Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Nook Bistro on Santa Monica (no the) sits in the back corner of one of the many crappy corner strip malls on Santa Monica Blvd. between Bundy and Sepulveda. Most of the strip malls contain your random pizza place, or a taco shop owned by a Russian. You know the sort. The only standouts until Nook would be a decent froyo shop, or a cheap cash only sushi joint. Nook however, is a rare breed. The unassuming location only has a bright blue arrow pointing you in the direction of some ridiculously good food.
It's known for it's burger, which frankly is not the true main attraction. They have a rotating seasonal menu, which was unfortunate because their open face pulled pork sandwich sounded great on that particular Friday night. Went with my roommate and we each got an appetizer, a beer, a glass of wine, and the burger. The calamari was damn good, and as is ALWAYS necessary came with some delicious sauce. Any place that doesn't present calamari, fries, chicken tenders, or any other dip-able food with something good to dip in, automatically gets a veto on a re-visit. My friend got the crab cakes, which were a decent size, not jumbo by any reach of the imagination, but damn good. Washed them down with some of their Hawaiian Blonde beer... which came with a complimentary freaking Nook beer koozie! Amazing!
Then came the burger. The waitress was great and recommended a good Cab to drink with it, but i'm sorry to say that the Nook burger kinda disappointed. Online I had read some great reviews about it, but honestly the onion jam or whatever they called it was really overpowering. The meat was juicy as it should be, and not overcooked, but it was almost too juicy and you're left holding a floppy artisan bread bun. The fries were good, but really just something to fill you up. Honestly, every other option on the menu was probably much more fulfilling and probably tasted better as could be seen by the Calamari. But, being the predictable eater I am, I went with the burger. I will be back here to try the other options though because the service, beer, wine, and appetizers were damn good.
Oh, and many other places in LA could learn from them... you do not need valet parking to be a good restaurant. It's a huge burden and will probably turn away repeat customers.
Overall 4 out of 5.