chef paul turano
Conversation with Rosalyn Winspeare
Images by Russ Mezikofsky

How is the food scene in Arlington?
Arlington is a very densely populated area surrounded by all great towns, it is definitely a desirable area to live in, my father actually lives in Lexington so I made the trek up and down this road many times, so when the space became available I knew I had to jump on it, because it has a great traffic flow….Again it is densely populated surrounded by all really nice towns.

Do you make an effort to get Boston diners to come out to Arlington? Is it necessary?
It’s hard to say, I think a lot of our clientele come from the local surrounding towns searching for that city restaurant, but we provide that without the parking cost. The same scratch cooking kitchen. I think we were really trying to pull from the local communities, I am not sure many people make the trek up but this is our demographics.

A widely used term in food these days is "snout to tail". Do you subscribe to this ideal when creating your concepts?
No snouts, I don’t want a snout, the people I associate with and the people that come here I am not sure that they are interesting in eating snouts. I think we really want to serve local ingredients whenever possible, we buy from farms during the summer. Obviously we are in New England, that ability isn’t really here that you can buy food from 10 miles away all winter long. I don’t stamp myself with that “Farm to Table” we just live and try to use local accessible ingredients because it makes sense not to make the stand of Farm to Table, just what makes sense. We cook for a living and I don’t want to open boxes, I don’t want to open packages and boxes and put them into a steam table and fray or anything like that. For me it is more of craft and I prefer to make it from scratch than to buy it, or I could probably just find something else to do.

Le'ts talk menu, what is your biggest influence? How often do you change it and what are the staples?
The menu I would say is influenced mainly by the customers, it has become an evolution since day one of what do they want, give them what they want. If the pasta is what people are excited about then that is what we focus on. I like to eat what I think what other people like to eat, I don’t offer different ingredients they have never seen before, just showcased in a better light. Things that they could access at a local supermarket. I think our menu is a collaboration of many people who have worked here for so many years, I have my 2 main people in the kitchen working here for 7 or 8 years almost and we challenge each otherand we challenge our patrons. That is how the menu evolves.

You've recently undergone major renovations, what was your motivation?
We renovated a little over a year ago and since then we have been busier that we have ever been and I think all we really did was to give the locals what they were looking for which was a more relaxed atmosphere, we modernized the space a little bit and basically I finished what I couldn’t do to open. I inherited a space and tried to do what I had to do to get it open and then every few years I try to do something else as a show of appreciation and for those people who don’t come monthly or every 6 months or maybe thought of this as a special occasion, now when they walk in it is different, usually every few years it looks a little different.

Do you participate in local Arlington events as promotion for Tryst?
We host a lot of these events or participate in these events whether it be here or somewhere else, I like to get involve with the neighborhood, I think this neighborhood has been really good to us , especially, every year they are getting more excited about the place, they come more often so I like to give back whenever I can and I like toknow that I am asked to do a lot of these events. It is kind of a thank you for all of the hard work we have done for years.

I am a vegan and I find it difficult to eat out. Do you make an effort to cater to vegans?
I think we cater to everybody, we want to fill the seats every day, so we really try to accommodate gluten allergies, gluten intolerants, vegan, vegetarians, pesticidians, we try to accommodate everybody and because this is our craft, it is almost a challenge to come up with something for someone who is vegan especially in this time of year going into the summer, late spring early summer, there is a lot of great product of there so it is easy for us to make something tasty and it is easier toplease a vegan as long as you give then what they ask for, usually there are less complaints. I try to go above and beyond when I make something off the menu especially if it does not exist, I just pick through our station. We have pea greens, asparagus, snap peas, fresh ginger, beets, rhubarb, there are so many different combinations we can do with that. It is kind of a challenge and it is good to see which one of the cook can do something that is exciting and not just plain.

When you eat out, where do you go? What do you like to eat?
I live in Canton so I if I go in town that’s great, I am always happy to go in town, locally I don’t eat at that many restaurants around here because I live obviously south and it take me too long to get home to travel back. I like Steel and Rye which is in Milton, it’s new and they really do a great good. Chris Parson’s is local here and I never get a chance to eat there. In Winchester, I like Oleana especially this time of year, they have a great patio. Locally where I live, I spend a lot of time at Bamboo in Dedham and I eat a lot of sushi there, I probably spend too much money there. In the city I am gamed to try something new every time I go in.

Do you love cooking at home?
I wouldn’t say love because I cook at work but I enjoy it. I have two little minions, my 2 little kids, they like to participate and it is somewhat of a challenge because at that age they want to cut things….they are almost 3 and almost 5. They like to get involve, my daughter is a eater my son is a non-eater so I try to make them regular adult food. It is either we go out to eat or I end up cooking because my wife does not enjoy cooking. It is good, I like my house and I like being home. I cook more than I ever have at home.

Are there any plans to open a 2nd restaurant anytime soon, if so, where..?
We are actually building another space right now, it will not be another Tryst but will have a lot of similarities to it, similar menu. I think we are trying to pull the best of the best out from the last 9-10 years because we have changed the menu so often. Do something fairly local, I will tell you about it when we get to it…

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