This is the first in a series profiling local chefs and sharing their favorite summer recipes.
Paul Turano, owner and head chef at Tryst, came into restaurant business for simple reasons: "I love food," he said.
Growing up, Turano used to emulate Julia Child and the cooking shows on PBS to create meals for his working parents and siblings in Stoughton. "I was overweight," Turano admits with a laugh, but his love of food also led to a dream. "Owning a restaurant and cooking were really the only things I ever wanted to do."
Success came first in Canton, where he was the owner of restaurant called Olio for five years before selling it so he could focus on his Arlington restaurant – Tryst. Now open six years, Tryst serves "creative American cuisine" and is one of the most popular restaurants in Arlington. "We just had our best year yet," said Turano who likes to create cuisine that blends interesting flavors but is still familiar, delicious and unique.
Some current menu items, include: Herb and Brioche Crusted Cod, served with barlotta beans, kale and saffron clam broth; Wild Mushroom and Ricotta Ravioli served with porcini fondue and wilted spinach and more.
The menu changes a fair amount, said Turano who has learned over the years that "food is only part of the equation" involved in creating a thriving restaurant. "It is crucial that people are treated well by an educated and competent staff with no attitude," said Turano who expects his guests to be greeted when they arrive and bid farewell as they leave.
"It is all part of the experience," he explained.
Currently, Turano's favorite dish on his menu is a new lamb dish with Mediterranean sausage in homemade pita and pickled vegetables with Greek yogurt sauce.
Desserts are also an important part of the Tryst menu and pastry chef Anne Moynahan is a huge part of that equation, Turano said. "We are constantly challenging each other."
Turano also makes it a point to keep Tryst involved in the community. Recently he donated all of the proceeds of one of the desserts to the Bridge the Gap campaign to help subsidize the $4 million deficit facing the Arlington Schools.
"It is important to be a part of the community as much as possible," Turano said. And though he lives in Stoughton, he holds a special place for Arlington and the people who have made Tryst such a success.
To honor that, Turano has offered to share a couple recipes with Arlingtonians:
Goat Cheese Flan
Makes 7-8 servings
12 ea. egg yolks
5 oz. goat cheese
2 c heavy cream
3/4 c milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
To taste lemon zest
1 clove garlic (finely minced)
1 t thyme
1 T chives
In mixer with a paddle, combine goat cheese, salt and pepper, garlic, and lemon zest. Gradually add egg yolks, scrap sides often. Add heavy cream, milk and herbs.
Bake 325 degrees in a water bath. Check after 25 minutes.
Serve with assorted crackers and red pepper marmalade.
Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Yield: 2 quarts
8 ears corn (approx 4 cups)
4 c milk
4 c heavy cream
1 t salt
1 1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
Cut kernels from cob and use the back of the knife to juice cob. Combine corn, milk, heavy and salt and bring to a boil. Puree and strain. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and yolks. Whisk while slowly adding sugar. Temper in hot cream. Return to pot and cook until thick (180 degrees). Strain. Add vanilla and cool.
Tryst is located at 689 Massachusetts Avenue and is open Monday through Thursday from 5 - 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 - 11 p.m., Sunday from 4:30 - 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.