For more than two decades, T. Cook’s has established its place among legacy restaurants in the Valley and just this week newly minted Executive Chef Todd Allison has released his first menu since joining the celebrated restaurant in May.
Chef Todd is reinvigorating T. Cook’s Northern Mediterranean roots with cuisine that celebrates the regions of Spain, Northern Italy and Provence. With the new menu, he is honoring the Mediterranean principles of simple preparations, uncomplicated dishes and seasonal ingredients. He’s also bringing back several classic favorites that graced past menus and won rave reviews.
“Coming back to Arizona has been an exciting experience, especially seeing how significantly the culinary scene has evolved and how educated and enthusiastic diners are,” said Allison. “Taking T. Cook’s back to Northern Mediterranean-inspired cuisine was a natural fit for me. It’s what I know and what I’ve built my culinary background on for the past 10 years. I’m sourcing directly from that region to make each dish as authentic as possible, while also supporting local farmers and ranchers. The combination of the two makes for a memorable dining experience.”
Some T. Cook’s standout items include Whole Roasted Sea Bream ($35) with mustard greens, shaved fennel, radish salad, Kalamata olive and pickled garlic; Grilled New York Strip ($44) with blistered shishito, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, olive demi and chimichurri; Durham Ranch Wild Boar Chop and Braised Pork Cheek ($37) with house-made sauerkraut, pearl onion, mustard, savory granola and caramelized apple glaze; and, a personal favorite of Chef Todd is the Pan Roasted John Dory ($38) with artichoke barigoule, Yukon gold potatoes and fried caper butter.
Chef Todd has added a striking showpiece element to the dining room by utilizing the open fireplace area where he highlights a “From the Fireplace” section on the menu. The varied host of options range from Spanish Choriqueso ($12) with spicy chorizo, charred scallions and fire-roasted flatbread; Mediterranean Prawns ($13) with white bean, smoked ham hock and tarragon, Braised All Natural Beef Short Rib ($15) with ricotta cheese and arugula ravioli and parsnip puree. If you’re in luck, you’ll arrive on a night where Chef Todd himself is grilling at the fireplace and chatting with diners.
T. Cook’s has also expanded its harvesting of on-site ingredients by growing herbs and seasonal vegetables from a now-larger garden on the north patio. Oranges, lemons and grapefruits from the resort’s citrus grove are used for marinates. Pink Peppercorn Trees that are sprinkled throughout the grounds are harvested for the rub used on the Spiced Rubbed Beef Tenderloin ($42).
Most of the restaurant’s ingredients like cheeses, proteins and olive oil are sourced from Spain, France and Northern Italy. Locally grown and sustainably raised foods are used whenever possible from local farmers including McClendon’s Select, Singh Farms, Noble Bread and Hayden Flour Mill.
“The food is approachable, but inspired,” said Allison. “Guests can expect dynamic flavors and sharable dishes that pull influence from Spain, Northern Italy and Provence. I’ll share a secret too – the famous pesto for which T. Cook’s became famous, is back as an off-the-menu item.”
Prior to joining T. Cook’s in May of 2015, Chef Todd previously served as executive chef at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, a historic and iconic San Diego luxury hotel, executive chef at Anthology in San Diego and executive chef at Hilton Checkers in Los Angeles. He also worked as executive chef at Bollinger’s in Santa Barbara, chef de cuisine at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach as the right-hand to Chef James Boyce, tournant chef for almost three years at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician and as sous chef at Michael Mina’s restaurant, Aqua, at the St. Regis Monarch Beach.
T. Cook’s culinary philosophy of magnifying the purity of fresh, seasonal ingredients is a celebration of its treasured legacy. Tucked away within the lush landscaping and Mediterranean-inspired architecture of Royal Palms Resort and Spa, A Destination Hotel, T. Cook’s offers a captivating environment in every sense with stone fireplaces, al fresco dining and unique design elements.