NYC Restaurants

Nook
746 9th Ave (50th & 51st St)
New York, NY, 10019
(212) 247-5500 Map

Cuisine: New American

Menu:   View the Menu

Reader Ratings:

Food
Service
Ambiance
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Cititour Review:

Service is paramount in any dining experience. It sets a restaurant apart, makes up for a multitude of sins, and often makes for a return visit in a city of so many dining potions.  Nook is not that restaurant. Here, the food way outshines the service.

Nook is a tiny, un-air conditioned restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. It is very casual, BYOB only, and the sole server is often  the main chef, cashier, and host. Going from bad to good, points wise, the meal will take forever. Expect to wait interminably for menus, meals, condiments, water, and checks. However, this isn’t because of negligence on the part of the kitchen. That is because there are eggplants being sliced and grilled a la minute. Fries being cooked to order. Steaks being cut off the tenderloin and grilled to order. Every single thing is made fresh and with utmost care.

Even a simple sandwich, like  Smoked turkey breast with tomato, cucumbers and spicy beet relish on a baguette, is elevated by this care. The freshly roasted turkey is y juicy and tender, with a smoky, candied exterior that is so sweet that it seems more like ham than turkey.. The baguette has a thin, sharp crust that surrounds a slightly tangy, bouncy interior crumb, slathered in tangy beet relish. The fries merit special mention. Fried to order from what seem like fresh potatoes, they are crunchy, rosemary flecked, and flecked with fragrant rosemary.

Grilled Vegetable Salad with eggplant, red peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, and goat cheese over mixed greens with a balsamic reduction dressing is another example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  Rich eggplant, sweet squash, fresh zucchini, and roasted peppers are all intense and vibrant.  The goat cheese is mild and melts into creamy warmth that blankets the vibrant vegetables.. This is not a technically or taste-wise complex salad, but it is one that is made with care and precision.

The care taken with the food is what makes this whole restaurant special. Though the service is abysmally slow, it isn’t because you are being ignored, it is because the chef is doing everything by himself. That is how he keeps the prices low and the quality high. And the quality really is very high. The menu is not especially inventive or large, it is just prepared expertly. This is highly recommended for a lazy lunch or brunch. Just be sure to bring cash (the restaurant is cash only) and have plenty of time.

Review By: Sarah Spigelman

Neighborhood: West 50s

Payment: Cash only


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