NoMad is north of Eleven Madison Park, where Daniel Humm and his small orchestra of chefs tune the spare to the sublime. NoMad is also an oasis in what long has been a food desert, the midtown south strip of Broadway, where wholesale jewelry shops are layered under upper-story businesses secreted behind cardboard-draped windows. The building itself is one of the grand, forgotten Beaux-Arts landmarks of New York, constructed in the early 1900s and recently converted into a posh hotel. Elegant hipsters wander the glass-tented dining room to the library bar in the back, or to a second dining room with a panoramic window framing the motion of white toques and the sizzling chickens in an equally long, rectangular oven. Those chickens are reason enough to book a table. Chef Humm believes the texture of the meat is due to the birds themselves, sourced from his favored farmer in Pennsylvania; the flavor comes, in part, from the black truffle paste he slips under the skin. To match, wine director Thomas Pastuszak may point you toward a local white. He has a full page of Finger Lakes rieslings—maybe an Argetsinger Vineyard from Ravines or the Magdalena Vineyard from Wiemer. You can also head farther afield, with Champagne from Larmandier-Bernier or Etna Rosso from Tenuta delle Terre Nere. The list is extensive, but it doesn’t wander off into head-trips of $1,000 Bordeaux and Burgundy, trading instead in more esoteric voyages to the Canary Islands (the rustic, high-acid Monje Tintilla for roast suckling pig with apricots) and Campania (falanghina from Feudi di San Gregorio for salmon rillettes).
April 2016 Update: Daniel Humm’s NoMad was not the first restaurant to seed this once barren no-man’s-land of trinket dealers and sweatshops but it was his bar and dining room that took the neighborhood past the tipping point. There’s less than standing room-only at the bar, which serves up the best cocktails in New York at the moment. If you reserve in the dining room, don’t miss the roast chicken, which has become legend. Or one of the Finger Lakes wines: Though Thomas Pastuszak lists many great bottles, it’s the rieslings and cabernet francs of New York State that are close to his heart.
This review appears in the print edition of the April 2013 issue. Like what you just read? Subscribe now.
This story appears in the print issue of April 2013.
Like what you read? Subscribe today.