Chef Paul Turano has a knack for creating suburban restaurants that prove the envy of the city’s food-smart set. Ten years ago, he opened Olio in Canton and had food critics rolling down I93 to eat at the funky, tiny restaurant. The local-produce-focused food was superb and, along with the atmosphere, possibly influenced every neighborhood boite in Boston and Brooklyn.
Cook, which Turano opened a month ago in Newton, is more grown up and less wild — and bears greater resemblance to Turano’s Arlington restaurant, Tryst, than the now-defunct Canton treasure. Cook has less personality, but more utility, and certainly livens up the drag of storefronts in which it sits. The simple, modern interior works for sitting with a beer and a warm, soft, house-made pretzel with Meaux mustard, or a pita filled with lentil, walnut and mushroom kofta spiced with sumac.
Turano’s finely tuned menu includes several tried-and-true Tryst dishes, such as the AFC (Arlington Fried Chicken), a Southern style chicken platter with biscuits and gravy. The menu nods to both trend — a big pile of shredded kale and Brussels sprouts tossed with toasted hazelnuts and a tart dressing — and tradition. It acknowledges health (many gluten-free and vegetarian options) and pleasure. The latter takes the forms of a butterscotch and banana tart with a chocolate crumb crust or a glutenfree ice cream sandwich that looks deceptively boring. It’s made with chocolate chip cookies made with brown rice and tapioca flours, for a crisp, light texture. Quite simple, but a road (or recipe) less-traveled nonetheless.
If you go
Cook 825 Washington St., Newton Entrees: $12-$25 617-964-2665 cooknewton.com