Nomad – Moroccan Tapas in the East Village

The East Village is one of my favorite food neighborhoods in NYC. High end establishments sit next to tiny mom and pop shops. Indian food neighbors French fare. Rowdy bars are just a block down from exclusive and elegant cocktail lounges. There is something for whatever mood or appetite you may have.
 Nomad is a Moroccan inspired tapas bar. The mood inside is a slightly sexed up version of Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion. Rose colored walls, a cloud-painted ceiling, pillowed banquettes…it was campy, but in a good way, and put me in the mood to sit back and enjoy.
 Trio of Dips (from bottom left): Hummus, Fava Bean and Feta Artichoke. 
The ample servings of the dips arrived with warm, crispy outside and fluffy inside pita bread. 
Hummus – creamy, lemony, only slightly garlicky. Neither too gluey nor too grainy, a generous slick of fruity olive oil on top made the citrus flavors stand out. Excellent hummus. 
Fava Beans – I had never had fava bean dip before and it was totally delicious. Earthy like beats, toothsome like chickpeas and zesty with garlic and cumin, it was a heartier and more complex version of hummus. Slightly thicker, with more chew and less creaminess than traditional hummus, this was my favorite dip of the night. 
Artichoke and Feta – Now, I loved this but not everyone did. It was extremely pungent and grassy – like goat’s cheese gone wild and funky. Salty and smooth with meaty chunks of artichokes, it was full of dill and – you guessed it – garlic. 
Luckily, this was a gals only meal. Cause no one would want to kiss me after this meal. 
 Grilled Calamari Salad with Pears, Fennel, Greens, Tomato, and Red Onion. 
This was a shockingly excellent version of grilled calamari. I wasn’t expecting such tender, mild, well made calamari. It wasn’t at all mushy, but was quite tender with just hte barest spring to it that lovers of calamari enjoy. The dressing was incredibly bright and tart, melding with the sweet fennel, the juicy pears, the acidic tomatoes and the gentle bite of the red onion. This is an excellent dish for someone who has never had grilled calamari – very mild, not at all fishy or rubbery.
Duck Pastilla L’Orange with Duck and Almonds. 
This is why you come here. It’s why Moroccan food is so popular. A crispy, crackling phyllo dough sprinkled with powdered sugar and tart-sweet orange syrup surrounds a slightly gamy duck filling. The ground duck is mixed with almonds, cinnamon and cumin and the many sweet aspects of the pastilla made the savory ones taste even more savory and hearty. Sweet and savory is the name of the game here, and if you like samosa or duck, you will LOVE this dish. 
And, if you happen by this restaurant, chances are you will be very pleased. Pleasant staff, low prices and tasty food make for an enjoyable meal or snack. It isn’t a destination meal, but it is absolutely worthwhile if you are in the neighborhood and want to try some Moroccan food.
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  1. As far as I am concerned, I tried all the restaurants in my neighborhood ( I live on 8th street) and nomad ‘s food is just ok. If you want high class yet affordable delicious homemade moroccan food, you better try zerza restaurant on 6th street between 1st and 2d avenue. Definitely the best !