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NoMad opened to the public on Monday, March 26th. My blog post is about our "Friends & Family" dinner.

Can I cook my food too?

I dined at the bar at the NoMad last fall (I think it was a Saturday night) and the place was like a mosh pit. Nice food though.

But they're dunderheads, remember?

 

I've gotten NO mileage from recommending restaurants I find "interesting" to friends who do not share my "interests" and care more about, say, chairs and lack of noise and such.

Good point. One of the reasons I've basically stopped recommending restaurants to friends.

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I've gotten NO mileage from recommending restaurants I find "interesting" to friends who do not share my "interests" and care more about, say, chairs and lack of noise and such.

 

You can want interesting food and chairs and lack of noise. It's even possible to get it.

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I've gotten NO mileage from recommending restaurants I find "interesting" to friends who do not share my "interests" and care more about, say, chairs and lack of noise and such.

Good point. One of the reasons I've basically stopped recommending restaurants to friends.

I have no trouble making such recommendations. Just remember, they're not asking where YOU would go; they're asking where THEY should go. If you keep that distinction in mind, then it's easy.

 

For instance, I sent someone to Delmonico's downtown. Later, they thanked me profusely for such a good suggestion. Now, I wouldn't have gone there. But I realized that it was perfectly appropriate for what THEY wanted and needed. It's really very easy when you put your mind to it.

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I see from the hotel Website, that the dining choices are Bar, Library, Parlor, Atrium and Fireplace.

 

Phew.

 

Which is the dining room (if there is a "proper" one)?

Instead, this is the restaurant Hotel Griffou dreams of being. Three completely incongruous dining areas lie just past the hostess stand: the center one ("Atrium") is attractively bathed in natural light, courtesy of a large pyramidal glass roof; the right one is fussier, dominated by an ornate fireplace (called the "Fireplace", duh); the left one does its best impression of a velvet-swathed bordello ("The Parlour", but aren't we in America?).

Visually, I liked the "Atrium" the most of the three, though I'd imagine it'll be the noisiest space. "The Parlour" should be quieter.

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Right. The three dining rooms are the Parlour, the Atrium, and the Fireplace. I ate in the Parlour. It was nice.

 

I think the Atrium has a casual lounge feel while the ambiance in the Parlour and the Fireplace Room is more formal (but no tablecloths in any of the rooms). We went back for dinner two weeks ago (this time as paying guests) and again sat in the Parlour. They've dialed back the volume of the music considerably in that room while keeping it fairly high but not uncomfortably so in The Atrium.

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Another very good meal here. The duck breast was particularly good (and doesn't in any way resemble the famous duck at EMP, in case you were wondering). The suckling pig confit very much resembles the famous suckling pig confit at EMP in the past, though, and the report from the other side of the table was that it was fantastic.

 

Once again we had drinks in the Library before a dinner in the Parlour -- and once again the date I took was absolutely smitten with the place.

 

Steve Plotnicki said on Chowhound this morning that NoMad is sort of like EMP's Nougatine, a scaled-down version of a celebrated restaurant -- except that Nougatine, he said, at least shares the same fabulous kitchen and kitchen and staff as its better parent, whereas NoMad is not so fortunate. He enjoyed his food at NoMad well enough, he said -- but would feel no compulsion to go back.

 

I think that Steve misses the point of NoMad. Nougatine always struck me as pointless: it's just an inferior adjunct to JG, and I don't see why anyone wouldn't just save up and go to JG proper instead of eating at the children's table. NoMad is a different style of restaurant in a different location from EMP, serving a different purpose. As I keep insisting, I think it serves that purpose splendidly. Maybe the quality of the food will decline when Chef Humm stops paying as close attention (although given NoMad's proximity to EMP, I'm sure he'll always at least stop in every night). But for now, it's extremely good. If I were looking for a pure food experience, obviously EMP would be where I'd want to go. But you don't always want to put up with the tiresome menu format and all that fuss and ritual. NoMad, at least for now, is what it is: the best date/upscale socializing place in New York, by a big stretch.

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Nougatine always struck me as pointless: it's just an inferior adjunct to JG, and I don't see why anyone wouldn't just save up and go to JG proper instead of eating at the children's table. NoMad is a different style of restaurant in a different location from EMP, serving a different purpose. . . . If I were looking for a pure food experience, obviously EMP would be where I'd want to go. But you don't always want to put up with the tiresome menu format and all that fuss and ritual.

I think similar considerations are at work, when comparing JG and Nougatine. Sometimes you just don't want the $108 multi-course production.

 

NoMad, at least for now, is what it is: the best date/upscale socializing place in New York, by a big stretch.

One difference, perhaps, is that right now NoMad is a lot more interesting than Nougatine. Perhaps JG knows that too: I hear Nougatine is being remodeled.

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