A year ago, I had the best chicken of my life at The NoMad. Was it because these chickens were delivered daily from a farm in Pennsylvania? Was it because there was foie gras stuffed under the skin? Or maybe it was the tantalizing aroma of black truffles found in both the stuffing and the accompanying potato puree. It was a combination of all these factors that made me fall in love with chicken again.
Julia and Davis made a reservation and I brought my friend Anne.
The whole point of the dinner was to try the chicken that had every blog and food magazine raving. To start, the server brought us a warm rustic focaccia with grilled leeks and gruyere fresh from the oven, much better than the usual stale basket of bread served at most restaurants.
In addition to the NoMad chicken, we ordered a few dishes to share.
The prawn was perfectly cooked and the apple and hazelnut scented soup was a great combination.
Unlike other pastas that are masked by a heavy sauce, the next dish was pure in its simplicity. Fresh tagliatelle, succulent sweet pieces of king crab, a touch of acidity from the lemon and a tingling finish of black pepper. That’s it.
Huge fan of cauliflower and this dish didn’t disappoint. Love the juices from the grapes, the saltiness of the cheese, and the crunch of the almonds. Perfectly balanced and recommended.
Our server, Mark, brought out a growler of Le Poulet ale to complement NoMad's renowned chicken dish.
The ale and bottle were created exclusively by the Brooklyn Brewery for the dish exclusively.
The sea bass was tender and moist but I remember that it could have used a touch of salt. Paired with cabbage, the dish was a little too light for my tastes.
The suckling pig confit dish that landed on our table was anything but light. The confit came from a 40lb pig from a farm in Pennsylvania and cured for 4 days. You can taste the curing as you bite through the crispy skin. So potent and intense.
With our anticipation heightened, the whole roasted chicken, stuffed with foie gras, black truffles, and brioche appeared tableside in a very hot Staub cast iron.
I distinctly remember two things: how fragrant the rosemary and herbs were and how uniform the almond brown skin looked. Before I could spoon out some of the gravy to drink, the chicken and server disappeared.
A few minutes later, the white meat with cabbage, pearl onions, brussels sprouts, and delicious crispy skin was presented at our table.
I’m a dark meat fan but the white meat was mind-blowingly juicy. It wouldn’t be until 7 months later at Betony where I would have white meat with a similar cook and crispy skin.
Part two consisted of a bowl of dark meat chunks with amazing gravy that lasted only for a few minutes in between sips of the Le Poulet ale before it was wiped clean.
Our savory impulses satiated, we moved on to something sweeter.
If I had one word to describe their classic dessert, Milk & Honey, I would say delicate.
The slightest nudge from the spoon resulted in the ice cream and drizzled honey to collapse on the shortbread waiting below. The dehydrated milk flakes and the small chunks of honey brittles added great texture. Spoon all elements into your mouth and lick the honey off the spoon. Repeat until all gone.
The pear brioche was totally different from milk & honey. The pear sorbet, lemon, and ginger provided a tangy and refreshing counterpoint to the flaky buttery brioche.
Dinner ended with a delicious cappuccino. As we were talking with Mark, I asked if there were any recent celebrities that came through. He paused and smiled.
“Are you a fan of Tina Fey?”
“Yes, I love Liz Lemon!”
“Well Liz Lemon sat at this table a few nights ago…”
Our whole table let out a faint gasp. How cool is that?
“She actually sat….she sat where you are currently sitting,” said Mark.
“Now if you’ll follow me, we have a table ready for you at The Library for some post-dinner drinks.”
The Library pulsed with energy even though it was on the quieter side. Davis ordered an old-fashioned and we all compared notes on what we just ate.
Flush with alcohol and amazing chicken, we bravely made our way outside into the blizzard.
- Reason for the weird colors: I had just got my camera a year ago and shot everything really dark. The only way to salvage was to apply color filters. Haven't made the same mistake since.
- Get: chicken, tagliatelle, milk and honey. If possible, ask to sit in Mark's section for excellent service.
- We sat at a corner table and the dining room vibe was subdued and chill. Not a place to bring a rowdy group.
- If you want to be rowdy, seek some action at the bar. Comprehensive list of amazing cocktails and variety of beers. Spacious tables at the bar for you to order flatbread, drinks, and milk and honey at the bar. Great place to hang out after work…no reservations required.
- If you want to drink in The Library, put your name on the list before grabbing a drink at the bar. Or tell your server you’re interested if you have a seat in the dining room.
- If you don’t want or like alcohol, they serve a delicious Orange Julius. Just ask Julia who ordered like five of them.