A special meal of staggering abundance and delight in an elegant, palatial space. Fans of Daniel Humm will recognize some of his moves from the extraordinary Eleven Madison Park in this a la carte menu.
To call The NoMad casual is missing the point. The plush, Gilded Age-inspired setting with sprawling, interconnected rooms and soaring ceilings feels more like a luxe castle owned by an eccentric rock and roll king than any restaurant. Yet this aura is fitting for a culinary king like Daniel Humm, who took the deepest, most pleasureful strokes of his cooking at Eleven Madison Park, piled them onto a single plate, and dropped them in a modern, grandiose hotel.
While many say that the experience of a dinner here is determined by the room in which you happen to be seated, this is woefully untrue. Sitting in low Victorian chairs in the Atrium, some of the most comfortable ever found in a restaurant, it's easy to admire the eclectic and lavish punches of the space, with a vaulted glass ceiling that reveals tall buildings peering down at your meal and fanciful, richly painted pilasters that evoke the perfect guise of glamor. The Parlour, alternatively, has more of the feel of a main dining room, slightly more intimate with burgundy and gold shining on every trimming. The smaller Bar and Library (the only room reserved for just guests of the hotel after 4 PM) offer only snacks and assume a more reserved cocktail feel, but all of the spaces in The NoMad are equally suited to providing the highest quality of dining.
The highlight of the menu is of course the Chicken, likely the most beloved bird in the city, hitting delightfully luscious and heavy flavors in every bite. Whole-roasted for two at $82 and presented to the table with its warm brown skin stuffed with foie gras, black truffle, and brioche, accompanied by lentils, brussels sprouts, and cotechino sausage, it's a meal that needs to be experienced in this lifetime. The whole bird is then carved back in the kitchen and plated with a little side of the dark meat then drenched in a silky bechamel sauce and topped with toasted bread crumbs. Because this process can take about 45 minutes to complete on a busier night, ordering a light snack or appetizer is recommended to stave off the pangs of hunger that come from eyeing the dishes on other tables.
The lightest and most artistically colorful beginning is the Crudite, with bright raw vegetables like cherry tomatoes, heirloom carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and radishes planted in a sparkling dish of ice around a surprisingly airy chive cream. If this kitchen garden isn't enough, the complimentary focaccia with charred onions, potato, and rosemary will certainly help pass the time as the sensory overloaded entrees arrive at your table.
With its celebrity chef at the helm, The NoMad is a glorious adventure perfect to New York. It is food that appropriately recalls the modernization of French haute cuisine in its setting, and then transforms yet again into irresistably appealing New American fare with expertly restrained opulence. Teetering on the edge of excess but firmly in control, The NoMad has become a wonderful, generous place to dine.