On the ground floor of the Nomad hotel is a restaurant of the same name that is the younger, more casual, sister of Eleven Madison Park which opened in April 2012. The main dining room is a large space with a skylight, a further room to the side and a busy bar; 120 diners can be accommodated at any one time. The room has a stone floor, small and densely packed tables without tablecloths, with entirely unnecessary music playing to crank the noise level up to near deafening. The hard surfaces of the décor are softened somewhat by comfortable silk-upholstered chairs and a series of curtains separating the various rooms. Nomad was heaving on the night of my visit, packed with the beautiful people of New York, with tables being turned at a pace that must delight the owners. Abram Bissell is the chef de cuisine of Nomad (he was previously executive sous chef of Eleven Madison Park), but Daniel Humm is executive chef at Nomad.
The menu is appealing and not too long, with eight starters as well as bar snacks, and nine main courses. The wine list was quite lengthy and mark-ups not excessive, with wines such as Cantine Argiolas Costera Cannonau 2009 from Sardinia at $35 for a wine you can find in a shop for $18, Lynch Bages 2008 at $155 for a wine that retails at around $109, and Didier Dagenau Silex 2009 at $270 for a wine that will set you back $98 in a shop. There were grander wines too, such as Jacque Selosse Substance champagne at $650 for a bottle that will cost you $282 in a shop. We drank the excellent 1998 Rioja Alta 904 at $114 for a wine that retails at around $49.
The first food that appeared was a warm flatbread loaf laced with zucchini and pecorino cheese, served on a wooden board. This was excellent, with good texture and flavour (16/20). I began with tagliatelle of crab and lemon ($19), which had capably made pasta, rather ordinary crab and overall this was very pleasant rather than remarkable (just about 15/20). Gazpacho with strawberry ($15) tasted better than it sounded, flavoured with duck prosciutto, nicely seasoned, the flavours coming through well (15/20).
The best dish of the night was a whole roast chicken ($78 for two) that is brought to the table before being whisked away and deboned. The breast meat was stuffed with foie gras, truffles and brioche, and the classic combination of flavours worked very well, accompanied by white asparagus and potato purée. In a separate dish the dark meat is served with morels, and this was even better, with deeper flavour. The chicken was very carefully cooked, seasoning finely judged, the only limitation being the quality of chicken that can be obtained here compared to, say, France. This was a thoroughly enjoyable dish (18/20).
For dessert I had apple brioche ($14) with apple sorbet and caramel brittle, which had a nice contrast of textures and good flavour (15/20). Service was polite but the staff are evidently under instructions to shift the diners as fast as possible in order to turn more tables, so the dishes arrive at a rapid lick, and the bill arrived, unrequested, seconds after the coffee. However, wine topping was good and the waiters were very professional, but do not expect a lingering, lengthy dinner when you eat here. The bill came to $160 (£102) per person including a tip. Overall this was a very enjoyable experience: well executed, appealing dishes, the overall experience just slightly detracted from by the sense of being rushed.
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