This past week I was in NYC overnight and had the pleasure of staying
at the less than one year old hotel the NoMad located at Broadway and
28th Street. It was fun to return to the Garment District, where my
father had his over for well over 1/2 a century and I visited often,
but never to such a wonderful restaurant.
The NoMad Restaurant(http://www.thenomadhotel.com/#/dining) in the
hotel is owned and run by the same team just several blocks south
(hence the name) at Eleven Madison park (probably our favorite fine
dining spot in NY).
Swiss Chef Daniel Humm moves between the two locations and was
actually sitting at a table near me for much of the time I was there!
The space is made up of several rooms with one large central room
under the large glass ceiling built to cover the courtyard in the
center of the hotel, a historic building beautifully restored. It is
comfy, but a bit noisy, and while I arrived for dinner at 9pm, the
noise never really abated (I left at midnight). The side rooms are
quieter and the one with the fireplace is where I would love to return
to next time I visit.
The service here is supreme, and while it is not the 3-star ten-people-
waiting-on-you-constantly style of Eleven Madison Park, my 6 foot 5
inch Lurch-sized server Lucas and the sommelieuse Nicole, were both
there whenever I seemed to need them.
There is house filtered sparkling water which I always like and an
amazing wine and cocktail list as well. I started with a 1/2 bottle of
Billuad-Simon Montee de Tonnere 1er Cru 2009 Chablis upon Nicole's
suggestion. She said it would pair with my first courses well and that
we could move on from there.
I had many problems trying to pick and choose from the many options,
but had just come from the Relais et Chateaux annual NY hotelier
showcase and two people there had instructed me on what to order: "a
special seafood platter" and the duck. Well, I tend to stay away from
those seafood platters and they are more ice than interesting, but I
listened to Lucas and changed my mind very fast.
"Le Grand Plateau Fruits de Mer" is a small tray-bowl filled with
shaved ice came with six separate amuse like dishes within. At $24,
this comes to $4 per amuse; a pretty reasonable price I think:
Oyster with mignonette (nice, tasty, but nothing out of the ordinary)
Scallop Ceviche with Pistachio & Cilantro served in the scallop shell
(ok, we are getting better here)
Alaskan King Crab with Avocado Mousse served in an open-sided crab leg
shell--now we are talking!
Lobster & Jalapeno aioli was tasty and fun
Himachi with Fresh Grated Horseradish was intense, but I like
horseradish and this was like a Passover treat!
The winner was the Sea Urchin Panna Cotta with apple which I was happy
was the largest of them all and gave me time to enjoy bites at the
start, middle and end.
Since I told Lucas I adored sweetbreads he suggested the SWEETBREADS
Croustillant with Parsley which was listed under the "snack" column
rather than appetizer. Lucas was dead on. It was a portion of four
miniature scalding hot egg rolls stuffed with sweetbreads. Once I let
them cool a bit they were crunchy and divine.
While these were two dishes, Lucas was right when he said they were
wonderful, but not filling. I was then torn between several appetizers
and went with his ideal suggestion of the PRAWN poached with CLAM,
POTATO & BACON. This was like a foamish chowder...not too thick or
heavy, but not too empty like some of those awful chemical foams chefs
can make these days. Crisp bacon and cripy potato, tiny clams and
perfectly poached shrimp made up the guts of the ethereal dish with a
dash of dill.
Somewhere in this time frame a mini-loaf of Onion Fingerling Potato
Dill Bread arrived which melted in my mouth. I wanted to finish it
all, but knew it would destroy me; so I asked to have the remaining
3/4 packed up for breakfast in my room the next day.
I had already decided on the Roasted DUCK with Braised Salsify, Orange
and Red Watercress which I asked Lucas to hold for 30 minutes while I
chose a wine and rested. Nicole and I hemmed and hawed for a while and
decided on a bottle of Olga Raffault "Les Picasses" 1990 Chinon
(Cabernet Franc) which was green, minerally and earthy at 23 years
old. It seemed more logical to enjoy this fantastic rare wine at some
higher price than 3 glasses at some $20 each! While I sipped my wine
I noticed oh so many aromas floating by as the space is small and one
tends to see and smell just about every dish that comes out of the
kitchen. Indeed, the Asian couple to one side of me enjoyed their food
quite fast and spent their whole meal on their smart phones. The
Swedish couple on my other side were wonderful and we chatted about
food, wine and more as we shared our wines.
By the way, NoMad uses Riedel Crystal, but also a modernish one called
Zalto which is very nice.
The Long Island Peking Duck arrived and it came in three roulades with
wonderfully crispy skin
on a puree of blood orange with puree of same and salsify chips along
with the braised. Orange salt was tasty, but perhaps a bit too intense
for all the flavors on the plate, which I would order again in a
I knew that the Swiss chef adored his native cheeses and could not
resist the platter of 5 Swiss cheeses:
Tomme Vaudoise-raw cow that was creamy and brie-like but milder from
Mont Vully-raw cow from Cressier that was tasty and sharp
Emmentaler-super earthy raw cow
Petit Vaccarinus-raw cow from La Chaux that put me in creamy gooey
Buffalo Blue from Liechtenstein that was another rare treat!
These came with Apple Butter Compote that was unexciting, but the
cheeses are not to be missed; perhaps next time I will go for the
Chocolate Malted Ganache, Chocolate Fondant and Malted Ice Cream I saw
at a nearby table!
There are indeed no amuses, no mignardises and no extras, and while
the prices are high here, they are oh so worthy of the top quality
food, service and experience one expects from the Eleven Madison Park