Some restaurants just ride the buzz of their openings, becoming the hot restaurant by nature of being brand new. The mediocre and less than mediocre spots quickly peter out and fall off people’s radars while others settle into their groove. But few stay as hot as when they first opened. The NoMad is one of those delicious exceptions that’s managed to be as relevant and hard to get into now as it was when it opened just less than a year ago. It’s an undeniably sexy space with a series of rooms and scenes, including the bar with its killer cocktails, the library for light bites and several dining rooms to sample a taste of Daniel Humm’s much celebrated Roast Chicken with Foie Gras Stuffing or the equally as famous Milk & Honey dessert.
There’s a fine wine list and one of the best cocktail lists in New York City, so I suggest starting the meal with a tequila-based Fig & Thistle or a rum-based Hair Trigger. The Tagliatelle mingled with King Crab is still a signature on the menu and one worth getting, but there are some exciting newcomers, like Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower with an ingenious mix of Grapes, White Cheddar and Marcona Almonds — a crunchy, earthy, sweet and salty amalgam that’s surprisingly satisfying for an appetizer with no real protein to speak of.
But my favorite dish was the Fruits De Mer Plateau. I’m a raw bar girl and I love a good tiered seafood platter, but the one at The Nomad makes all other seafood platters seem, well, ordinary. Take, for instance, the luscious Sea Urchin Panna Cotta with Apple Gelee and a teeny dicing of fresh apples and caviar on top. That’s just one of the precious nibbles on the platter.
Then came the $78 Roast Chicken, which happens to be worth every penny.
It’s presented in all its shiny, crispy skinned glory to the table with a few fresh twigs of rosemary sticking out of it, then sliced behind kitchen doors and returned in two parts. The first is a moist, Snowy White Breast with a Foie Gras Stuffing that’s to die for. How could it not be when it’s composed of Black Truffles, Brioche and Foie Gras? It’s served over a crazy creamy, truffle-laced puddle of Mashed Potatoes. Then, there’s the dark meat, which is just as moist as the white and served with morels. Humm is a master of novel flavor combinations that seem to revive any dish. Take, for instance, the Duck, roasted and lifted by huckleberry, turnips and a zesty dose of lime. Or Seared Scallops with Celery Leaves and Squid Ink — a dish that makes you forget it’s still winter for another few weeks.
As for dessert, the Milk & Honey is not only interesting, it’s oddly nostalgic of Honey Nut Cheerios with milk. Of course, it’s much more complicated than that. And the rest are just as unique and satisfying. Humm and his partner Will Guidara have taken haute to a hip level at The NoMad and New York is better for it.