There are anticipated openings, and then there is the NoMad Los Angeles. The historic Italian bank-turned-boutique hotel hailing from New York has had Angelenos waiting with bated breath since Daniel Humm and Will Guidara announced their migration west—and with good reason.
The downtown space is bathed in the opulence of a great Italian opera house with neoclassical and baroque nods throughout, including ornately gilded Italianate ceilings, marble floors and floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains pulled back to allow natural light to illuminate the lavish interiors.
From the omniscient view of the NoMad Los Angeles’ signature restaurant, The Mezzanine, two-top tables overlook The Lobby, which acts as an all-day dining destination for casual fare. There’s also an elegant Venetian-inspired cafe with creative takes on croissants and coffees from Devoción and a whopping four bars from Leo Robitschek, winner of both a James Beard Award and a third-place ranking in “The World’s 50 Best.” Oh, and then there’s that boutique hotel.
Needless to say, the NoMad Los Angeles is an ambitious project. Especially in a city that’s grown somewhat skeptical of New York imports.
But Humm and Guidara—owners of the Make It Nice hospitality group responsible for both Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad New York—aren’t taking the task lightly. Over a dozen members of their New York crew have packed up to open the NoMad Los Angeles, while also acquiring local talent from mainstays like Bestia and Republiqué to help infuse native soul into the project.
At The Mezzanine, the hotel’s formal dining room, executive chef Chris Flint—who helped the team win their three Michelin stars at Eleven Madison Park—is reveling in the opportunity to learn more about local California produce.
So while you will find several of the East Coast location’s signature dishes on The Mezzanine’s menu, there is also a distinct California sensibility.
The broccoli, for instance, is a delicious deep dive into the various textures and flavors one can coax out of the cruciferous vegetable. To start, the veg is pureed with tahini, lemon and olive oil, then topped with crispy puffed black rice, shallot and lemon zest, which adds a wonderful crunch and a zing of acid. Grilled broccolini and spigarello are draped around that bed of rice, making a nest for a vibrant-yellow cured egg yolk whose richness is the perfect foil to the acid and char of the other components. It’s thoughtfully adorned with sunshine-colored broccoli flowers—basically California on a plate.
But it’s not just local veggies being showcased here. While many chefs are quick to site the year-round growing season as a draw, the team at the NoMad Los Angeles has thoughtfully noted the bounty of our “meroir,” utilizing unique seafood and coastal sea vegetables in the Fruits de Mer platter. Instead of a seafood tower billowing with bivalves and oversize lobster, the array of amuse-bouche-size morsels includes rich, briny Santa Barbara uni in a savory kombu pear gelée, and sweet crab garnished with mermaid’s hair and sea grapes—both foraged seaweeds from the coast.