Exploring NYC's NoMad Neighborhood
Considering its position at the heart of Manhattan—as central as central gets—it’s a bit odd that the area between 26th and 30th Streets, Park Avenue and Broadway didn’t, until recently, even have a name. But for decades there wasn’t much there: just a wasteland of dingy wholesalers and shops selling hair extensions and counterfeit perfume. The tide began to turn with the 2009 arrival of the Ace Hotel, whose restaurants and lobby bar were soon luring trendy downtowners to its obscure patch of Broadway. Other pioneers followed. Yet if urban renewal has a tipping point, the just-opened NoMad Hotel is it. Named for the neighborhood’s newfound acronym (NOrth of MADison Square Park), the 168-room property is a collaboration of Andrew Zobler, developer of the Ace, and Will Guidara and Daniel Humm, the duo behind Eleven Madison Park, the best restaurant in New York City at the moment. Occupying a 1903 Beaux-Arts tower on Broadway at 28th Street, the NoMad feels like the ancestral home of some raffish, fabulously wealthy bohemian, with elegantly burnished interiors (courtesy of Hôtel Costes designer Jacques Garcia) and an air of unbuttoned privilege. Food and drink take center stage: in a series of intimate dining rooms and lounges surrounding a light-flooded atrium, Chef Humm offers a more rustic and affordable take on the French-inspired cuisine he’s famous for, including whole-roasted chicken from the open-hearth oven. There’s also a rooftop terrace; a leather-paneled bar seemingly teleported from 1872—complete with outsize mahogany elephants; and, of course, a burgeoning foodie playground just outside the NoMad’s doors.
Hill Country Chicken
An offshoot of the great Hill Country BBQ, with some of the crunchiest, juiciest fried chicken in town. 1123 Broadway; lunch for two $25.
Original location of Danny Meyer’s bar-raising burger stand: still-epic lines, still worth the wait. Shackburger and fries $15.
Eleven Madison Park
Stellar service, rigorously inventive cooking, and an overriding sense of fun: haute cuisine has never felt this youthful or vital. Four-course tasting menu for two $148.
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
Chef Gastón Acurio finally brings his renowned Peruvian seafood to NYC. 11 Madison Ave.; 212/612-3388; dinner for two $150.
1170 Broadway; 855/796-1505; thenomadhotel.com; doubles from $395.
Expense-account Italian stalwart San Domenico trades Central Park South for more relaxed digs on Madison Square Park. 19 E. 26th St.; 212/265-5959; dinner for two $140.
Nuevo Spanish tapas and a lively bar scene draw the under-35 set to the Eventi hotel. 839 Ave. of the Americas; 646/600-7150; dinner for two $90.
The Hurricane Club
Upscale tiki lounge with oceans of rattan and lacquer, a white-coral fireplace, and throwback tropical libations. 360 Park Ave. S.; 212/951-7111; drinks for two $26.
Refined Middle Eastern food, served in a gleaming jewel box of a room. 236 Fifth Ave.; 212/683-2929; dinner for two $110.
John Dory Oyster Bar
The trendsetting Ace Hotel houses one of the city’s top raw bars. 20 W. 29th St.; 212/792-9000; dinner for two $100.
Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Italian-food megaplex has a new cooking school and a rooftop brewery and restaurant. 200 Fifth Ave; 212/229-2560; eatalyny.com.