#NewYorkNights: Guilt-Free Dining at NOMO Kitchen
This article originally appeared on Yoganonymous.com.
Earlier today I sat down in the elegant dining room of NOMO Kitchen with Jazmin Alfonseca and Executive Chef N. Salaam in the heart of SoHo.
There are beautiful ferns right next to us, the chatter of warm conversations fills the air, and there are glowing sun beams streaming down through the glass ceiling.
Jazmin tells me that she’s been working in the hospitality industry for over five years, for premiere companies, including W Hotels, and made the switch to the privately owned NOMO SoHo earlier this fall.
She’s gearing up wellness and fitness events for New York City locals and hotel guests alike, and she sees NOMO as one of the top places to experience a luxurious taste of health and wellness. She’s arranged everything from yoga on the rooftop to soulful parties dedicated to self-enjoyment—and during this lunch, she told me something all the yogis want to hear: There will be more and more health and wellness events to come in this lovely, almost sparkling location.
We sat down for a delicious three course meal—indulging in Chef Salaam’s Tuna Tartar, stepping into paradise with Salaam’s signature Mini Fish Tacos, and transporting to Italy with Salaam’s Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe.
The Tuna Tartar is a favorite for both Jazmin and Salaam. With tastes so delicious it makes your mouth water in-between every bite, it’s no wonder it’s everyone’s favorite. All of Salaam’s dishes are presented in either a low and wide form, or slender and tall form—and it's all intentional. Salaam creates his food presentations to reflect the architecture of the building, using a contrast of the high heights of the hotel and low grounding to represent the restaurant itself. As the whole grain mustard hugs the tuna, I’m trying to hold back from hugging Jazmin and Salaam for feeding me such delicious, high-vibe food.
Salaam’s signature recipe for the fish tacos dates back to his days as an emerging chef on the scene. He was up for a highly competitive position, where he was placed in Top Chef style competition with his opponents—so to get a clear mind about his creation for the tasting, he flew to Miami and developed the concept for this recipe while basking in the sun rays on a beautiful blue-watered, white sandy beach. As you taste the dish, you feel like you’ve been warped into a secluded island, with the tropical influences with of mangoes coupled with a sriracha aioli sauce—these bites of food are ones that you never want to end.
Salaam says that this is his signature dish. It helped him establish his career, and helped him expand and grow his accomplishments as an executive chef. “There’s a difference between eatingand dining,” Salaam says, “I want people to leave here feeling like they have left [the food equivalent] of a Broadway play.”
Salaam’s Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe is made to impress. This house made pasta is dazzled with fennel pollen, cracked pepper, and has a poached egg hidden inside it’s artistic presentation. As health conscious individuals, we rarely stop to enjoy the pasta—but this recipe is one made for the books. Salaam says that his recipes include “intense flavors marrying soft textures” and this dish embodies those words exactly.
Everything in Salaam’s kitchen is made from scratch. “There’s a science to this, a lot of research and a lot of trial and error,” he says. Salaam does not use animal stocks or by products in his cooking, he uses real food—which is why you will feel nourished, but not heavy, when you dine in NOMO Kitchen.
Salaam also curbs his food ingredients to be in a 600 mile radius of the restaurant’s location—using over thirty different purveyors. Salaam prides himself on giving you dishes made from the best ingredients, and has the intention to educate restaurant patrons who enter into his space. He places items on the menu that intrigue you to ask questions, and interact with the staff—adding to the holistic dining experience.
There is a soulfulness that speaks through Salaam’s food—with bold flavors inspired by his travels, and the soft touch of elegance in every dish that flows through from his classical French training. Salaam’s dishes are personal, they speak to his Jamaican background, and are perfectly curated for the health conscious foodies who love fine dining.
I take the last sip of my cappuccino, feeling fully nourished, and fully inspired. Salaam—your intention rang true—your dishes were a full experience, your expertise and creation for mindfulmeals deserves a standing ovation and a heart-felt bravo!
Not Sure What to Order at NOMO Kitchen? Try These Chef Favorites
Baked Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Fresh Fruit
Salaam says: These pancakes are baked to maintain fluffiness and are never dry. The pancakes are drizzled with agave + lemon ricotta, and pair perfectly with fresh fruit.
NOMO Wagyu Burger
Salaam says: This burger is ground freshly in-house, and are designed to infuse flavor right to your taste buds. The burger is topped with blue cheese and an apple, and is a house favorite—even to those who don’t typically eat red meat.
Salaam says: This dish is an explosion of flavor. Not only does Salaam love the fish itself, but he also pairs it with a delicious combination of pickled onions, and hedgehog mushrooms.