Last week, just days after I stopped eating like a rabbit, I was supposed to meet up with the renowned McDonald’s loving supreme foodie of the world for an evening of meat sweats after eating at the newly reopened Nook in St. Paul. However, following some lame excuse about having to fly to DC for the week for work on last minute’s notice, we had to postpone. Even though he’s a commensurate con artist I decided to give him another chance and checked in again with Rotten Ronnie’s best friend to see if he was ready to hit The Nook this week instead. He agreed to meet up with me on Thursday at 11 AM sharp. I was told that if I was not there by 11 AM it was unlikely we’d get a seat because by 11:15 the place would be packed.
I parked my car across the street and watched, then followed, a group of five who stumbled out of their cramped car and into the door under the green awning proudly announcing The Nook. As I did, MSPD strolled out of a shop next door carrying a gigantic man purse. After several mentions of the manliness of his purse and how proud he should be of it, we entered the restaurant and were quickly ushered to a table in the middle of the freshly made over establishment and handed menus which we didn’t really need.
MSPD has been talking for years about his love of The Nook’s “Nookie Supreme”, described on the menu as a double decker cheeseburger with special sauce and sized in, “near mythical proportions,” which comes with The Nook’s homemade fries for $8.95. A note underneath offers the chance to win a free t-shirt if you can finish two of the beasts–something I would have seriously considered if The Budget Nazi (TM) hadn’t reminded me that we were doing Corner Table for Father’s Day next weekend.
We placed our orders, noting that we’d both like to our Nookie Supremes medium-rare and mine with sauteed onions, and the friendly server dashed off to get them into the kitchen. In what seemed like mere seconds, she was back with fresh drinks and our orders. As soon as she sat the behemoth in front of me my eyes bugged out of my head. While I read the description and knew they were known for large burgers, I clearly had absolutely no idea what I was in for. When The Nook says they have big burgers, it means you’re going to eat what has to be one pound (16oz) of beef, three pieces of fresh baked bun from the bakery around the corner, two very thick slices of cheddar, lettuce, onions, and sauce on top of a very generous serving of fries. Wow.
I immediately began to take a few photos and heard one of the servers sneak up behind me to take a peek. Just as I snapped one of the burgers towering over the table I heard her say, “that’s the money shot!” She was right of course–it was one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen. Once I was done with the photos, all while listening to MSPD whine about how hungry he was and telling me to hurry up, he offered some suggestions on how to tackle the burger from his record setting 3,512 visits:
- 1. Once you pick up the Nookie Supreme do not put it down or it will fall apart on you.
2. As you eat it let the sauce and cheese drip over the fries.
Heeding the advice of a master I grabbed a hold of the steak knife sticking out of the top of the burger all while feeling a little like King Arthur as he pulled Excalibur from the stone and took the beauty and held it close to my mouth. With both hands, I did my best to mash the sandwich down some so that I could get my jaw around it. The first bite cleared all of the many wonderful layers and exposed the medium rare top patty and the very rare bottom patty. Just as I did so our server happened to be passing by and said proudly, “I just love it when they’re actually cooked medium rare.” In a daze I kept going with only a nod. This was a bit like a fairytale. A dream come true. I found God at The Nook and I was going to do my best to ensure my offering was made.
Without as much as a single breath I took the beast down leaving only the sauce and cheese covered fries. MSPD looked up from his own perfectly cooked Nookie Supreme in astonishment that I was able to wolf it down like I did.
While I hate the mess it left on my hands and fingers (please note the sauce all over MSPD’s fingers and hands in the photo linked above) I loved it more than I could ever say. Everything about the Nookie Supreme was perfect. The meat was seasoned well, the onions were never overpowering and left only a sweet hint of their existence as my teeth raked through the layers, and the cheese and sauce melded just right to offer the best topping to a burger I’ve ever had. No ketchup was needed here. Nope, just absolutely spot on perfection as delivered. I usually find it hard to get excited over a burger, especially in Minnesota–land of 10,000 degrees required to cook anything per health department regulations–but this, this burger will be one I rave about for years to come and to which all others are compared. Move over King’s Place, you’ve been dethroned.
After I finished the meat sweat inducing pile I began on the fries. As you may already know I generally find fries to be more of an annoyance and money waste than anything. However, being that these are homemade and now covered with awesomeness I dug in. The fries were definitely good and MSPD was right that allowing the burger’s yummy drippings to cover the fried potatoes. They were crisp and light yet had enough substance that I felt quite satisfied with them. Overall, while I can still certainly do without fries in the future, they were definitely some of the best fries I’ve ever had.
Overall I was astonished at how amazing The Nook’s burgers are. In fact, in one of my trademark single line reviews on Twitter following my visit I remarked, “The Nook: simply [f'in]* amazing.” If you have not been to The Nook, run. You, like me, have missed eating something which I consider a religious experience. If you haven’t been to The Nook since the fire, go back. It’s beautiful, somehow retains character, and the prices can’t be beat–especially when the competition is so very overpriced and mediocre.
Have you ever eaten at The Nook or any of their other locations? If so what did you think? Have you been there after the fire? Do you think it has changed any? What is your favorite burger? Have you done the Nookie Supreme challenge? Whatever you have to say about The Nook go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.
492 Hamline Ave S
St Paul, MN 55116
See all the pictures from The Nook on Flickr here.