Most of the time, dinner is just dinner. You choose a restaurant, you go to a grocery store, or you cry as you roll through the drive-thru again, and you’ve achieved another of the thousands of dinners you’ll eat in your lifetime.
Less often, you have a meal that’s more than just dinner. You’re seeing your best friend for the first time after she had a baby and she’s ready to drink all the pinot she’s been missing. You told your boss what you really think and left the office for good before he could reply. You’re asking someone to marry you. When you need dinner to be more than just a dinner, consider The Mezzanine at The NoMad.
The NoMad Hotel is an NYC import that came into town ready to impress. Located in a restored bank in DTLA, it’s an incredible building that feels like a 1930s movie star’s velvet-filled house, complete with a basement vault full of secrets (it’s really just restrooms, but same thing). The crowd is an odd mix of hotel guests and locals wondering what’s happening here, but that’s kind of beside the point. Because soon after you walk in, you’ll realize that you might have been expecting a stuffy hotel restaurant, but The Mezzanine is actually kind of a party.
Any meal here should start with a drink at the Giannini Bar, in a dark corner of the lobby. There are a lot of drink options, all of them good, but you should probably just go straight for the cocktail for two that comes in a gold rooster-shaped vessel. The thing is ridiculous (the last time you shared an oversized drink with someone was your fishbowl margarita days in college), but also somehow just what you’re looking for.
There is a slightly more casual place to eat in the lobby, imaginatively named The Lobby, but once you’re done with your drinks, you should head upstairs to The Mezzanine. The menu is full of things you should probably only eat once a year, like a celery root tortelloni with creamy parmesan sauce and a lot of truffle, and a $98 chicken for two that doubles as performance art. Your server will present you this chicken in its whole form, with rosemary poking out of its butt, only for the sake of you seeing your whole chicken with rosemary coming out of its butt. Then it disappears, and is returned to you five minutes later, all cut up and ready for you to eat. The whole thing is obviously a little insane, but like that gold rooster cocktail, it’s also pretty awesome.
The Mezzanine manages to do all this without making you feel like you should have worn a jacket to dinner. They might pull your chair out for you, but they’ll also exclaim “Cock-a-doodle-doo” when they serve you that rooster cocktail. And you’re just not going to get that kind of dinner anywhere else in the city.
Little radishes come pre-dipped in butter that turns into a shell around the vegetable. This will be one of the better radishes with butter you’ve ever had.
We’ve started calling this The Best Hummus In The World. It’s fava bean hummus, it comes with crispy crackers, and you will scrape the bowl within an inch of its life.
This creamy crab salad is one of the few dishes that disappoints. There are plenty of better things to order that have a lot more flavor.
This has a bunch of citrus segments and thin slices of radish to go with the high-quality raw fish. A rare light dish on the menu, and one you should absolutely order.
This celery root and truffle-stuffed pasta comes in a rich parmesan sauce and it’s incredible. As long as you have someone to share it with. All that truffle and cheese is a lot to get through on your own.
This might be a $100 chicken, but you won’t regret ordering this buttery extravaganza. They bring out the whole bird first, and then come back with the truffle-stuffed chicken done two ways - the breast on a plate with baby turnips and sesame, the thigh made into a creamy stew with crispy-fried skin on top. Both are equally good.
If you, for some reason, want to pass on the chicken, get the bone marrow-crusted beef. This is a good piece of steak, but the pea puree is the thing you’ll remember later.
You’re probably not coming to The Mezzanine and thinking, “Yes, I will order broccoli as my entree.” But you should, because this is lemony and crunchy, with wild rice and a cured egg yolk, and surprisingly great.
Absolutely save room for this. The honey-drizzled ice cream sits on top of shortbread, brittle, and meringue and it’s the dessert we’d like to eat once a week (or day). Also note: you can get an ice cream sandwich version in The Lobby restaurant downstairs. It’s a thing you should also try.
Or you could listen to your inner pyromaniac and get this. The meringue-covered ice cream and cake gets alcohol spooned over it, before being set alight in front of you. It tastes good too, but that’s really besides the point.