1 night, 1 hotel, 3 venues.
Expensive. But, is it worth it? Yes, you have a memorable evening because of the impressive hospitality and the NoMad is a stunning hotel. I imagine even more impressive during the day. Go to the NoMad for a special evening out.
Why get excited about this restaurant opening?
Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara are behind Eleven Madison Park (EMP) in NYC which currently ranks as the #1 World's Best Restaurant for 2017 (https://www.theworlds50best.com/The-List-2017/1-10/Eleven-Madison-Park.html). The head of their bar program at the NoMad is Leo Robitschek. Nomad NYC currently ranks as the #3 World's Best Bar for 2017 (and the #1 bar in North America). The executive chef is chef Chris Flint who was Humm's right hand man in NYC and made the move from New York City to open NoMad DTLA.
We took an Uber to the NoMad since we were planning on doing some heavy cocktail tasting. The Uber dropped us off across the street, and we entered the hotel through the Coffee Bar. We both felt that the hotel was smaller than expected. We found it interesting that we did not see the hotel registration counter from the main entrance, but rather the Lobby check-in area. That check-in area is hidden behind all the action of the lively lobby and bar. We walked in at around 5:15 pm with the goal of snagging a table in the Lobby for dinner and cocktails.
The first thing you will most likely notice is the well-trained staff. If you'll ask for the restroom, they will walk you to the steps leading to the bank vault turned restroom. This was the former headquarters of the Bank of Italy.
To start, I wanted to taste a NoMad NYC classic cocktail as they are the best bar in North America. To accompany our cocktails, we ordered the black truffle flatbread, fava bean hummus, the recommended fried chicken, and French fries. I struggled trying to find something I wanted to order off the Lobby menu.
We loved the flavors fava bean hummus and and the black truffle flatbread. The fried chicken was good, but not the best I've have tasted. I recently had a fried chicken in the Philippines that was much more satisfying to eat. The fries were good, but it cannot compare to the fries at the Bellwether, which is the best I've tried in LA.
The hummus is not only Instagram worthy, but a delightful start to awaken the palate. The highlights of our evening in the Lobby were the cocktails and the milk and honey ice cream sandwich. My dinner companion said that she could have eaten 10 more of them.
The four cocktails were also the highlight. I had a strong start, however with the last two cocktails, I felt the portion size was not worth money at $16 to $17 per cocktail. Perhaps they need to use a different glassware. For my last 2 cocktails, I felt like I had only a couple sips and they tasted like "virgin" softer cocktails. The Pandan Express and Manhattan Milk Punch both were the softer cocktails. They told me they were both potent, but I didn't feel any the effect I usually feel after 4 cocktails. I prefer stronger cocktails.
I recently had 4 cocktails a couple weeks ago in Manila from 4 of the best bartenders in Asia (1 including a cocktail made for me by Cedric Mendoza, the bar director from the Manhattan in Singapore, which is the top bar in Asia).
My dining companion never had foie gras, so I encouraged her to try it upstairs in the Mezzanine. Keep in mind the Lobby and Mezzanine are two different restaurants with different kitchens and different menus. I asked for two spots at the bar upstairs and they were able to accommodate us. When we were ready to move on to the Mezzanine, one of the hosts walked us all the way up to the Mezzanine to get seated. What great service I thought. At the Mezzanine bar, we ordered 2 glasses of white wine to pair with the foie.
My recommended cocktails at the NoMad:
Sippy Cup, a Nomad classic
En Maison was the evening fave
Coffee-infused Spritz in the Coffee Bar
Recommended dishes: The Lobby black truffle flatbread, Instagrammable fava bean hummus, and foie gras in the Mezzanine. All very delicious, but none of the dishes "knocked our socks off."
The recommended "absolutely do no miss" dessert: The Lobby "milk and honey" ice cream sandwich. So good!
The hospitality is what stood out during our evening restaurant and bar hopping the NoMad. Everyone we encountered when we walked in to the Coffee Bar to everyone at the Lobby and Mezzanine were outstanding. The warm hospitality made our evening memorable.
I expected a bit more out of the menu and from this "best restaurant in the world" team. Maybe the goal isn't to be too creative for adventurous eaters like me, but rather to serve luxurious foods like their $98 chicken stuffed with black truffles and foie gras to please that kind of clientele who expects nothing less.
With Vespertine, Dialogue, the Rogue Experience, and Somni opening soon, the NoMad team might eventually want to evolve into a more inventive or creative menu to stay relevant in Los Angeles.
I love exploring Los Angeles like a tourist. I have as much fun in my hometown as I do traveling to another country. I hope my adventures inspire you to eat well and travel often.
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