An 80-seat bistro that calls its food “New American,” Cook goes by the philosophy that the food is dressed up, but you can dress down. After trying it out, I’m down with it all, from the freshness of the locally sourced ingredients to the atmosphere of light and space to the excellent service.
Executive Chef/Owner Chef Paul Turano takes heirloom carrots, cauliflower, garlic, yogurt, shallots, chili vinaigrette and turns out a wonderfully earthy wood-fired veggies appetizer ($11), served with plenty of sauce to mop up each roasted bite. The portion was large enough for sharing, which my companion and I did, especially appreciating the plentiful cauliflower.
I also tried out the Spiced Faroe Island Salmon. At $26, it’s the most expensive entree on the menu, but I went ahead and ordered it in the interest of science, or at least restaurant reviewing. Anything for The Swellesley Report readers, who are worth every penny. So is this entree, which is served with spinach, quinoa, chickpeas, curried tomato sauce, cucumber raita. The salmon arrived beautifully presented and cooked perfectly, without a touch of dryness. The spinach etc. kept it all interesting.
Some other things on the menu:
Salads: Fear not, they have the ubiquitous kale salad. I wouldn’t dare send you to a restaurant that didn’t offer that health-giving, life-affirming leaf somewhere on the menu (and probably couldn’t if I tried). The salad includes brussels sprouts, parmesan, hazelnuts, and verjus ($12). Verjus, for the uninitiated, is the pressed juice of unripened grapes, used as a dressing in this case. Although acidic, verjus has a gentler flavor than vinegar. I know it must be a “new” cool ingredient, because my spell-check doesn’t acknowledge its existence.
Sandwiches: Burgers are on the menu ($15), so you’re clear to bring the kids, who Cook makes very welcome, indeed. There’s also a kid menu with smaller portions and less-steep pricing.
Snacks: Bacon caramel popcorn ($5); Truffle fries ($8); regular fries ($6).
Flatbreads such as wild mushroom ($16) and tomato and mozzarella ($15). All flatbreads can be made on a gluten-free crust. In fact, there are many gluten-free options on the menu, as well as vegetarian fare.
They have a full liquor license that includes lots of creative cocktails. My companion gave a big thumbs-up to the Ginger Whiskey Smash, made with Kentucky Bourbon, ginger, and lemon ($11), and we could hear them literally smashing it all up back there behind the bar. It’s safe to drink one without yourself getting smashed.
Cook just became my new indie spot for dinner before catching an indie movie at West Newton Cinema. The two places are just one mile apart on Washington St.
825 Washington Street
Newton, MA 02460
617-964-2665, Reservations accepted.
Dinner: Served Seven Days a Week – 4:30pm – Close
Lunch: Monday-Friday: 11:30am to 2:30pm
Brunch: Saturday and Sundays – 10:30am – 2:30pm