Not long ago, The Nomad was a big deal. When Daniel Humm left Eleven Madison Park to open a restaurant in a hotel, the word "blockbuster" got thrown around more than it had since the days when Adam Sandler still had a movie career.
We here at The Infatuation have always liked The Nomad, but we've never been all in on it. In our initial 2012 review, we expressed respect for the quality of the food and the attention to detail on display, but couldn't get past the constant foot traffic around the tables, or the luck of the draw nature of the seating. You either end up with the best table in the house or one of the worst. There is no in between.
After a few years of various return visits, we're happy to say that we like it here more. But we're still not ready to go all in. We've just figured out how to do it right.
The first thing you need to know is that, despite the connections to Eleven Madison Park, The Nomad is not the special occasion restaurant that you might expect it to be. It's a hotel restaurant with a very busy bar and a nighttime scene, which is perfect if you're looking to have a really good meal with a lot to look at in terms of the crowd, but it is not the place to bring your dad for his quiet birthday dinner. This is a place where you're probably going to see a guy who owns an art gallery and looks like Genghis Kahn in Yeezy Boosts sitting next to a group of dudes who are definitely on a business trip. All of that can be a very good thing for a fun Thursday night, but maybe not so much for a big ticket, once a year meal.
The other thing you should know is that The Nomad is at its best during the daytime hours. It's one of our favorite fancy lunch moves, especially if we're looking to impress someone with our restaurant selecting prowess. Things are also a bit more sedate during those times, which means that you're more likely to end up at a table that won't be right in path of a bunch of people heading for the bar.
However you approach it, know that the food here is very good. Their famous chicken for two is famous for a reason, and that reason is foie gras and truffles. Both are ground up and stuffed under the crispy skin, making for an absurdly rich and absurdly good piece of bird. The rest of the menu is consistently solid, from starters to dessert, and the wine list and cocktails will get the job done too.
Is that enough to still consider The Nomad a big deal? That probably depends a little bit on who you ask. And a lot on where you sit.
Tiny vegetables in a large bowl of ice. Don't waste your time, unless you're just trying to appease a vegetarian at the table. In which case, bad move, this will only make them angry.
A bucatini-like pasta with a wild-boar ragu, radicchio, and parmesan. The pastas at The Nomad are a safe bet. But don't go crazy. Save room for the other stuff.
That's right, carrots. There was a time when this dishwas touted as the beginning of the revolution, one in which carrots would become the new brussels sprouts, and the people would finally seize power from the illuminati and peace would reign across the land. TBD on whether or not that's still gonna go down, but they are really good carrots.
This is the reason you eat at The Nomad.
If you didn't already slouch over in your chair from overstimulation, muster up what you have left and order dessert - it might be the best thing you eat. This particular photographic example is of their "butternut squash" dessert, which is not at all savory, and highly excellent. But there are no wrong answers. Order what sounds good.