Noms: Farm Grill, Newton

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FarmGrillWhile we enjoy trying new restaurants often, there are a handful of restaurants that are our favorites, and as such, we go to them frequently. One of these establishments is Farm Grill and Rotisserie in Newton. This rather unassuming eatery at 40 Needham Street serves some of the freshest and tastiest Greek cuisine we have ever tasted.

The Farm Grill is a no-frills establishment; you order your food up at the counter, and then they call out your number when your order is ready. While the extensive menu takes up nearly the entire wall and is somewhat overwhelming, it is broken down into categories, including Salads, Appetizers, and Dinners to make it more manageable. The prices are reasonable, with most salads averaging around $10 and most entrees ranging from $14-$18; and with the generous portions and quality ingredients, it actually feels like a steal.

Farm Grill has an impressive selection of appetizers, including traditional grape leaves, spicy feta spread, and hummus, but Jonah and Joanne are crazy for the tzatziki, a savory spread made with Greek yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and herbs. This deliciously creamy delight is best eaten with an order of grilled gyro pita rather than the typical pita they serve on the side, as the gyro pita is thicker and fluffier and a more substantial vehicle for the spread.

While the menu boasts Greek staples such as Moussaka (an eggplant, potato and beef dish), Spanakopita (filo dough stuffed with feta and spinach), and Pastitzio (a pasta and beef casserole), the real must-haves are the grilled offerings, especially the chicken kabob. The kabob, consisting of juicy bites of marinated chicken, sliced peppers and onions, is grilled to perfection. Jonah and Joanne are always amazed at how juicy and flavorful the chicken is and, of course, how well it goes with tzatziki! Typically, Joanne and Jonah will each get a chicken kabob on top of a large Greek salad served with a side of homemade creamy Greek dressing. On occasion, they will each order the chicken kabob meal, which comes with a small side salad and two hot sides of your choice, including (but not limited to) spinach and rice pilaf, steamed vegetables, and butternut squash puree. No matter what permutation you get, you will leave Farm Grill feeling satisfied and nourished.

This restaurant is a special place where many of the customers are regulars and are treated like family. For as long as it keeps putting out high quality, addictively yummy cuisine, it will continue to be one of our go-to places for a great meal.

Noms: Cook, Newton

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Last weekend, we decided to branch out and try a new restaurant.  Cook, located on Washington Street in Newtonville, opened its doors this past September.  This New American Bistro serves a wide variety of dishes, including snacks such as bacon-caramel popcorn, wood-fired flatbreads, appetizers like shrimp tacos, and a number of entrees for vegetarians and omnivores alike.

We went to Cook on the early side, as we had gleaned from the numerous Yelp reviews that the restaurant can get very busy very quickly.  When we arrived, we were surprised to see a number of television cameras and bright lights – Chronicle, Boston’s daily TV news journal, was shooting there!  We saw Anthony Everett, the host of the show, talking with the head chef, and the cameramen were taking footage of the restaurant patrons, too.  You might just see us on that episode of Chronicle, so keep an eye out!

While there were a number of items on the menu that looked delicious, Joanne ended up going the rather unadventurous route of having the roasted chicken.  It came with a parmesan polenta cake and sautéed broccoli rabe.  The chicken was juicy and tender, the polenta cake was creamy and delicious, and the broccoli rabe was cooked to perfection.  Jonah got the grilled cheese sandwich which was accompanied by a small side salad.  We decided to also share an order of French fries that came with three dipping sauces: a sriracha ketchup, a curry honey mustard, and a creamy bacon dip.  The grilled cheese was excellent, right up there with Rox Diner.  We both enjoyed the French fries with the various dips, although at the end of the meal, we felt like we could have skipped them because we had no room for dessert.

There are a number of dishes we would like to try upon our return, including some of the sumptuous- looking desserts, so we will definitely be going back to Cook sometime in the near future!