Let's Eat by Kitty Kaufman
Come to Cook. Sit at the bar. Meet Jesse and team for drinks. No waiting at 5:30. Three TVs and lots of beer: IPA Smutty, Allagash, Dead Ringer and Jack's Abby are on tap today. Cook could be your very own Cheers even if you don't live in Newton. Wine on the bar in no time. And the food, the food comes out hot and fast in this 80-seat new American setting. Chef owner is Paul Turano. You know him from Tryst in Arlington, Spitfires in Canton; Olio, Tanglewood and the Wellesley Inn.
Diane and I finally do what we talk about but never do: the all apps meal. With small plates we won't eat much? Later, this turns out to be a lie. Diane starts with Emerald Bay chardonnay, a fruity California classic that goes with everything:
- meatballs with mozzarella, basil and sauce
- fried calamari with fried pickles (below)
- lobster sliders with mayo, lemon and tarragon and
- truffle fries with parmesan.
That's not much, right? And we can always order a salad later. We ask to have them brought out as they're ready. And in what seems like a flash, or is an actual flash, I don't know since the wine, they're here. All at once. The meatballs, the calamari, the sliders and the fries. It takes two servers to set them down. Our bar friends stop mid-sip to see who the gorillas are. It's okay, it's just us. One says, loud enough for everyone to hear, "Wonder what your main dishes are?" Okay, we get it. They are not small, they're generous. Thanks, chef, we're the center of attention. We decide everyone is jealous.
First, sliders. Lobster and mayo, it must be the tarragon. A different take. Lobster will wait as we move on to hot stuff. Calamari and pickles, fried and hot. Breaded but not too, with tartar sauce that goes with pickles in a wine-y way. And it's big enough to share. It's plenty for a main with leftovers. Leftovers are our thing. Dinner with no leftovers is sad.
Meatballs, you can never go wrong with meatballs. Here they are in a frying pan, endearing and useful. Mozzarella, a hint of basil and sauce. Enough sauce for the fries. And a couple to go home.
To say Diane goes for the fries is an understatement. They're hot, dusted with parmesan and other magic. Later, it turns out they don't make it to tomorrow's lunch. They're gone before bed, I hear. And back at the bar, there's wagering to see if we finish. Of course, we don't finish. There are fries and meatballs and calamari to go. I think we might get a round of applause but no. It's Newton.
825 Washington St
Newton, MA 02460
617. 964. COOK
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