The war is still ongoing. Hours before our dinner reservations at the NoMad I asked the trusted folks at the Chowhound forum the simple question: “To Chicken or not to Chicken”. Meaning, should I order their famous chicken dish considering…
a) It costs $79 (its for 2)
b) Its Chicken
Well, the overwhelming response was Yes, with a few Nos (including a resounding No 2 weeks after I already had it), and 1 “order what you feel like”. Considering chicken is not exactly something I’m ever in the mood for, I needed a little help with this one.
The NoMad, not to be confused with Nomad (you see the difference? These are in fact 2 different restaurants in NYC) is a 1 year old Daniel Humm and Will Guidara venture at the NoMad hotel. Eleven Madison Park light if you will (same duo behind that). Once inside there’s no mistaking that you are dining in a hotel. Your look most likely will determine the room they will sit you at. Apparently we look like ladies who lunch! Since it was sort of early (5:30 mind you, before Vanya, Pasha, Boris..er whatever its called. I don’t subscribe to the “you must eat in the theater district before a show” policy), there was plenty of light out, and with that glass ceiling this room was very well lit. For a while it felt like we were moved from one waiting room to a fancier waiting room. But I didn’t mind it so much. Within 30 minutes or so were suddenly surrounded with tourists, so I guess they confused us for ” tourist ladies who lunch” or something like that.
But the food was quite good. They start you off with their terrific freshly baked Focaccia-like flatbread with rosemary, sage, and a little bit of salt. Toppings change seasonally. This is perhaps as good as it gets as far as restaurant bread goes. Tagliatelle with king crab, lemon and black pepper was savory, with plenty of meaty crab to go around. But the egg stole the app show. Poached with asparagus, brown butter and quinoa, holy smokes it was good! The asparagus alone is worth the price of admission, and that grainy quinoa really tied everything together beautifully. Fantastic dish, as I say to the swedes to the right.
And then came the main event. They first present you the whole cooked chicken like a fine bottle of wine. I sniff it from both sides and enthusiastically approve. They take the bird away and bring it back carved for 2, with a nice plate of dark meat with garlic espuma (foamy light garlic goodness) to share. The chicken was divine. Perfectly crispy skin, moist juicy white meat, along with some foie gras and black truffles (all cooked) nicely tucked beneath the skin. Each bite of that combination together was a Tour de Force. French couple on the left agrees. With that kind of hoopla over an expensive dish as such, nothing less than the best chicken ever was expected, and it was. Well done NoMad people!
Desserts were fine as well. Although the famous Milk and Honey was the only underwhelming of the evening. The chocolate dessert was more like it. A spectacular meal overall. Weird setting but food prevailed to save the day.