And then… it was over. Our incredible, awesome, and totally amazing honeymoon had to come to an end. We knew that after spending 3 weeks in bliss (1 week for the wedding in Maine followed by the 2 week road trip in the Pacific Northwest), returning home would be tough. But we planned ahead and booked a reservation in NYC that was on our Grubbit list for “Must Try Soon” locations.
We took the red eye back from San Fran on Saturday night and arrived pretty tired and dazed on Sunday morning. We just weren’t ready to quit, however, so we took a nap and then finally went to dinner at The NoMad. (created as a more casual place to eat by a few guys from our favorite restaurant, Eleven Madison Park).
The dining room reminded me of being in Europe; specifically the Westin Paris – Vendôme with the glass ceiling.
We noticed that there was Ithaca Beer on the menu. At first we noted how nice it was to see Ithaca Beer on this menu too (since we also had some at Eleven Madison Park) and it took us a few minutes to put some facts together. I went to Ithaca College and had a nice conversation with the owner of Canlis (Brian Canlis) about his being roommates with one of the owners (Will Guidara) of Eleven Madison Park at Cornell (which is in the same town of Ithaca as my alma matter, just across the gorge). Now suddenly it dawned on us… Ithaca beer wasn’t an accident. It was on both menus because it meant the same thing to these guys as it did to me… great beer from our great little college town.
Sadly, I no longer see Ithaca Beer on the menu posted online, but I’m pretty sure this was a beer that was brewed specifically for The NoMad. And we loved it.
The bread that was served was quite delicious. Like a flat foccacia with rosemary. The rosemary looked more like Christmas Tree trimmings and was a bit much, but I liked that you could take off or keep on as much as you liked.
We began our meal with the Sweetbreads appetizer which were described as croustillant with parsley. I had no idea what that meant, but was pleasantly surprised when they came out looking like crispy spring rolls.
The flaky crisp on the outside was a great conduit for the delicious sweet breads inside.
This is how I want to eat sweetbreads. While I’ve always loved the taste, I’m not a huge fan of the texture. The crispy outside got rid of all textural issues and just let me fully enjoy the great flavors.
And who are we kidding? You think we could say NO to the famous chicken for two we had been hearing so much about? It was described as a whole roasted chicken with foie gras, black truffle, and brioche. I had read all about the preparation in this New York Times article and was very excited to try it.
As is one of my favorite traditions, they showed us the whole bird (feet and all) before carving it up. I find the tradition of shoving fresh flowers and herbs into the cavity quite funny, actually, in a admittedly and unabashedly juvenile way.
And then it was taken away to be carved and plated. It probably took all of 5 minutes for that chicken to come back, but after the smell I got and the look at that beautiful skin, it was the longest 5 minutes of my life.
We each got a breast served over a truffled potato purree (though I remember it being more chunky) and asparagus.
The key to the chicken is that it is stuffed under the skin with foie gras that has been mixed with truffles and brioche. This created an incredibly decadent stuffing that also infused the meat with a rich, umami taste. I’m sure it is also a big reason why this was one of the most moist, flavorful chicken breasts I’ve ever had.
This was one beautiful, thoughtful, sensory blissed out dish.
I mean come on… this skin is a work of culinary ART. (Yes… I’m a little obsessed with this chicken dish)
The leg meat (all of it) is served on its own a separate dish. This was with morel mushrooms and a sauce that was like a refined hollandaise. As if this could get any better.
And I did mention that they serve ALL of the leg…
Wow. Just wow. Chicken shouldn’t be allowed to be that good.
And after that, we couldn’t end without dessert.
We split two.
First up was the “Chocolate” which came with malted ganache with chocolate fondant and malt ice cream. Honestly, besides being chocolate, the description didn’t wow me all that much. But the dessert itself was as tasty as it was beautiful.
Lots of textures and flavors going on.
But sadly, that is all I remember about it because it was so overshadowed by the second dessert.
This was the “Milk & Honey” which was described as being shortbread, brittle & ice cream.
First, it was one of the most visually gorgeous dishes I have ever seen. So beautiful, in fact, that it has graced the cover of the NYC Nom Nom Facebook page since we ate there (with many people asking where the picture was taken).
Second, it tasted as good as it looked. The honey flavors sparkled in my mouth. The brittle and the ice cream were fantastic, with a white softer crunch that was somewhere close to meringue. The taste of the honey itself was insanely good and made me reminisce a bit about our burnt honey ice cream experience from a few days prior at The French Laundry.
What a way to end it! It was quite the finale to our incredible trip (and this was right in our backyard). Eating here made me remember again how much I love living in this crazy city. I have the best food in the world within walking distance.
And this was a prime example of how good food can be.
Every morsel was delicious and thoughtful. The food here was smart but not smarty pants smart. It was hot librarian smart. (And it was chicken!)
I cannot wait for more.
Total Nom Points: 9 out of 10