A pre-mature endorsement: The NoMad – A quaint oasis in the middle of NoMan’s land

Before delving into a proper review of the place, I want to discuss its location.  The NoMad is a hotel/restaurant combination located on Broadway at 28th Street aka NoMan’s land.  The strip of Broadway between 23rd street and 34th street is unquestionably the worst segment of street in New York.  It is filled with run down shops, shady street peddlers and wig stores. If you told me I was in the crappiest portion of any city in the country I would believe you. If you told me we were in a 3rd world country, I would also believe you.  I don’t walk in this area at night, and try to avoid it during the day if at all possible.  It is an underdeveloped, run-down strip in otherwise one of the world’s best cities. How this strip still exists today is a mystery – with the exception of the NoMad and the nearby Ace hotel, it looks as if no one has spent a dollar to develop the neighborhood in 20 years.  I despise it.

The NoMad hotel, from the outside is no more than a man standing outside a decently-nice door.  Yet inside is what is becoming a budding NY hotspot. 

Let’s start with the décor. Some French guy designed the place to try to give it a unique feel.  The pictures look great, but in reality it is just another corporate-feeling hotel.  I despise hotels for that very reason. While this one has a bit more color, it is not that interesting.

More important, though, is a review of the restaurant. I had a leisurely lunch there with a friend.  While still rough around the edges and unquestionably overpriced, this place is headed toward Michelin star territory.  My meal was as follows:

Egg poached with asparagus, quinoa & parmesan

Chicken whole - roasted for two black truffle, foie gras, brioche

Apple brioche with apple sorbet & caramel brittle

Accompanied by a lovely non-alcoholic drink that tasted like a virgin mojito. 

The egg was delicious, which is a ringing endorsement given I’m not a huge egg fan.  The chicken was easily in my top 3-5 pieces of chicken breast of all time.  That said, it was not executed perfectly. Could have used a tad more salt on the breast, and it the black truffle, foie gras and brioche was more of a paste than something that exhibited unique flavors.  That said, the chicken was so tender and juicy it was a little slice of heaven.  And they had a little bit of dark meat on the side, which was not nearly as good.  The dessert tart was tasty, but the presentation was a bit odd on the rolling cart. It cheapened the experience of eating the dessert, and it felt as if they walked across the street to a bakery before serving it to me.   

My server, while good, was certainly not on point.  And perhaps most importantly, I felt it was all overpriced for what it was. No chicken is worth $78.  Unless God cooked it. And this one he did not.

All in, though, the restaurant is on the cusp of something special.  I will certainly be back – in a year or two.

Just as an aside, they have a lot of cool rooms and spaces to check out.  Easily one of the most unique restaurant interiors I have seen in a while, despite the cheap/corporate looking furniture.