster Bar also uses a soft, funky sheep's cheese and basil seeds, but here it's the spreadably smooth Spanish miticrema, whose tartness perks up a bed of tomatoes (of at least 5 different colors), greens, herbs (parsley, marjoram, dill, and Thai basil), and fried bread. (Other places might euphemize that as a "crouton." John Dory tells it like it is.) Salt cod grated over the top adds an elusive salty, fishy note.

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The John Dory Oyster Bar: 1196 Broadway, New York NY 10001 (at 29th Street in the Ace Hotel; map); 212-792-9000; thejohndory.com

Heirloom Tomato & Chiang Mai Sausage Salad at Kin Shop ($15)
Heirloom Tomato & Chiang Mai Sausage Salad at Kin Shop ($15)
Fragrant and spicy coriander nam prik lays on a base layer of heat that supports the rest of the dish here, while toasted pine nuts and fried egg thread cakes add some crunch. Bite into one of the kaffir lime-scented house-made chiang mai sausages and you're convinced it's the best part of the dish, but nah, it's the tomatoes. They're chunky and juicy, dressed in a sweet and sour black vinegar dressing.

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Kin Shop: 469 6th Avenue, New York NY 10011 (b/n 11th and 12th; map); 212-675-4295; kinshopnyc.com

Rustic Greek Salad at Kefi ($9.50)
Rustic Greek Salad at Kefi ($9.50)
When was the last time you were blown away by a Greek salad? Tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumber, some olives, a bit of grilled bread, all tossed together with vinegar and olive oil and sprinkled with feta cheese. Simple, even pedestrian, right? Kefi's version may not be the most innovative of dishes, but awesome tomatoes show you what a great Greek salad should really taste like, transforming salad bar-fare into a full-blown summer celebration.

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Kefi: 505 Columbus Avenue, New York NY 10024 (at 84th Street; map); 212-873-0200; kefirestaurant.com

Heirloom Tomato Tart at Joseph Leonard ($13)
Heirloom Tomato Tart at Joseph Leonard ($13)
Caramelized onion puree coats the underside of a puff pastry base (baked to order, expect to wait at least 15 minutes), while the top gets a spread of intense heirloom tomato jam—followed by a whole boatload of heirloom cherry tomatoes tossed with a vinaigrette and drizzled with olive oil, reduced balsamic, feta cheese, and crisply fried onions. There's an awful lot going on in this dish but it comes together in a surprisingly straightforward and delicious way.

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Joseph Leonard: 170 Waverly Place, New York NY 10014 (at Christopher; map); 646-429-8383; josephleonard.com

Fried Green Heirloom Tomatoes at The Vanderbilt ($12)
Fried Green Heirloom Tomatoes at The Vanderbilt ($12)
Plenty of fried green tomatoes are more fry than tomato. Not so at The Vanderbilt, where the cornmeal crust is just a crisp, hot shell over chunky wedges of ripe green heirloom tomatoes, the heat rendering them gushingly sweet. It's served with a ranch-like dressing that's not at all goopy, but satisfyingly creamy, and refreshing against the crust—well-spiced, perfectly salty with a mild, lingering cayenne heat.

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The Vanderbilt: 570 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11238 (at Bergen; map); 718-623-0570, thevanderbiltnyc.com

Heirloom Tomato Toast at ABC Kitchen ($12)
Heirloom Tomato Toast at ABC Kitchen ($12)
Proof that simple dishes can be amazing when done well. Sure, it looks like just tomatoes on toast. But the little accents make all the difference: a thin layer of Parmesan, just a little sharp, salty bite; a thorough dousing of olive oil; salt and pepper judiciously distributed. Then there are the tomatoes themselves, of course, as vibrant in flavor as in color. On bread that's crunchy but not tough to bite, it feels deliciously indulgent, drippingly sweet and totally irresistible.

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ABC Kitchen: 35 East 18th St, New York NY 10003 (b/n Broadway and Park Avenue South; map); 212-475-5829; abckitchennyc.net

[Photograph: Jessica Leibowitz]