After Djing a posh party in meatpacking last Saturday night Andrew insisted we direct our Uber to the Nomad Hotel to sample what the new NoMad Bar had to offer.
"Just a nightcap." He said.
The consummate early adopter, Andrew insisted we needed to beat the masses and go tonight. Eater had announced it’s opening that day but naturally I was dubious; in our experience opening days and nights are notoriously riddled with technical malfunctions, unexpected delays, and a lackluster something or other followed but too many sincere apologies too late to matter.
Earlier in the day Andrew had called to confirm their open-ness and was rebuffed over the phone.
"They say they’re not open but we’re going anyway, I love a challenge." He informed me that afternoon as I tossed our gear in a bag.
From the so-french-you’d-swear-you-where-on-Rue-Chauchat Kitsuné Shop to the imperial elephants guarding the main bar to the sun-drenched dining room we’re big fans of the sprawling Nomad complex. We where pleased to see the grand aesthetic continued in their newest addition, the bar’s under-lit color-blocked selection of bottle is housed in a two-story arch, imposing from either level of seating. A comparison to the the nearby Ace Hotel and it’s adjoining Breslin is inescapable as it is helpful, for those familiar with the hipster hang the Nomad is like it’s chicer older sibling.
Thirsting for fancy drinks as we took our seats on the upper level we where pleasantly surprised to find a bounty of food offerings on the menu. After a quick conversation that went something like: ”If I order X would you want some? Because I couldn’t possibly have a whole…” Andrew ordered the Chicken Pot Pie and I the bacon wrapped Hot Dog. For drinks I went with a Forbidden Dance and Andrew surprised me by not going for the $198 Vieux Carre opting for instead for the sensible Tuxedo No. 2 at a mere $26 from the "Reserve Cocktails" section of the menu.
As we waited for our elaborate drinks to be prepared we perused the menu. We noted that black truffle seemed to be a mandatory ingredient in every dish. The Borat-sounding "Cocktail Explosions" section gave us a laugh as the name they chose for their shared-drink selection which may or may not have been inspired by the nearby night club Riff Raff’s sanitarily-questionable-enormous-tiki-drinks-for-the-table menu. The Loisaidia Avenue with it’s blend of jalapeño-infused tequila, mezcal, green chartreuse etc, sounded delicious but out of place, we wondered how it had made it’s way so far north of 14th street. We had noted the gritty verité photographs dotting the walls when we entered and on the back of the menu there was a brief explanation. Over a period of eight weeks a photographer had documented the neighborhood to celebrate and preserve it’s unique character, or something like that we don’t remember the exact wording. This expert bit of propaganda eschewed words like “developing” instead opting for next level euphemisms like “evolving” no doubt an attempt to soften the blow of the micro-gentrification within the presumably already gentrified Manhattan.
The drinks where prepared with barely enough time for someone to apologize that they weren’t ready sooner, this completely unnecessary apology was the only box ticked on our checklist of things that happen every opening night.
The Forbidden Dance arrives in what looks like a tiki-nuclear reactor. It’s contents are no less powerful, like all of it’s brethren it gets you where you want to go without tasting like a a bucket of booze. Someone said it was reminiscent of pineapple upside down cake, I noted more of a molasses vibe, very drinkable but not as tooth-rotting;y sweet as your common tiki fair I’d dive into this booze-lagoon again and again.
The Tuxedo No. 2 is a modern twist on a classic martini. Sharp and sublime this no nonsense power-cocktail is what we wish the Gordon Gecko’s of today would guzzle instead of their ostentatious sparkler and boob infused bottle service productions.
Mention “bacon wrapped” and “hot dog” in the same sentence and all I can think about is that perfect alcohol sponge they serve at Crif Dogs wrapped in bacon topped with cheese and a fried egg, it is the best thing for the morning after a night out, or and the end of a night out, or in the middle of a night out, and again at he end… and then maybe the next day again. The Nomad has a lot to live up to and for $14 this dog better be deserve it.
As if pre-cogging our intentions to share the Hot Dog arrived with a knife, I quickly cut it in two. The bun was lobster-roll style, mushy on the inside buttery and browned on the outside. The bacon and dog where great, but the celery topping with a hint of mustard and citrus where divine. Andrew had sliced is half into halves and hoping this meant i would get a full 3/4s I gobbled my half of this junk-food gem. To my dismay I heard a sentence I’d never heard Andrew utter before ”I’m so glad you ordered that hotdog.” as he snatched up the last bit. “This is like if Katz’s Deli opened up a restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman’s.”
We wish we could wax poetic about The Chicken Pot Pie with Black Truffle and Foie Gras, but it’s deliciousness defies dissection. It’s just the best pot pie you will ever eat, so just imagine that, that’s what it is.
Suckers for a gimmick when dessert was offered we had to go for the Candy Bar a Wonka-style confection for the moderate sweet tooth who wishes to prolong their experience until the next day measured out in delicious little squares. We realized we still had half the next day and shared it with a friend, their reaction? “Ultra fancy liquid gold version of a Caramello, delicious!”
An impeccable first impression it’s worth noting that you get what you pay for, if this had been any less impressive the 2 appetizers, 2 drinks, and 1 dessert for $125 including tip would be shockingly unwarranted. All this perfection leads to some absurd moments; after using the hot hand towels presented at the end of the meal Andrew instinctively smelled his hands which prompted me to think “Where’s the fucking lemon juice in these things?” and when I ventured to the restroom mid-meal i was dismayed at the lack of facial tissues. But, when the The overall level of excellence inspires this intense level of nitpickery you know that The Nomad team has done it again.