New NoMad Hot Spots Shaping the Neighborhood
In 2016, The New York Times’ Florence Fabricant declared 277 Fifth Avenue’s neighborhood as Manhattan’s “Hottest New Dining Spot.” It was a declaration that came on the heels of what locals already knew—in a city whose axes are constantly shifting, NoMad has the distinct geographic advantage of being a gateway between Uptown and Downtown while cultivating an identity that makes it a destination all its own. It’s a place where the glamor of old New York mixes with the power of Chelsea’s art world to the west and the fashion world to the northwest. And it is now the neighborhood where the best chefs in the world come to make their international debuts—where they not only produce lavish, unforgettable meals but also help define the neighborhood, along with Madison Square Park and the nearby Flatiron Building.
This kind of buzz has recently brought Scott Conant’s Scarpetta over to NoMad from the Meatpacking District. The James Beard Award-nominated restaurant also received a three-star review from The New York Times’ Frank Bruni. Now located in The James New York Hotel, the venue still features a New York City dining masterpiece—the tomato and basil spaghetti—which is the kind of dish whose simplicity makes it one of the greatest challenges to a chef to create. This is exactly what Conant does with this most classic of dishes, as well as with an entire menu marked exquisite minimalism.
Make a night of it by following dinner with drinks at The Seville, just downstairs from Scarpetta at The James New York, where perfect cocktails can always be found, along with live DJs, every night of the week. The Seville is named for the hotel that used to be home to one of the many speakeasies that dotted the neighborhood during Prohibition.
Another hotel with multiple dining and drinking options is The Freehand, which recently opened three new establishments—each a brainchild of Gabriel Stulman, the man who brought us the quietly chic Joseph Leonard in the West Village. At the Freehand, Stulman’s impeccable taste—both culinary and aesthetic—is granted free reign in quintessentially NoMad spaces as open and elegant as the neighborhood’s Beaux-Arts buildings. Stulman has envisioned—and brought to life—Studio, the George Washington Bar, and Simon and the Whale. The food is inspired by Stulman’s Moroccan-Jewish roots, and the decor is by Roman and Williams, the design duo that has captured the rustic-elegant look of the moment with as much creativity as a Wes Anderson film set. Stulman is creating a world big enough to help anchor the new pull toward the neighborhood—and he fittingly received the nod from Fabricant this year when this complex of quintessentially elegant NoMad pleasures opened its doors.