Nook in Arcadia: Happy Hour Report Card

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The Spot: Nook 3623 East Indian School Road, Phoenix 602-651-1390 www.nookkitchen.com

See Also: Nook in Arcadia Scores with Service and Ambiance

The Hours: Happy Hour is offered daily from 3 until 6 p.m.

The Interior: Simple and small, Nook fits right into the Gaslight Square scene with trendy and modern, yet casual, upscale vibes. Ample bar seating, a large community table, and a few choice lounge and booth spots are pretty much the extent of seating in this cozy Arcadia joint. The name Nook is no misnomer--the narrow, long restaurant with exposed brick walls is small, with happy hour goers nestled up to the bar primarily, elbows up in close quarters, cycling through all of the beer, wine, and appetizers Nook offers at discounted rates.

The Food: With a selection of bruschetta, appetizer plates, and salads, you can go for a healthy happy hour or get a little naughty. On the naughty side, fried arancini and steamy poutine are cheesy, starchy companions for a cold brew. Unfortunately, despite having good flavor, the arancini's ($5) pastey texture made it difficult to eat more than one. The poutine's thin brown gravy and queso fresco-like crumbly mozzarella cheese curds weren't quite what we expected from the dish, but it was tasty and only $5.

Venturing more toward healthy, the fig bruschetta ($7) seemed like it had all of the right elements: fig jam, salty prosciutto, creamy goat cheese, and asparagus. However, all together, the flavor was, well, weird to say the least. Plus, the bread's char didn't mean it had good crunch. Finally, the arugula salad ($5), was a nice, healthy finish with bell peppers, candied cashews, and a lemony dressing, but for veg heads, Nook also offers a discounted chicken chop salad.

The Drink: Glasses of wine for $5 and draft beers $5 per pint and under, as well as $4 Tito's vodka highballs, are the drink choices for Nook's happy hour. A fruity Cabernet Sauvignon and a lightly sweet Pinot Gris made up the wine selection. Anchor Steam, Kronnenbourg, Dogfishhead's 90 Minute IPA, and a bubbly, light beer-wine blend from Crismontane Brewery in California called The Mesa. The primarily pilsner blend featured a quarter of Riesling, giving it a tart sweetness that was refreshing and unique.

The Conclusion: While the bruschetta and other appetizers weren't total knockouts, they were all tasty enough and the price was right. The drinks aren't a phenomenal deal, but the selection has a little something for everyone. All in all, it was an okay happy hour and a good one to stop at and try if you're in the area.

Grade: B+

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