Monday, March 2, 2015

Nook Is Now Open Downtown for Breakfast and Lunch

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge The Cuban sandwich is just one lunch option at Nook. - HEATHER HOCH
Heather Hoch
The Cuban sandwich is just one lunch option at Nook.

Nook opened today at 1 E. Congress St. and I really couldn't wait to get in and give it a taste. Stopping in for lunch, the new spot was bustling with diners, which kept the staff busy but seemingly not overwhelmed. 

With breakfast and brunch menus, an espresso bar with EXO Roast coffee, freshly baked pastries, grab and go options and more, there's a lot to choose from for your Nook experience. The lunch menu alone has an eclectic mix of dishes that draw inspiration from all over, including a soba noodle salad, Korean street tacos, green corn tamales, a classic croque madame and more.

click to enlarge HEATHER HOCH
Heather Hoch
Sitting next to the open kitchen, I overheard the chefs call out "Tucson" over and over again, meaning the restaurant's sandwich called "The Tucson" had clearly become the favorite for the first day. No surprise there since it comes with chili dusted chicken, caramelized green chilis and onions, tomato, lettuce, "burnt" cheese and a chipotle mayo.

While the Tucson was definitely popular, I can't help but order a Cuban sandwich whenever I see one on a menu because, when done well, the combination of flavors on the kicked up ham and cheese sandwich is just insane. Served with a side of fries, potato salad or side salad, the sandwich was $8—not unreasonable but definitely on the upscale end of lunch dining.

Unfortunately it did take over 20 minutes from the time I ordered my sandwich until it arrived, but, again, it was only the first day, so that can easily be overlooked. Once my nearly $10 sandwich arrived, though, the plate looked a little disheveled, with fries spread out everywhere. I can overlook that too because they were still getting in the groove. However, the Cuban sandwich, once at the table, had unfortunately not spent enough time on the plancha because the cheese wasn't melted at all and the rest of the sandwich was just lukewarm—a kind of disappointing showing after a 20 minute wait. While the chunky grain mustard, shaved ham and house pickles lent all of the requisite flavors to the dish, the chunks of mojo pork inside the sandwich were pretty dry.

click to enlarge Treat yourself with this black and white cookie. - HEATHER HOCH
Heather Hoch
Treat yourself with this black and white cookie.

Although my Cuban sandwich didn't blow me away, I will say that you'd be absolutely silly not to stop in for a coffee and $2 black and white cookie. The cookie is pretty much the standard by which to measure black and white cookies: obviously fresh because the cookie was spongy and soft, while the frosting offered a sweet glaze.

All in all, it's likely that those other kinks on opening day will be worked out soon, and I'll definitely be back for a Benedict flight for Saturday brunch. You can try it out for yourself too because Nook is now open on the corner of Stone Avenue and Congress Street Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and on Saturday from brunch from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

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