Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2013 6:38pm
Subject: Some of NYC’s Finest (not the NYPD)
Dear Rachael -
As you know, my restaurant cruising runs the gamut. I love a little down-home local spot, I love a good food truck, I love a great sandwich and I also love a nicer meal every now and then. When I do splurge, I like to know it is going to be great. And by deciding to visit Chef Daniel Humm’s newest restaurant and Chef Floyd Cardoz’s newest venture, I knew I was going to be in good hands – make that great hands!
While the amazingly talented Chef Daniel Humm and his front-of-the-house business partner Will Guidara have received global press with their Eleven Madison Park restaurant, their most recent opening in the NoMad Hotel is pretty special, too. While it is not as highbrow as EMP, it’s still a special meal. I went with Katy and looked forward to the feast we were about to embark on. We started with a plate of radishes that the menu said were served with butter and fleur de sel (pictured above). What arrived at our table was Humm’s savory answer to chocolate dipped strawberries: a beautiful board of fresh radishes dipped (coated) in butter and served with a little pile of fleur de sel on the side. I could talk about this dish for pages, quite honestly. But in the interest of moving on, they followed these little gems with their potato and spring onion flatbread. Many restaurants would classify this as a menu item, but this is their “bread.” We then tried an interesting combination of soft egg with crispy quinoa and brown butter sabayon followed by the julienned snow peas with pecorino and mint. Simple, but perfect.
Without slowing down, we both dug into my fettuccine with king crab and lemon and Katy picked at the grilled asparagus panzanella. Filling our table, we added the suckling pig confit with greens and apricots, which was plate-lickable, perfectly cooked pork that was tender and flavorful with a thin, waiting-to-be shattered crust. For dessert, we were talked into the enrobed chocolate bar with peanut butter, and the Milk & Honey dessert, which is one of Chef’s favorites. Both were pretty special, as was the whole experience at the NoMad.
Next up? Top Chef Masters winner, a personal favorite chef of mine and a crazy talented chef at that: Floyd Cardoz’s newest venture with Danny Meyer and the Union Square Hospitality Group, North End Grill. I sat at the kitchen counter and watched the show. I knew this was going to be a marathon, so I paced myself and shared with my neighbors. I started with the Skip Jack Crudo with blood orange and pickled ginger, a great start to the meal. Then, Christmas came early… in the form of a taste of the dressing/stuffing that Chef Cardoz serves with his whole roasted chicken. I also tried the Chili-Rubbed Rock Cod with fresh turnips and grilled ramps and then a couple slices of the Grilled Clam Pizza with cilantro and lemon. Whoops, I tried more… the Scottish Egg coated in their homemade chorizo and breadcrumbs in a spicy watercress soup (amazing) and a side of grilled ramps and, oh yes, a side of Brussels sprout hash with mustard seeds and lentils and, okay, I’ll just admit it, a side of thrice fried spiced fries. Man, I think I got full writing this. But you thought I was done? No, there’s always room for dessert, which came in the form of the Butterscotch Pot de Crème with single “maltmallows.” The best part for me was mixing the whole thing together to mix in the salted caramel and cookie crumbs like I would have done if I were a kid. Now THAT’S the way to go!
And that’s what’s on my plate!
New York, NY 10001
North End Grill
104 North End Avenue
New York, NY 10282
Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!