Monday, March 3, 2014

The NoMad

For my birthday dinner with Mr. M&P, I usually pick a fancier place. It's something special when he takes me out to a nice dinner. The NoMad has been on my go-to list for awhile now. I've been a fan of Chef Daniel Humm's cooking when I dined at Eleven Madison Park (when it was Danny Meyer owned). I wanted to experience what else he had up his sleeve.
We started the meal with the beef tartare ($16) with cornichons, horseradish, and toasted brioche on the side. The beef was cut into tiny pieces and dressed lightly. It was really rich and luxurious without being overwhelming. We each scooped the beef and piled it high on the toast. Restaurants just never give people enough bread with these types of dishes. We both really enjoyed the lightness of the food even though it was red  meat.

After our little nosh was whisked away, the bread service came around. Instead of a basket of goodies to choose from, the Nomad offers a more rustic approach with foccacia bread and a knife.
For our appetizers, Mr. M&P chose the egg ($17) which included a poached egg with braised kale and barley risotto. This is one the dishes that changes with the seasons. The accompanying vegetables are alternated with whatever is at the market. In the spring, you may find asparagus instead. Anyway, this dish was beautifully made. Soft creamy egg with a completely runny yolk that spread through the winter vegetables and earthy mushrooms.
For myself, I picked the tagliatelle ($20) with king crab, meyer lemon, and black pepper. This pasta dish was really good. Al dente noodles, sweet tender king crab meat, tart lemon, and spicy black pepper. A really nice well rounded dish which I would think is more suited for summer but worked well in the dead of winter.
And for our main course, I had to get the chicken ($79) to share. This roasted bird is stuffed with foie gras, truffles, and brioche under the skin. The skin is crisp and shellacked until browned. They bring it to the table for the oohs and aahs. The sight is beautiful but the smell is intoxicating. You can smell the butter and herbs before the waiter even gets to your table.
After showcasing the chicken in front of you and basically everyone else in the restaurant, they take it back to the kitchen to carve up. The breasts are removed and served whole with some roasted vegetables. The breast was really tender, juicy, and the skin crisp. But the real winning component of this dish is the sauce. Oh that jus on the bottom was incredible. It really highlighted every element on that plate. I really wish I had more because that plate was stark white after I was done with it. So good!
But that's not all, folks! They strip the chicken of all the dark meat and mix it with a mustard butter sauce. I loved this dish. The dark meat was so silky and almost velvety. Tender pieces of flavorful chicken enhanced with tartness from the mustard and more richness from the butter. Oh man, this was really, really good chicken.
Editor's Note: Before I move onto dessert, I want to address what a lot of people say about this chicken dish. Too often I hear "$79 for chicken?!" or "That chicken was really small". What these people don't realize is that Chef Humm is sourcing his chicken from a well respected farm that treats their animals with care. No hormone injected birds here. Also, humanely raised animals are much happier animals. They get to eat their natural diets, run around, and play. When you run around and play, you get leaner. Well, guess what? This chicken isn't going to be all breast like those supermarket birds you see. Nope, it's what chicken is supposed to look like. Oh and one last thing. You're not just paying for chicken. You're also paying for the foie gras and truffles that is going under the skin. Not cheap ingredients. If you think it's still overpriced, please try and replicate this dish at home with these exact results and see how well you do.

And now moving on to dessert. With the both of us extremely full, we shared one dessert. But really, it was just my dessert because I picked the lemon tart ($14) with almond shortbread and ricotta ice cream. The custard was so citrusy and just the perfect sweetness. The shortbread was sweet and nutty while the ice cream was creamy and smooth. Everything just really worked well together.
I really enjoyed myself at the NoMad. The food was outstanding and the service friendly (maybe it was because he looked like the doppleganger of Nommables). The space was really dark (hence the quality of the pictures) and the noise level higher than I expected. It was a young feeling ambiance (maybe due to the location of being inside a trendy hotel) but the clientele was both young and old.

The NoMad
1170 Broadway
New York, NY 10001
(212) 796-1500
thenomadhotel.com

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