I called them Wednesday and asked for a reservation Friday night between 6:15 and 6:30 so we could make it to the theater on time ("Take Me Out" at the Brentwood, yet another Geffen Playhouse P.O.S.). Brian said they weren't taking reservations because they anticipated huge crowds after SIV's mini-review Thursday. Obviously he was right, because when we arrived at 6:25, he apologized for having given our table away and was kind enough to give us the next one that opened up, though it was wobbly and he wasn't able or willing to spend the time to fix it and it remained wobbly throughout our meal. The atmosphere is industrial NYC studio loft; nothing has been done to personalize it or give it a hint of charm.
We decided on the crispy calamari and the ginger salmon. Um, well, our server apologized, the crispy calamari "isn't ready yet." And they're out of the ginger salmon. The mom on our left indicated her family had wanted the calamari too. Later on, the woman on our right was turned down, and not just on the calamari or the salmon but a third dish as well. I'm really sorry, the man said again, we didn't expect this many people. Well, did they or didn't they?
We finally decided to split the chicken paillard ($12) and the mushroom-dusted albacore ($17). The albacore is served with lentils and pea tendrils in an unusual mint-green-colored sauce. It doesn't look or taste quite the way fish should. There's something very pallid, oddly textured and airplane-y about it.
The chicken dish is better in terms of the chicken itself. But the "smashed bliss potatoes" aren't blissful; they're beyond forgettable and not close to worth the calories. And the sauteed rapini is undercooked to the point of fibrousness, by which I mean not only difficult to cut and to put together any kind of a sensible bite, but difficult to chew and actually almost conducive to choking.
It's probably too soon to write Nook off. Hopefully this was just a really bad day. But from what I could tell, SIV reviewed it a few months too soon. (And hard to find it's not; there's a huge sign with an arrow right out front, in the only corner in the mini-mall; it is called Nook, right?) At this point, though, Nook is not ready for prime time.