2020 Best New Restaurants // No. 5 Nomad
Before trying Tommy Andrew’s pastrami at Nomad, we thought we knew pastrami. We’ve always been in love with the giant wads of peppery beef served between slices of rye bread served at delis here in St. Louis and in other cities across the country. But after eating at Nomad, all our assumptions about what pastrami even is flew out the window.
Mind-blowingly juicy but also speckled with crunchy bits, Andrew’s pastrami melds the best aspects of the urbane deli counter and rugged barbecue.
“I was really big on the bark,” Andrew explained, recalling the four months he spent developing his method. “It’s very heavy spice, with black pepper and coriander, and you want to get that bark on there – it soaks up all that smoke, so it gets crispy. We literally could hear it crack sometimes.”
Whether you bite into it on the pastrami sandwich, on the Double Deuce burger (a burger-pastrami sandwich mash-up) or served atop a mound of poutine (made with Provel, naturally), the complexity Andrew has so carefully cultivated shines through. A veteran of some of St. Louis’ finest kitchens including Monarch, Randolfi’s and Cinder House, Andrew was named a Sauce One to Watch in 2015. It’s not surprising that he has the imagination and skill to take a favorite old standard and push it further, transforming it in unexpected and gratifying ways.
While the pastrami is the standout item, it’s hardly the only great thing at Nomad. Specialty burgers like the unctuous, double-pork patty Dumpter Fire! and outstanding sides like the grainy Creole mustard-forward potato salad and funky, sour kimchi Brussels sprouts make for a well-rounded menu that balances reliable excellence with surprising pops of creativity and innovation.