Nook Bistro in West LA redefines "hole-in-the-wall." Like Lou on Vine, Nook is virtually impossible to find. I always think I know exactly where it is, but as I drive east on Santa Monica Blvd, I always find myself slowing at each strip center I pass, craning my neck to see if this one or that one is the right one.
While I've only been there twice, both visits have justified a return trip. I believe the menu changes fairly regularly, but the chicken paillard and the Nook burger seem to remain popular items. I've never had the burger, but I did salivate like Pavlov's dog every time one exited the kitchen. (Curse you, Weight Watchers!)
To quickly summarize Nook Bistro: the food is well-prepared, the portions generous and the price reasonable. That's reason enough to go back to a restaurant or to recommend it to a friend. However, I'll go back to Nook Bistro because on both visits I've gotten great service.
I cannot stress enough how rare it is to get good service in Los Angeles. Blame it on the overabundance of actors/comedians/dancers/writers/mimes all trying to make it big in Hollyweird. Blame it on the heat, blame it on the rain. Just whatever you do, don't put the blame on you.
I'm sorry, I got distracted for a moment.
Back to eating at Nook Bistro. On my first visit, the place was packed and my friend and I could barely get in the door. After forcing our way in, we were standing somewhat near the wee little bar, which was 5 people deep with diners and drinkers waiting for tables. The bartender grabbed two wine lists and found us, and spent just a few minutes going over the list with us before making a couple of suggestions and taking our order. Is that remarkable service? Not really. But it is good service to ensure that customers that are waiting an indefinite period of time are at least happy. My second visit was similar. No long lines this time, but still the same cheerful, friendly waitstaff that took the time to go over the menu with us, make suggestions and not hurry us along. It makes for an altogether enjoyable dining experience.
But then again, what else would you expect from a guy who's "stage name" is Red Fang?