North of Madison Avenue, in an unexpected corner on Broadway and 28 Street stands a fully restored, turn of the century Beaux-Arts building in all of its original splendor. Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara (the powerhouse behind the 3-Michelin star rated Eleven Madison Park) have opened these grand doors to welcome us to their first solo venture, The NoMad Hotel.
French designer Jacques Garcia kept the interiors classically Parisian and the 168 rooms timelessly styled with original artwork. Since the first Maison Kitsuné boutique in America can be found at the hotel, I had to pop in and see it for myself. Then I strolled past the lobby and into the restaurant for lunch where I was delighted to find tables basking in daylight from the surrounding glass atrium. It underscored the soaring ceilings and created a warmth and glow through the space.
At once light and airy, hanging ivy gently fell from terra cotta columns and whisked my imagination to a forlorn romance somewhere off in a vineyard. But the wistful dining room also remained exquisitely refined, with chairs draped in luscious silk and heavy curtains adorning the doorways.
The menu achieves this same balance of refined yet approachable items, featuring rustic, French-inspired fare from this James Beard winning chef. The first thing I did was order a Bloody Mary. I had to get my daily dose of veggies! It was perfectly sweet and spicy and didn't need any tweaking at all.
Before I could even batt an eyelash at the waiter, he brought over this gorgeous loaf of bread, still warm from the oven, and baked with onions and potatoes. I practically devoured the entire thing and really couldn't help myself with such soft, flavorful bites topped with delicate, crispy onions. This is just the amuse!
The Poached Egg [$17] with quinoa and asparagus arrived in a rich and creamy brown butter sabayon that created a delicious soup with which to coat the asparagus and crunchy quinoa. The quinoa had a medley of preparations: some boiled, some dehydrated, and all of it fried to get that textural crunch. And to amplify the dish? Slivers of parmesan melted into the golden egg yolk and parmesan foam swirled around the plate. A truly exceptional dish, and probably not unheard of to sop up some buttery sabayon with any remaining crumbs of that onion bread.
The Lobster Tagliatelle [$19] was stunningly supple and easily some of the freshest tasting pasta I have ever had. Prepared in a simple sauce of butter, Meyer lemon and black pepper, the sweetness of the Alaskan king crab became perfectly pronounced. Each bite was velvety with butter and the soft noodles held the freshness of the lemon. This dish was beyond incredible in its simplicity and was definitely not easy to share.
The seared scallops with sorrel, lemon and lightly braised maitake mushrooms were drizzled in a pea puree and fennel. I loved the lemony scallops and how the dish showcased some great seasonal ingredients.
I will have to come back here to try the very expensive roast chicken. And so should you. Apparently it has foie gras, truffles and morels tucked beneath the skin for an unforgettable experience. And although the chicken arrives fully in tact, the dark meat and white meat are each cooked separately before regaining their place on your plate. (Maybe that $78 price tag doesn't sound so crazy after all... especially for us Californians who will soon endure a ban on foie gras!)
Finally, your waiter will present to you this very tempting dessert cart filled with lemon curd meringue tarts, raspberry macaroons, and chocolate carmel confections sprinkled with fleur de sel. Don't be mad at him for gently gliding by with a cartful of temptation. Sometimes it's enough just to take a looksie...
In case you weren't already mad with desire, the 24 foot mahogany bar next to the library is run by the award winning mixologist, Leo Robistchek. Since The NoMad opened in April, the only madness you will find there are the maddening crowds scrambling to get a table.
1170 Broadway New York, NY 10001