Saturday, May 7, 2016

Nomadic Lunch

Lunch. An underrated meal, sometimes. And too often eaten hurriedly at one's desk. But my very good friend M. was in town from LA for work and asked about having lunch. Normally in my work neighborhood that would be Curry Hill, or Dos Caminos, or Hillstone.  Or Resto if I'm feeling conventionally decadent.  But as it was a Friday and I could escape and I was feeling splurge-y I suggested Nomad, Chef Daniel Humm's restaurant at, well, the NoMad Hotel, which is located in, well, the NoMad District.

If this was a real estate blog I'd be talking about how fascinating it continues to be to me that a neighborhood that used to be just chockablock with tawdry wholesalers is being transformed by a whole set of very cool boutique hotels and their associated shopping and dining venues.

But that's not my story today.

My story today is my three-course lunch at the Nomad, which included the most decadent, wonderful, memorable burger of my life, and it was a chicken burger at that.

I started with the salmon; a sort of terrine or pate, with a mustardy sauce, a quail egg yolk, and rye crisps (and some greens--pea and lettuce).  This was fantastic. Rye and salmon go so well together, and this was an incredibly refined way to combine those flavors.  And the egg yolk added just the right amount of heaviness to what was a very light terrine.  Just great.
But nothing compared to what came next.  Nomad is famous for a spectacularly expensive whole roast chicken, which is enlivened by foie gras and truffles under the skin while it's roasting. For frugal lunch diners, they make a burger version of that.  Yes, this is the chicken burger at Nomad:

I realize, retrospectively, that you can't actually see the burger in this picture.  You'll have to take my word, it was beautiful, and the ground chicken includes a fair amount of skin, along with the foie and the truffle, which should be gross but in fact made for the moistest, most flavorful burger imaginable.  And the fries were top-notch as well.

This is one of those dishes that I ate it and I was full and content and yet I still immediately wanted to eat it again, just so I could keep tasting it. 

I mean.  Really.  Go eat this burger sometime in your life.  Hopefully soon.

Followed that with an espresso and the light and terrific "milk and honey" dessert, with shortbread crisps, crunchy milk bites, and the distinctiveness of buckwheat honey.

I can't say enough good about this lunch.  Though full disclosure, wine was involved as well.

Speaking of which, the guy taking care of us was terrific.  I had mentioned I kept an eye out for Corsican wines ever since my trip there last year, and M and I were drinking a Corsican white they ahd, and so he brought me over a taste of their red from Corsica, just so I could give it a try. So nice!

Actually the whole staff was wonderful.  M and I were both late for our reservation, and yet they could not have been more accommodating.

And you may note that the lighting of these photos is amazing (I mean, if I do say so myself).  Partly, that's just lunches--natural light is around in general in the daytime--but mainly it's because the Nomad dining room is under an opaque but very bright skylight.  It's a beautiful room.

So, in conclusion, go have this burger!  And I need to go back for the whole chicken.