L.A.’s New NoMad Is Serving the Classics (and Banana Pudding Croissants)
“I was super excited to actually create places for people who live downtown,” Will Guidara says.
You can go to the downtown hotel’s Mezzanine restaurant for an elegant dinner including butter-dipped radishes and Humm’s over-the-top roast chicken with black truffle and brioche stuffing before a grand finale of baked Alaska that will light up your table. Or you can have a leisurely lunch or dinner in the Lobby with Humm’s famous carrot tartare, some fava bean hummus, a plate of luxurious king crab tagliatelle and a show-stopping truffle-topped chicken Milanese that Guidara correctly describes as being “like the black truffle and brioche chicken in the form of Milanese.” You can enjoy bar director Leo Robitschek’s cocktails in both the Mezzanine and the Lobby, as well as the Library and the Giannini Bar. This spring, the Rooftop with an outdoor café and cocktail bar for hotel guests will debut.
L.A.’s NoMad, like New York’s NoMad, is built for lingering. But NoMad Los Angeles, which opened last week, also happens to be a perfect spot if you want to pop by for 15 minutes or get some grab-and-go pastries at its Coffee Bar. The Coffee Bar even has its own entrance from the street, so you can avoid the rest of the hotel if you’re in a hurry.
“I think there are elements of [NoMad Los Angeles] that are going to be driven from the hotel,” Guidara says. ”There are going to be elements that are destination restaurants. But I was super excited to actually create places for people who live downtown.”
As fans of dessert for breakfast, we’re most excited by the Coffee Bar’s carrot cake croissant and banana pudding croissant. The latter is marvelously engineered. It’s stuffed with creamy pudding that managed to stay inside the pastry during every bite we took.
It helps that the croissants are made by the pastry chef at the world’s best restaurant. Mark Welker, the executive pastry chef for both NoMad and Eleven Madison Park, has been playing around with croissant flavors for years. One of his hits at New York’s NoMad was a boston cream croissant.
“We just like to take things we love and nostalgic American ideas for desserts and see if we can apply them to a croissant,” Welker says.
Welker also added a ham-and-cheese rye croissant to the Coffee Bar menu last Friday. He’s serving a cappuccino croissant.
While L.A.’s NoMad is no doubt showcasing some of the New York NoMad’s greatest hits, the Coffee Bar is a new concept. All four of the aforementioned croissants are pastries that Welker is offering to guests for the first time.
“Now we have a stage to do all of them,” Guidara says.
Last Friday, the Coffee Bar also had almond croissants, everything bagel croissants and quiche with duck sausage and kale.
The Coffee Bar, which serves Devoción coffee sourced from Colombia, is designed as a place for a quick breakfast or sandwich. But it’s also an after-work drinking destination.
“At night, it’s a lovely little standing bar with prosciutto and cheeses and olives and giardiniere,” Guidara says. “Last night, the place was full of people just drinking and having some cheeses and meats.”
The Coffee Bar is modeled after an iconic Italian café, the nearly 300-year-old Caffè Florian in Venice.
“The true Italian coffee bars act as an all-day space, where you can get espresso, amaro and a glass of wine with some small snacks,” says Welker, who likes the idea of the Coffee Bar being a pre-dinner or post-dinner hangout. “We wanted to give that to our guests.”
Guidara’s thinking about giving the Coffee Bar a different name at night. This, of course, is one of many things he has on his plate at the moment. He also wants the Coffee Bar to have a “more robust” menu once things settle down a bit at his new hotel.
“We’re five days in,” he says during our Friday visit. “I’m feeling really good. Last night, I was like, ‘Alright, here we go.’ We were starting to go off script. And for us, the day we go off script is the day we feel like ourselves.”
NoMad Los Angeles, 649 S. Olive St., 213-358-000