The little group of friends I eat all of my cow stomachs and whole suckling pigs with all love Eleven Madison Park but don’t want to necessarily drop $300 on a tasting menu on a random Wednesday night. Luckily, there’s The NoMad restaurant in the NoMad Hotel, where Chef Daniel Humm is serving the same elevated food for, you know, the same elevated prices, but at least you can only order two or three courses here if you want to save your pennies. The service was as kind and polished as you’d expect from a restaurant by this chef, the atmosphere as dark and cool as you’d expect from a hotel that’s as much known for its bar as anything. As with EMP, most of the food you get at The NoMad is a really great version of a thing you probably already like–I’ll never forget the “picnic” I had there once–but this is also the kind of place that’ll also make you like food you thought you didn’t.
Like at Eleven Madison Park, our onion bread was replaced at least three times to ensure we always had a warm loaf.
One of our friends is a friend of the house at EMP and The NoMad, so we got a couple of gifts from the kitchen that we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to try. This display of raw vegetables on ice was beautiful if a little hilarious at $14, but we decided they’re charging for the little bowl of chive cream in the center, which was better than any ranch dip.
Another gift, these little radishes were dipped in butter and fleur de sel that formed a little shell around them, like a bowl of ice cream with some Magic Shell poured on top. Except, you know, with way more fat and salt.
This is what I wanted to order for my starter, but I was told that I HAD to try the fruits de mer on my first visit. With all of the meats and mustards and pates on this board, though, there’s no way I’m passing this up next time.
fruits de mer
But also, to be fair, you have to get the fruits de mer on your first visit. I thought it was going to be a couple of oysters, a few clams, some cocktail sauce, the same thing a hundred restaurants in the city are serving. But that was stupid. Of course this was a ~special~ fruits de mer platter with heavily manipulated sea meats. There was uni with a gelee that made it a dish for appreciating textures, a hamachi with horseradish, and a scallop with an overpowering yuzu flavor, which I think we can agree is one of the best flavors on Earth. There was a spicy lobster salad served in the claw with tarragon, and my favorite, a crab mousse with pieces of shredded crab and basil in the center. I liked this so much I can’t imagine not ordering it every time.
Salad with hazelnuts, cucumber, and basil.
With chicken liver, caramelized onions, and sage. This is for the person (me) who secretly thinks liver is too iron-y, because the meat is blended into the sauce so nicely that it just makes it rich and earthy, not specifically liver-y. The pasta itself was very al dente, maybe too al dente for some, so bring a noodle from home done to your exact specifications to give to the kitchen if you’re particular.
Roasted with lard, parmesan, and lemon.
roast chicken for two
I once had the duck for two at Eleven Madison Park and said, “Whatever they’re charging for this thing, it’s worth it.” I guess now I know they’re charging $89 for it, and it’s still worth it. First, of course, they bring the chicken out to show it to you in its roasting pot, partly because they’re about to give you a veeeeery small amount of food and want you to know that they really did cook a whole chicken for you no matter what ends up on the plate. (What you don’t see on the plate gets used in the sauce.)
The breast is the main attraction here, thanks to the foie gras and black truffle that’s mixed with brioche to form a stuffing for the chicken skin. The skin is so crisp that it flakes off, but the meat is still tender and rich thanks to the protection of that stuffing. The grilled ramps were so sweet, while the ramp puree was more mild.
A little crock of the dark meat is served with ramps, leeks, and potato écrasé. It seems like such a small amount of food, but with all of the creaminess and crunchiness, it’s so rich that you’ll wish you’d stopped earlier about halfway through. We didn’t stop there, of course, and also got the optional growler of Brooklyn Brewery’s Brown Ale on the side just to make it more of a calorie splurge.
milk & honey
The dessert the restaurant is most known for. Honey oat shortbread, brittle, and milk foam meringue gave this different levels of crunchiness, and I was a huge fan of its saltiness. And who knew that milk ice cream could be so good? All ice cream is milk ice cream!
Carrot cake with walnuts, cream cheese, and pineapple sorbet.
Saw this granita with crema and vanilla ice cream, didn’t taste it, biggest life regret.
New York, NY 10001 (map)