NOMA report

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NOMA report

Postby Christina Georgina » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:30 pm

We had lunch on the last day of service before their sumer holiday. I found the restaurant serene, elegant but simple. A converted warehouse on the waterfront with whitewashed exposed beams but all other surfaces polished wood, metal, glass, stone in shades of gray, black. Danish modern design leather chairs had lambskins draped over their backs also in shades of grey, white, black. All beautiful but the noise as the afternoon proceeded prohibited conversation across the table.
As stated, we rarely eat in restaurants but the multiple course menu and drink pairings seems quite outdated or at best I do not understand how such menus should be composed. Ordinarily, I think of a menu as having a certain internal logic with a progression to a climax and then denoument. Each small plate stood alone with the only obvious coherence being unusual ingredients used in unusual ways. Nonetheless, each course beautifully composed and plated, often whimsically, on heavy stoneware came to the table with an explanation but there was no time to query about seasonings or technique. The 21 courses were served with lightening speed, many times the next course coming before the last finished.
We started off with a vinegar marinated green strawberry served with salted red currants and lavander flowers. The kohlrabi "cocktail" came next: a large, hollowed out whole kohlrabi with a Spanish Chervil straw sticking out of a hole in its side. Pureed, strained raw kohlrabi juice seasoned with some caraway was the refreshing juice replaced in the center. This was served with long greens attached sitting on a bed of straw.Fried moss dusted with porcini powder served on a bed of moss with a creamed sauce was next [ get the Epi -pen Jenise ! ] Crisp, crumbly texture without any taste except for the cep, oil and salt. Pickled and smoked soft centered quail eggs arrived cosseted in a bed of straw still warm in a large stone egg shaped box. I won't go through all 21 courses except the highlights for me- thin crispy outer cabbage leaves dried used as a sandwich for samphire; Seaweed flatbread with roasted rose petals on a bed of gooseberry puree; cured egg yolk surrounded by pencil thin slices of potato drizzled with a savory elderflower sauce. The use of elderflower in a savory way was a revelation and definitely something I will try to work out. Two dishes had ants, lemony and crunchy. One on roasted cucumber dipped into scallop and bee larvae "fudge" did not work but ants on the beef tartare was a winner. Smoked turbot roe on seaweed. The last half of the menu saw many dishes served in a bowl followed by the server pouring a sauce around the bite. It was no longer a revelation after the third such presentation but several more followed.
You had the option of ordering wine from list, ordering the wine paired menu or the juice paired menu or simply water, still or sparkling. I chose the juice pairings, my husband the wine pairing. The juice menu was superior as the flavors perfectly complimented much of the food. Juices included: cucumber/whey; apple/pine; quince; celery/seaweed; rhubarb/green juniper and lingonberry. The flavors were the essence of the primary ingredient with the remaining flavors subtle and most interesting.
The wines however were from small, organic/biodynamic producers that all seemed to be "friends of the restaurant" all said to be"fresh and light". From Steiermark, Niederosterreich, Kamptal,Jura, Loire, Beaune 2010-2013 vintages. All seemed quite thin, sour and adding nothing to the food nor the food to the wine.
MOMA's fame is a problem with diners taking pictures of the plates, asking waiters to photo them at the table, in front of the sign on the doorway and in the kitchen. The # of courses should be severely edited. I wanted to make inquiry about the dishes but service was very rushed and although he staff very friendly and gracious clearly did not have time to spend. After 3 hours we were escorted into the adjacent bar-sitting room and then presented with bill. The number of staff prepping, composing and plating the food, removing all glasses and all flatware between courses contributes to a hefty bill.
I have had the NOMA book for 2 years and finally feel like I can start looking at it and somewhat understand although virtually nothing other than the juices possible in Wisconsin
Mamma Mia !
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Re: NOMA report

Postby Lou Kessler » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:53 pm

The food sounds fascinating to me. We were in Denmark a few years ago and tried to snare a reservation about eight months in advance but no luck. :( My wife the cook in the house was very disappointed.
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Re: NOMA report

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:41 pm

Lou Kessler wrote:The food sounds fascinating to me. We were in Denmark a few years ago and tried to snare a reservation about eight months in advance but no luck. :( My wife the cook in the house was very disappointed.

BettyLu was looking for tips on cooking lichen? :wink:
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Re: NOMA report

Postby Lou Kessler » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:30 am

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Lou Kessler wrote:The food sounds fascinating to me. We were in Denmark a few years ago and tried to snare a reservation about eight months in advance but no luck. :( My wife the cook in the house was very disappointed.

BettyLu was looking for tips on cooking lichen? :wink:

Hey Jeff those were the kind of ingredients she was so very interested in tasting. Some dishes she said she couldn't imagine tasting good and that was what she wanted to check out. My cooking is limited to barbequeing and I can make some home made ice cream that will pass muster so I would have been along for the ride.
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Re: NOMA report

Postby Jon Peterson » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:03 pm

Thanks, Christina - Your review is probably as close as I'll get. Tried to go in March this year with no luck.
I just wanted to inform you that I find you to be very attractive. Thank you and have a nice day.
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Re: NOMA report

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:29 pm

The food sounds very interesting, Christina. I'm a bit surprised they rushed you though it, though. It was lunch and all, but that still doesn't seem right for a restaurant that ranks as one of the top destination places in the world.

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field" - Niels Bohr
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Re: NOMA report

Postby Christina Georgina » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:41 am

Yes, the food was extremely interesting and not likely to be had any where else although the juices are definitely do able once I figure out how to safely do the pine essence.
The only disappointment was the rush. I tried to have conversations several times early on trying to confirm my impressions about flavors/seasonings but gave it up after the 4th course. As I said, this would not be an issue with some serious editing of courses. This could easily be done without sacrificing because there were duplications of ingredients - wood sorrel, ants, heavily charred and or intensely roasted vegetables. The rush really prevented savoring the tastes and allowing them to register as memory which for me is a very enjoyable exercise.
Mamma Mia !
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Re: NOMA report

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:23 pm

Christina, finally back from own foodie sojourn (an Outstanding in the Field dinner, which I'll write up separately) and excited to find your report. You know what, if you'd asked me to guess what the most disappointing aspect of your meal was, I'd have never guessed 'rushed' because what great restaurant does that? NOMA's food is so 'out there' that it deserves contemplation almost like no other, and being robbed of the time to do that adequately is unthinkable. 21 courses is no more impressive than 16, just pulling a number out of the air, would have been, but pulling five would have enabled a less awkward pacing. Delivering the next course before the prior is finished is not just bothersome, it's rude.

But that aside, the food sounds amazing. Did you have to hold your breath before taking your first bite of ants (I would have)? And I'm wondering where elderflowers grow. I've taste a popular liqueur based on them, but that's about my only experience.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: NOMA report

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:16 pm

Sambucus Nigra, but better information at the family page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambucus
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