• Critics’ Pick
  • The NoMad Bar

  • American Nouveau $6-$36
  • 10 W. 28th St.
    New York, NY 10001
  • Neighborhood: Flatiron
  • Phone: 347-472-5660
The NoMad Bar Photo
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There are plenty of reasons to dislike Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s loud, gilded, insanely crowded NoMad Bar, which opened in June around the corner from their popular NoMad Hotel operation on Broadway and 28th Street. There’s the vaulted, mostly windowless ­double-height space, which can feel faintly claustrophobic even if you’re sitting at one of the balcony tables peering down on the crowd of assorted nabobs and hedge-fund hustlers rioting around the bar. There’s the sepulchral lighting, which makes the room look, even on the brightest of summer evenings, like a basement nightclub in Vegas or the inside of a pharaoh’s tomb. There’s the long wait for a table, which was quoted as an hour and a half “at least” to one of my beleaguered colleagues, before he was recognized by the crack staff and whisked to one of the tables reserved, conspicuously, for VIPs.

The things to dislike about NoMad Bar, in other words, are the things to dislike about high-profile, oversubscribed nightclub bars everywhere, although in this particular case, these issues tend to dissipate a little (as with many of the best bars) once you’ve enjoyed your first $16 cocktail. The drink I’m thinking of is a pale, gin-based concoction called Needle and Thread, served straight up, in a frosty coupe, with sweet vermouth touched by a whisper of absinthe and a drop of orange bitters. It had more sweetness and depth than your average martini, and was prettier to look at, too, and after I finished it, I ordered another one to go with the trio of brightly colored tartares that were laid out, like a piece of food art, on a smooth block of wood. One of these was made with the usual tuna and the other with the usual beef, but the best was a vibrant tartare composed of shredded carrots, mustard, and pumpkin seeds, which we spread over thin fans of crisped rye bread.

The NoMad Bar has its own kitchen, separate from the mother-ship restaurant around the corner, and Humm’s executive chef, James Kent, uses the space to conduct all sorts of elevated experiments in the relentlessly trendy realm of casual pub food. Instead of mustard and the usual dank pickle, the $16 hot dog at this posh drinking establishment is wrapped in bacon and topped with celery relish and truffled aïoli. The tenders-style fried chicken looked a bit too much like “glorified airport food” to the tasters at my table, although you won’t find anything at your local landing strip like the addictive little wheels of duck sausage (with cherries and pickled ramps), or the yakitori-style skewers of fat, tender skirt steak (garnished with chopped parsley over wedges of garlic toast), or the superb dry-aged Cheddar burger that’s leavened with sinful amounts of suet and bone marrow.

Humm’s vaunted $36 chicken potpie is tricked up in a similar aggressively gourmet way (with morels and seared foie gras), although if you’re going to throw that kind of cash around, I might call for another burger instead and complement it with a plume of the slim, crispy house fries, which are served in copper julep cups. The desserts are unremarkable (if you get one, make it the chocolate “candy bar”), so save your calories, provided you have any left, for the voluminous and inventive bar menu, which has six sections, not including wine and the usual multitude of craft beers. I have dim memories of a Philadelphia Fish House Punch, impeccably executed with apple brandy and two kinds of rum, although I don’t think we had the nerve, in the end, to call for one of the Cocktail Explosions, which cost $110 at this maddeningly posh boom-time bar and are hoisted to the table in giant punch goblets the size of watermelons.

http://www.thenomadhotel.com/#!/dining/the-nomad-bar
  • Hours

    Mon-Tue, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Wed-Sat, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Sun, 5 p.m.-midnight

  • Prices

    $6-$36

  • Payment

    American Express Discover MasterCard Visa

  • Special Features

    Design Standout Bar Scene Dine at the Bar Notable Chef Hot Spot Late-Night Dining

  • Alcohol

    Full Bar

  • Reservations

    Not Accepted

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