On Sunday night we ate at the NoMad in The NoMad Hotel in NoMad. NoMad is the newly coined name for that area just north of Madison Square Park; with the entrance of the NoMad just this month, and where the Breslin and the John Dory call home, NoMad is becoming quite the area for good food (but not much else). The NoMad is the newest partnership of Daniel Humm, the chef at Eleven Madison Park, and Will Guidara, the manager at Eleven Madison. And it is a SUCCESS! It is more laid back than Eleven Madison and orders are mostly a la carte (although there is a 7-course family style tasting menu that I’d love to go back to try!), but the food is also amazing.
Before we start, I would just like to note that I can’t figure out the actual name of this place: The NoMad, the NoMad or NoMad? There is no real website yet (it is referred to on the hotel’s website as “a food and beverage program” and “the restaurant”). I don’t remember signs or the name on the menu. The blogs and reviewers are all calling it slightly different variations. I shall therefore just refer to it as the NoMad; just be sure you don’t mistake it for Nomad, a restaurant in the East Village that serves Moroccan food. I know, it’s all very confusing.
The dinner menu is divided into 3 categories: snacks, appetizers and entrees. We started with the croustillant stuffed with sweetbreads and parsley. If you’re looking for some yummy fried food, this is it! Although the stuffing is pretty unidentifiable - just delicious mush. Don’t order this if you really want something that highlights the sweetbreads. Next, my dinner companions all ordered the fruits de mer (first photo): an assortment of oyster, uni, hamachi, scallop, crab and lobster. While some fell flat (the uni was inundated with apple gelee and the crab was submerged in mayo), some rose to the occasion (the lobster was nice and salty and slightly spicy, served with a chili aioli, and the horseradish made the raw hamachi an edgy bite). Bonus: after the starters they serve the complimentary warm potato and leek focaccia. Mmmmm… carbs. Good carbs.
On to the appetizers: I tried the tagliatelle with king crab, parsley, meyer lemon and black pepper. It was…. luscious. Just like melted butter with sweet crab and a pinch of freshness.
But the best appetizer was the foie gras de torchon with tete de cochon (pig’s head), radishes and nasturtium (wild flowers). The foie gras is smooth, creamy and completely crazy decadent. The minced greens bring a brightness to the dish and the tete de cochon compliments with a savoriness and meaty texture. Serving it with the slightly bitter leaves and pickled radishes was an inspired turn from the classic sweet pairing. All spread on some nice buttered-up crusty bread. HEAVEN.
The entrees. Above, left: I ordered the roasted lobster with potato chips, spring vegetables and tarragon. It was fine. The one slight disappointment of the night. The flavors were good, the lobster was high quality, but it was all just too greasy. It was so weighed down in oil that the chips were damp and limp. And the whole presentation was a little more than I can take. I was brave in front of company, and I did my duty and ate my dish, but the whole little lobster splayed open like that, eyes and antenna and all, made my stomach turn. But that’s just me.
Above, right: the suckling pig confit with dried apricots, onions and wild greens was lip-smackingly good, although very heavy. I don’t think I could have eaten the whole thing…. well, maybe I could have. But my stomach would have hated me for it. The crisp layer of skin on top was sooo nice. Eleven Madison and Chef Humm are especially known for their pork, and this one does not disappoint.
The duck with roasted apples, dandelion and vadouvan (a French curry spice) was surprisingly awesome (not pictured). A perfect combination of salty and sweet. But it takes 2nd place to the scallops with seared sorrel, lemon, maitake mushrooms and garlic, onion, potato and squid ink crumble. WOW. Best dish of the night. Sooo earthy. The scallops were juicy and perfectly seared on top. It’s too hard to describe - just go, and whatever you do, you must order this!! We were all scraping the leftover crumble from the plate as the waiter was coming to clear the table.
For dessert, the milk & honey with shortbread, brittle and ice cream. Fantastic. The short bread is crunchy and crumbled in with freeze dried milk - it was like astronaut ice cream! The distinct taste of honey with the crackling crumble made me feel like I was indulging on honeycomb from a fairytale land, where everything is delicious (because in real life, as I’ve experienced, honeycomb is always disappointing and a sweet mouthful of wax - blah).
And, as if there wasn’t already enough hype about this place, the restaurant even has a promo video out! Man, I really wish I was a bad-a$$ chef…..