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Early Look at The NoMad

April 9, 2012

The blocks of Broadway between Herald Square and Madison Square Park has always been a desolate stretch.  With the Ace Hotel, the Breslin, the John Dory and Stumptown, a little bit of chic and trendy was breathed into the streets littered with stores selling wigs and random knick knacks.  And now, just one block away from the Ace Hotel, another rather impressive hotel opened up and with it, an equally impressive restaurant, the NoMad.  The restaurant is the project of Daniel Humm and Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park, offering a more low key menu in a still elegant and readily grown-up setting.

MD and I stopped by the NoMad last Tuesday for a little peek.  The second we stepped inside the heavy tall doors held open by two rather large gentlemen, all the noise and chaos of Broadway were left behind.  The restaurant was divided up into the bar, an atrium and the library room.  We were seated in the library in comfortable armchairs, next to a window into the open kitchen.  Soft blues notes floated throughout the room at a volume that was perfect for comfortable conversations.

We started the meal with two small snacks.  A little adorable jar of beef tartare spiked with a creamy horseradish and sweetbreads served rolled into egg roll form.  Both were slightly understated but were just enough to nibble on while debating the rest of the meal.

While we waited for our appetizers, a beautiful flat bread appeared.  This was warm and crispy around the edges, studded with scallions and laced with potatoes, making it impossible to resist even though I knew of the big meal ahead.

After much debate, we chose the foie gras and the tagliatelle for our appetizers.  The foie gras, smooth and creamy, was predictable  and reliable as any good foie gras should be.  What really excited me was the tagliatelle.  A small bowl of fresh tender tagliatelle was tossed with generous bites of lump King crab and brightened by the Meyer lemon butter sauce.  I think I could have been very happy if this was all I had to eat that night.

We moved onto the entrees (I rather unwillingly parting ways with the tagliatelle).  A confit suckling pig nestled in onionwild greens with dried apricots for MD and seared scallops with sorrell and maitake mushroom for me.  A tap revealed a golden crispy skin on top of the pig, a fantastic sign.  The meat was tender and milky and the sweet apricots were lovely with the salty pork.  While the scallops were a well executed dish, they were a bit less exciting than the pig.  Even though each scallop had a perfect sear and the maitake mushrooms were buttery and full of flavor, the herb puree at the bottom just didn’t do much to brighten the dish.

Even though we had worked our way through three dishes at this point, there was still room for a little bit something sweet.  At the urging of our waitress, we went with the Milk and Honey, a play on a popular dish that they serve at EMP, as well as a lighter lemon tart. The Milk and Honey had a rather simplistic description but this might be one of the most understated desserts on the whole menu.  A shallow bowl held three scoops of ice cream, drizzled with buckwheat honey.  These three scoops sat preciously on a bed of broken honey oat shortbread, milk foam, milk ice and freeze dried milk solids.  Each bite was crunchy and crispy yet creamy and smooth.  The flavors were light but distinct, ranging from a light cream to a toasted caramel.  At the end, it all came together to resemble a sophisticated bowl of honeycomb cereal, evoking that precious childhood memory.  While we were busy fighting over the Milk and Honey, the lemon, tasting of a deconstructed lemon meringue pie, went a little ignored.  This in its own right was a still a great dessert but I really wished we could have each had our own bowl of Milk and Honey.  This might have been the best dish of the whole evening.

From the music to the decor to the food, our meal at the NoMad had a distinctively grown-up feel about it, making this a great spot for a sophisticated experience without the white table cloth formality.  The service was attentive but not overbearing, setting a leisurely pace for the entirety of our dinner.  Portions were not tremendous which allowed you to try more than just one dish and the presentation was quite stunning, from the artistic palette of foie gras to the whimsical bee like Milk and Honey dessert.  I just wished that my camera was powerful enough to truly capture the beauty of each.   And I am happy to say after just one meal, I like you too, the NoMad.

The NoMad | 1170 Broadway, New York, NY 10001 | http://www.thenomadhotel.com/#/dining/menus

2 Comments leave one →
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