In the Nook of time
For a deserving colleague's lunch today we considered Brentwood Tavern's inaugural run but worried about the impending hordes (plus an 8am stop on my way to our WLA office for a coffee and a stunning apple turnover for $3.50 that finally brought closure to the memory of Michel Richard's standard setting version helped satisfy my curiosity for the time being).
Our co-worker, before embarking on her career as a financial consultant, was a member of the highly acclaimed San Francisco based performing group, Screaming Divas, a quartet of four talented women who sang everything from Dave Brubeck's Take 5 to Handel's Hallelujah chorus, acapella. She also earned a decent income waiting tables at Zuni Cafe and has a hand written recipe from Judy Rogers herself for that now famous Caesar salad dressing.
We settled, as I often have, on Nook Bistro and such was her reaction that another post was warranted. We entered the improbable location amazed at the unassuming mini mall exterior that gives no indication of the simple and sophisticated interior that follows. Was a restaurant ever more aptly named?
Reservations are not taken at lunch but we were immediately seated on the banquette at 11:55am. A nice crowed quickly followed but the restaurant never filled to capacity on this particular Monday lunch. After reviewing the menu we ordered a silky and rich black bean soup for $6 in a large bowl that we shared, a fresh and nicely prepared medium rare tuna Nicoise salad for $13 and a chicken club sandwich with smoky bacon, Gruyere cheese, tomato and arugula with fries for $10. Two fresh lemonades for $3.50 each were continually refilled without asking and a key lime pie with a blueberry sauce and whipped cream for $7 actually distinguished itself from the usual lemon meringue filling variety and finished off our meal.
Portions were generous, service considerate and as we pondered her upcoming sabbatical as a newly accepted member to Yale's annual master cabaret class in the Fall, she commented how much this luncheon reminded her of her days at Zuni.
Who says you can't go home again?
11628 Santa Monica Blvd.
Nook is a great value for dinner, and it is also an excellent option for either a quick bite or a nice, relaxed lunch. Their soups are rich and tasty -- I wish they would offer the cheese soup more often. Their mac'n'cheese is a great dish, a generous portion for the price made more interesting by the panko crust topping. The steak sandwich at lunch is juicy and satisfying, and that key lime pie is a tart, refreshing dessert. Always fine service.