Probably the most hyped restaurant opening of 2012 would be The NoMad in the Gramercy hotel of the same name. Brought to us by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara of New York Times Four Starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park, The NoMad is the newest addition to the fine dining options in New York. The hotel itself is located on 27th and Broadway, a busy and rather commercial block, but the building itself is very classic and elegant. Make a right through the entrance and you’ll find yourself at the hostess station. The NoMad is designed in a very classic fashion. There is a dark wood bar towards the back, a more formal dining room with dark red chairs and more dark woods and a fire place off to the right. The center of the restaurant appears to be the “main dining room” and features a skylight which allows the room to appear less heavy than he rest of the restaurant. Everything points to The NoMad being on par with other restaurants such as Daniel and Le Bernardin, well hopefully not food wise with Le Bernardin, but something about the ambiance of The NoMad seems more like a very upscale Hotel restaurant than a top New York restaurant. The atmosphere, to me, is very similar to that of The Mark by Jean Georges. The rooftop however is stunning and does offer a $120 tasting menu along with a private dining room in the roof’s dome.
The menu itself is American but with a few scattered international influences. The lunch and dinner menu don’t differ much except for the fact that the Suckling Pig is offered only during dinner service and the prices are the same no matter what time you dine. To start I had the Hamachi Crudo with English Peas, Olio Verde and Horseradish and the Poached Egg with Quinoa, Asparagus and Parmesan. The Hamachi was quite fresh but the Olio Verde was quite salty. The spiciness of the horseradish was able to somewhat counter the salt but I still wasn’t completely thrilled with the dish. The Poached Egg had the same issue as well. After I had the Duck with Fennel and Peaches as well as the Tagliatelle with King Crab. The duck was tender and cooked perfectly however the skin was, again, far too salty. Luckily the pear was able to balance the flavors but the duck was almost inedible on it’s own. The Tagliatelle however, was probably the only dish that I tried that actually needed salt. The dish was quite small for an entree portion and was quite bland overall. Despite the lackluster food, the bar program is superb. The Library lounge downstairs has bottle service that comes with your own personal mixologist and try the Morning Glory Fizz if you’re there.
It’s not that the food at The NoMad isn’t good, it’s just that the food should be better for all the hype surrounding it and for what they’re charging you. A meal at The NoMad will not cost you under $80 and for food that is prepared by an Eleven Madison Park alum I would expect something a bit better. The atmosphere and bar program are wonderful which is why I am probably going to give this restaurant another chance during dinner but as of now, I can’t fully recommend The NoMad.