Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Friday Off!

After much success at Eleven Madison Park, chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara took their talents a few blocks north to recently opened NoMad. Yes, Humm and Guidara still run the show over at EMP; but the NoMad project (backed by The Sydell Group & GFI Capital Resources) is what prompted the sale of Danny Meyer's crown jewel--Eleven Madison Park. The NoMad named for its location north of Madison Square Park is Humm's and Guidara's attempt for a more accessible restaurant; thought much of its sophistication stems from EMP. Its Eleven Madison Park (three Michelin Star/NYT four star) quality brought down to earth. Sure you could have an extravagant dinner here and drop coin; but you could also have dinner for under $50.


The space is divided into a series a rooms--each with its own personality and vibe yet all harmonious in elegant fashion. We started in the bar room with a few cocktails and appetizers than migrated to the library for a few more. Between the three of us, we probably tried 8-9 cocktails off the impressive list. I was pleasantly surprised on the menu's depth. All cocktails were delicious and well balanced though Satan's Circus might have been a bit too spicey. I don't mind heat, but the chili infused Aperol had a slight stinging effect on the finish. I loved the flavor combination, but that slight on the back of my throat kept me from ordering another one. 


As for food, we got a few snacks while we sipped on our cocktails. The Fruits de Mer was a collection of seafood for one including crab, lobster, scallops, sea urchin, and an oyster. Although the platter was bite size, the flavors were worth the $24 price tag. We also got a chicken appetizer that reminded me of chicken tenders--boring yet tastey. The salmon rilette with sorrel and creme fraiche was served in a mason jar and was accompanied with bread for spreading. 

The NoMad is expensive; but definitely worth a visit. The cocktails and food are top notch. It's definitely a young money crowd; but a jacket is not required. The return of the serious hotel restaurants seems to be in full swing and The NoMad's potential will leave New York with high expectations. 

The Wren
A hip bowery gastropub serving cocktails and late night food. I stuck with beer, but the cocktail list looked interesting. This place got packed; so packed I almost didn't stay. I did manage to squeeze through the crowd to the back where I met some friends. I was surprised the crowd of people pushing to gain position to the bar didn't go downstairs or even sit at a table like we did. Either way, I'm glad they didn't because it gave us plenty of space. After a few beers, we ordered a few snacks. Prawns in a pint were solid, but the fish and chips stole the show. The fish was fresh and perfectly battered. The fries that accompanied the fish were worthy of being on the same plate. Minus the crowd, The Wren is a solid spot whether you're grabbing a beer or looking for some food. 

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