NOMAD, NYC — Lucky for me, I've got plenty of friends who enjoy discovering foods and dishes as much as I do. And a very special few of them have actually been the ones to turn me on to new fare and new places.
My friend Justin is one such friend — a goodnik who treated me to Minetta Tavern's Black Label Burger (regarded by a great many as the city's best burger), and who has now introduced me to The NoMad Restaurant (in the NoMad Hotel), purportedly selling the city's best roast chicken dish.
And as was the case with the humbly nostalgia-inducing decor of Minetta Tavern, you first experience The Nomad with your eyes, as the atmosphere is warm, inviting and counterintuitively intimate for such a wide, open, and populous place.
To prepare ourselves for the expectedly rustic main course of the rustic and appropriately autumnal roast chicken, we enjoyed our complimentary warm bread with fresh sage, and I ordered the carrot tartare, served with quail egg and rye toast.
The star dish is served as just the breast, though with a stuffing made with black truffle and brioche stirred into tempered foie gras that's been pressed through a tamis. That breadcrumb mixture is piped under the chicken, which is also brushed with butter — all this before the bird is roasted.
It comes out with a sexy, crispy, browned skin, stretched over a luxuriantly delicious "stuffing", which in turn keeps the breast meat juicy and flavorful. That breast gets served over a puree and jus, and gets served with a side of roasted brussel sprouts, lentils, and carrots.
The order is meant to feed two people, so Justin and I got to each enjoy this wonderful dish, perfectly accomplishing that rare culinary feat of "modernizing" and the very traditional — and, in this case, historically humble — dish of roast chicken and elevating to still respectfully nuanced austerity, while keeping it familiarly grounded in the epicurean nostalgia that has had it endure as a seasonally evocative staple for generations of almost every domestic culture.
Throughout the meal, it was hard to miss the dessert cart that visited many a table of diners having just finished their entrées. I figured it would be in poor spirit to deny myself the full splendor of a complete meal effort. Justin agreed, going for the lemon meringue tart, while I, skipping the raspberry macaron, went full autumn with the sweet potato tart.
So Justin and I can put another food get-together in the "win" column. This dish rightfully deserves the accolades it's been receiving for years. And you'd be doing yourself the great good favor — at a splurge (for chicken, at least) quite possibly — to reward your sense of taste and your sense of nostalgia with The NoMad's roast chicken (for two).
The NoMad | 1170 Broadway (nr. 28th St.), New York, NY 10001 | (212) 796-1500