I mistakenly (don’t ask how–I blame the cold) went to the wrong cart for lunch one block away from the ridiculously delicious biryani cart. I had the chicken biryani for only $6 (as opposed to $13 for the lamb biryani at the famous cart), and the chicken thighs over rice. Both were surprisingly good and better than anything I had in my old NYU diggs, but don’t beat THE Biryani Cart.
The Nomad–I’m not sure where to start, aside from it being my new favorite restaurant.
My first encounter was an intimidatingly overcrowded bar, dark and posh-looking place when I walked back out. Everyone had their suits for after-work drinks (I presume at Credit Suisse right around the corner) and I remembered why places like Death and Co make people wait outside. Sadly, I didn’t have a reservation to eat that night, but with high hopes, I returned for brunch.
And it was fantastic.
One of the sommelier’s came over and eloquently explained some of his favorite cocktails to us. We ordered a few throughout the brunch so I won’t go into all of it, aside from noting how beautiful, balanced, and flavorful they all were! I also love that when I mentioned my mint allergy, but wanted a minty drink, he handled it extremely well–no funny faces that it was impossible, or snarks on how I couldn’t order the drinks with mint (I’ve had some bad experiences with this random allergy of mine).
I remember when it was first news that Eleven Madison Park was going to start baking their own rolls to serve, so of course I have to comment on the tastey choice of The NoMad. Springs onions I believe it was? I can’t remember the last time I was served a bread like this in a restaurant, but I love that it was a bit different.
I ordered the truffle foie gras chicken, split with a newly converted meat-eater, and we were both so satisfied after we devoured it. It was perfectly moist, beautiful presented, and was everything chicken should be.
The best part is that my friend was a strict vegetarian until the Giants won the superbowl, and only really liked chicken when it was “boneless wings” at Mercury Bar (YIKES!!!). This was the first time I could get him to eat chicken and love it. I am so glad he has replaced his standards of “best chicken” with The Nomad’s! Here’s after it was cutup.
The moment our two plates hit the table we were confused and asked where the rest of the chicken was, but with no fail it was presented in a small black cast iron with scrumptious mushrooms. YUM.
I don’t know how we managed (especially since I forgot we were having brunch and had two slices of leftover pizza for breakfast…), but we ordered their delicious breakfast pastry to share.
Yum…next time we’ll have to try the others of the cart.
Oh and I love this video from the restaurant. Will Guidara and Daniel Humm are such characters!!!
The NoMad - 1170 Broadway & 28th St, 212-796-1500
Indian spices shouldn’t be as intimidating to you as it was to me. I think I now understand why I thought Indian cooking was this foreign realm that I wouldn’t be able to touch: because of the foreign flavors.
A simple solution to understanding cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom is to start adding it to black tea (with milk and sugar). It’s funny, but I had always known about this “spiced” tea and the Chinese in me refused to believe that it would possibly taste good compared to my straight green and black teas without milk or sugar. You can isolate all of them, or you can start with one then keep adding so you understand each one and have a good memory of what is what! (fundamental for figuring out which is which when you are cooking, and what you still need to add into an incomplete dish)
Oh man… “chai” is so delicious and one easy way to acquaint yourself with these spices. Everyday you feel like drinking tea, only use one of the ingredients (a little at first, and more in future batches if you like it). I have it down to a science that I actually prefer mine with only cardamom and a small amount of clove.
As for cumin, tumeric, coriander, and mustard seeds, I recommend trying them with chicken if you are a meat eater one at a time similar to the chai concept. One of my favorite chicken dishes is just the chicken smothered in coriander powder, salt, pepper, and garlic.
Spices Used at the Destination, not in the Journey
Something I realized about my approach to these spices is that I don’t expect the flavor to seep in over long cooking times–if anything most everything is ground up so I expect to have a bit of the flavor in every bite, or I use so much of it that I will definitely taste it. It’s not like cooking down chicken to get the chicken flavor in a soup, nor is it using tons of peppercorns or basil to flavor a stew only to take out the peppercorns in the end. This is probably because I am mostly cooking vegetarian dishes with strong vegetable flavors, and not necessarily creating a stew where the chicken needs to absorb the flavors.
It is definitely possible my approach isn’t right, but so far in most of the recipes I’ve read for basic vegetarian dishes, I haven’t been very wrong.