It might seem counterintuitive to order chicken at a restaurant. After all, chicken is chicken, and it’s something that we can usually make at home just fine. Well, this might be true for, say, chicken breast, but there’s one chicken dish that you should always order if you see it on a menu: roast chicken for two.
It’s not easy to roast a whole chicken perfectly, and many chefs really like demonstrating their prowess in the kitchen by putting one on their menu. It’s a subtle challenge to other chefs who have it on their menus, as if to say, “Try my chicken and see how much better it is than yours.” Many chefs spend months or even years perfecting their roast chicken recipe, and at the restaurants that do it very well, the meat is moist and juicy, the skin is well-seasoned and crispy, and it’s usually one of the hottest items on the menu. In short: Chefs don’t put a whole roast chicken on their menu unless they know it’s going to be very, very good.
But out of all the restaurant roast chickens in America (click here for our round-up of the top 10), there’s one that probably gets more (well-deserved) praise than any other, is the most labor-intensive to create, and is also the most insanely delicious: the one served at New York City’s The NoMad restaurant.
To prepare the chicken, chef Daniel Humm (also chef at the renowned Eleven Madison Park restaurant) carefully preps an Amish chicken to make sure that the skin isn’t torn, because it’s pried away from the breast and stuffed with a mixture of brioche, truffles, and foie gras. The cavity is filled with lemon and rosemary, and the chicken is trussed and allowed to chill in order to prevent the foie gras from melting. It’s then brushed with butter and roasted at 450 degrees F. The resulting deep-brown chicken is presented tableside before being carved up in the kitchen. The breasts are served as-is, and the dark meat is served in a separate dish after being tossed with butter, shallots, and seasonal vegetables and topped with whipped hollandaise. At $89, it’s as delicious as it is expensive.