Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nookies Too

Twas a rainy new years eve morning when I was rudely awoken by my most avid brunch loving friend Steven Safron. He was on his way in town and wanted to gather a crew to meet for a meal. Now Saffy is about as entertaining as my friends get, especially when it comes to brunch. For instance, in Champaign he's no longer welcome at Le Peep because of a hilarious altercation he had with the owner when he came in 10 minutes before closing (in the owner's defense Saffy'd been coming in right before closing for years). Either way, I was enticed and headed off to Nookies Too with my roommates.

The original plan was to put our party down for 6 (us 3 roomies, Saffy, and the Erikas), but then people started coming out of the wood work. Ricky failed to tell us that our buddy Scott was coming along. Then Saffy told me his friend Omair was coming. So I'm sure the hostess hated us when we kept adding to our party. Finally, our friend Lee woke up and said he was on his way, but at this point I was too ashamed to tell the hostess (when he finally showed up we just squeezed him in).

I've been here one time before and feel that I have to tell a little story. So it was Noam and I, and Noam knew just what he wanted (without looking at the menu). Here's the basic dialogue.

Noam: I'll have an espresso, a half a grapefruit, and a croissant.
Waitress: I'm sorry, but we don't have croissants.
Noam: Well then I'll take a scone or something.
Waitress: Well we don't have pastries.
Noam: Fine, then I'll just take an espresso and the half grapefruit.
Waitress: The problem is the only fruit we have is like the side of fruit you get that's all chopped up and mixed.
Noam: Well what does that include?
Waitress: Umm maybe some melon, cantaloupe, and strawberries.
Noam: I'll pass then and just go for the espresso.
Waitress: Is a regular coffee alright?

Logistics
Nookies Too is relatively medium sized for a storefront breakfast joint, but it seems that everyone and their mom from DePaul likes to go there for brunch. Our wait time was a little over 45 minutes. Thankfully they gave us pagers so that we could wait outside, which was great since it was abnormally warm out. They also don't like to sit you until your whole party is there, and leave it to the Erikas to show up after Safron. I suggest going with less people at an off hour if you've just got to eat here.

They sat us at a pretty good sized table right near the kitchen window, which most people don't like, but I like seeing all of the food come out. Our waitress was very nice and patient with some of the unbelievably altered orders of my companions. The food did take a pretty long time though, and when it came out it seemed clear that some of our dishes had been sitting around waiting for the others (congealed cheese, cold potatoes, that sort of thing).

The cost is pretty reasonable with most main dishes running around $8. What's nice is that they've got some cheaper options too, like my Huevos Rancheros for $5.50.

The Food
It was a pretty regular breakfast order for our crew. We started off with coffee which was pretty average, especially when half of it ended up on Saffy's jeans. This was a devastating development however since these were the only pants he'd brought for the weekend (my entertainment was thusly fulfilled). Most people got omelettes (a lot went for the chicken sausage as a key ingredient), the professor got a breakfast croissant sandwich, Erika got some kind of skillet, I think Omair got the Hash and Eggs, and I got the Huevos Rancheros. I got to try a bunch of the omelettes which I think were just alright. They were very inconsistent as to how done they were. Still, the chicken sausage was pretty good, and they did have a nice amount of veggies. The Huevos Rancheros was a little sub par but mostly by design and not execution. The beans, rice, and salsa were all very plain in flavor. The eggs were poached nicely though, and it was pretty cheap. Scott made a point of asking for his hash browns well done to which the waitress responded that they all come out well done. It was disappointing when every dish (besides one) came out with undercooked potatoes.

The Breakfast Croissant Sandwich
The Hash and Eggs

The Spinach and Chicken Sausage Omelette

The Farmer's Eggs Skillet

The Huevos Rancheros

 The Denver Omelette (with Chicken Sausage instead of Ham)

 The Wheat Toast
(Modeled by Lee Hillman)

Overall
There's nothing at Nookies Too that you can't get at any other breakfast restaurant in the city, but if you decide to go there you can wait around a while for a table and your food. If the food were solid all around, I'd say this was a good standard breakfast place, but really it was just alright (plus they don't have espressos, pastries, or grapefruit). One really nice thing was how they accommodated our group. We all got separate checks without any hassle, we were able to add to our party, and we had a nice large table. I've heard that some of the lunch options are pretty solid, and if I ever get the call to go back that's what I'm going for. I'm giving Nookies Too 2 out of 5 Pearls.



Nookies Too on Urbanspoon

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