Before I get started, I must disclose that this meal was comped. Apparently the FTC can now fine me thousands of dollars for not letting my readership know about freebies. Mario and I were invited to Piedmont park-side restaurant The Nook by one of the owners, Adam, to check out new executive chef Michael Gogolin. Gogolin is former Chef de Cuisine at the Marlow’s Tavern franchise (which I hear good things about) and was head chef at the Vinings location. I hear The Nook has not gotten good reviews on its food in the past, but when Mario and I stopped in one drizzly evening, we were not disappointed.
The place was not especially busy when we came in, so we got a good look at the space, which we both liked. The bar area is the room’s focal point, with booths lining the walls for those who want a more “nook”-like experience. The main attraction is likely the large patio, which was available (though enclosed and equipped with heaters) that night, but we only saw one small group braving the cold outside. We decided to start with an app of “Ooh Ooh Bread” (topped with creamy Parmesan cheese, onion, garlic and mayo that is lightly toasted and served with homemade marinara sauce), which I think we chose based on the name alone:
Loved. This. Bread. But I mean who doesn’t love cheesy garlic bread? You could really taste the “homemade” in the homemade marinara, my first comment was on how fresh the tomatoes in it tasted. For entrees, I tried what is apparently Chef Gogolin’s specialty, the shrimp and grits (Sautéed shrimp, shallots and garlic in a smoked tomato beurre blanc sauce, served with fried Andouille sausage and Gouda cheese studded grit cakes and sautéed spinach) and Mario had the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger (Half pound C.A.B. burger smothered with our homemade Coca-Cola® BBQ sauce and topped with Cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon and fried tobacco onions, minus onions) and sweet potato fries:
This was a different take on shrimp and grits, and I liked it. I wasn’t sure I’d like the tomato-based sauce, but it was actually quite good and complimented the smoky grit-cake nicely. The sautéed spinach, another unlikely addition, was also a nice touch. My shrimp were large and well cooked and seasoned. The plate looked small at first, but proved to be more than I could eat in one sitting (but tasted just as good the next day). Mario enjoyed his cheeseburger as well. The Coca-Cola BBQ sauce was a little sweeter than he liked (I agreed) and I think maybe would have benefited from some more smoky flavor. Sweet potato fries are probably his new favorite side order, and he thought The Nook did a great job with theirs. Chef Gogolin even came by to say hello before we left, and I really think he’s doing a nice job with the food at The Nook.
The Nook is located on Piedmont near the corner of 14th St. The location is a little awkward–if you drive to the end of 14th, you won’t be able to get to it because Piedmont becomes a one-way. Loop the block from Peachtree to 13th instead. Again, the space is really nice and intimate, and with a number of flat screens it would be a great spot to catch a game. On that note, they have $1 Yuengling drafts on Sundays, and have a good specialty for sharing (anytime, not just Sunday)–Totchos: nachos made with tater tots. Check their website for a number of upcoming events including Superbowl, Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras parties.