Ever since The Nook opened, I’ve been rooting for it. It’s the new breakfast place located underneath The Health Shoppe on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. The owners and waiters are nice, and the big draw is the play area for kids.
My kids loved the place. The second we entered the large dining area, they spotted the toys. I told them they could play with The Nooks’ kitchen set, dry erase board and wooden trucks after they placed their orders. They chose typical kid fare: French toast, a hot dog and a grilled cheese sandwich, all $4.50 per plate.
With their job done, they were off. They amused themselves in the corner while I read the menu. I saw French toast, pancakes, omelettes and the like. The Nook offers salmon on a bagel, crepes, pancakes and Belgium waffles. Food was priced at about $8.95 a plate. I’m not a breakfast person, so I turned to the lunch menu for salads and sandwiches.
I ordered the arugula salad ($8.95) and pulled pork sandwich ($7.95). Right about then, my kids’ food arrived, and they scarfed down their meals that were served with fruit. My food arrived shortly afterward, right when they were ready to go play again.
Ahhhh. When I take my three children out to lunch, I don’t expect Ahhh. But I was able to eat my meal in silence. My kids were contained, entertained and uninterested in me. It was awesome. I was free to eat my greens in peace. The beet and arugula salad was served with goat cheese. It was fine. It wasn’t Aquavit, but I wasn’t expecting gourmet. My pulled pork, however, was fantastic. It was moist, lean, not greasy. The sauce was slightly sweet and perfectly salty. That sandwich was everything I craved, served on a fresh baguette. I ordered a Thai iced tea that hit the spot. (The owner, Sheree Sarabhayavanija, also runs Spice II.)
I sampled my daughter’s French toast, and it was every bit as good as what I make her at home. I had tried the adult portion of the French toast at The Nook on a previous visit, and it was very different and very delicious. It’s made from a baguette and soaked in butter and cinnamon. I only treat myself to that kind of carb feast on occasion. The Nook’s is well worth the splurge.
The lunch market in Montclair is crowded with restaurants like Toast, Raymond’s and other heavyweight contenders. The Nook has its work cut out for it. Serving standard breakfast and lunch fare may or may not be enough in a location that has seen many restaurants come and go. Just last week, I saw a sign outside The Nook announcing the addition of wraps to their menu. I agree that they could offer more variety, and I hope they not only survive, but flourish in their culinary venture.
They are definitely onto something by offering a play area. Before now, the only other restaurants with play areas were McDonald’s on the Garden State Parkway and Ikea. The Nook is so much better.
After all, eating in peace is priceless.