Let the yelling begin! This is my third time at The Nook
and before I get into today's review let me begin by saying - BEST MAC N CHEESE EVER - The Nook. But, buyer beware, this place is only as good as you make it.
Bro and I went to The Nook Bistro tonight because I was craving some gourmet mac-n-cheese, I hadn't been back to this place in a few years and our BPM event was also in Santa Monica. We drive up from Temecula - a 2 1/2 hr drive because of traffic so we're tired, hungry and a bit pissy. We overshoot by one block (I swore it was in the Vons shopping plaza), we have to back track and meanwhile bro's temperament goes from medium pissed to raging mad.
Alas - we see that beautiful orange sign, thoughts of mac topped with gruyere cheese dance in my head, we make a run for this hidden little joint. Blue sign with arrow points us to our destination.
We walk in and just as I remember it, The Nook is sleek and modern in just the right way. A communal table sits in the middle lined with dark wood stools. We glance around and see the typical blue haired couples (it's 6p) but as time progresses the hipsters make their way in...
The walls are a subtle moss green which goes nicely with our light wood tables. A quick trip to the bathroom shows me that they care - maybe too much - no need to see two Los Angeles magazine reviews in that area. We get it - you're a find.
A burning candle, some oil sticks, and a few (albeit dying) flowers make my hand washing experience pleasant. I even enjoy this sign.
Let's move on to the food. OK - THIS IS WHY YOU COME TO THE NOOK. THREE CHEESE MAC - manchego, cheddar and gruyere. Now tell me you love gruyere! This dish is delightful because the consistency of the cheese makes it taste more like soft mashed potatoes. It's not gooey or thick, it's with this cream sauce that's probably going to clog your arteries but that's so amazing you can't stop eating it. No doubt there might even be some crack in there.
(Blurry picture does it no justice.) Here's Eugene polishing that bad boy off. Notice his big smile!
Caesar salad is made with their famous whole grain mustard dressing. Amazing. Perfect level of saltiness, no pepper needed, dressing is delicious - not too heavy.
OK - if you are a Nook lover please stop reading here. No need to look. Close this out immediately lest you read the following and then leave theMET forever.
Our entrees were terrible.
There...I said it.
I love having my iPhone with me so that I can look up the restaurant on my Yelp app and find out what other people recommend. Now I don't know who this Sherry H. girl is but I am going to kick her ass. Here's what she said. "Even went here when I was on a 'diet' once and ordered their Brown Rice and Veggies/Tofu dish and was surprised by how good it was!" Even Alex C. told me, "We also had the brown rice bowl which was good as well."
You two should be kicked off of Yelp immediately.
This frickin dish sucked ass. And when I mean sucked ass I mean tasted liked ass. Now please don't start calling me an elitist because really I'm not. I'll take cheap eats any day. But if your dish taste like you threw a bag of Ralph's brand frozen veggies together with some brown rice - you have a problem! This dish needs to be banished from your menu! Partial blame goes to me for trying to go healthy.
Now bro gets the Nook Burger - sterling silver beef with gruyere cheese, delicious red wine-onion jam, baby arugula on grilled rustic bread. Beef was huge if not a little too overdone (never go well done, bro), onions were delish but the bread just ruined it. Rustic bread is code for focaccia, too thick to go with this meaty sandwich. Made me dream of the soft, warm normal burger bun from 25 Degrees...
Saving grace? Fries were magnificent. Not too crunchy, perfectly seasoned. Try out the lemon aioli for 50 cents extra, it taste like lemon mayo. Threw bro for a loop but you might enjoy it.
So how does this fair?
We wish we had stopped at the appetizers. I wanted to get the short rib but that's been replaced by meatloaf. Next time, I'm ordering something entirely different for my entree or I'm sticking to all salads and appetizers. Four stars from the beginning went to three by the end of the meal.
Who Should Go?:
+ People who don't mind looking around for this place. Here are some hints. Going west on Santa Monica Blvd - look out for the plaza that has Western Bagel in it - blue tiled roof - it's sandwiched between a blind/drapery shop and a pizza place.
+ People who seek out bomby mac n cheese.
+ People who like to be in the know about hidden restaurants
(This was at the end of dinner. Notice all that leftover food on my plate. Three words. No doggie bag.)
Nook Bistro (Yelp)
11628 Santa Monica Blvd
(between Barry Ave & Federal Ave)
Los Angeles, CA 90025