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From Our Editors
NoMI Kitchen chef Ryan LaRoche doesn't just elegantly plate his creations—he makes sculptures of them. Wispy clouds of housemade cotton candy seem to float over strata of Tahitian-vanilla panna cotta and chestnut mousse in the parfait, and his NoMI burger deconstructs the American staple, with its wagyu beef, tower of onion rings, and roasted garlic brioche orbiting almost independently around a thin wooden axis. After a renovation in the summer of 2011 that included the addition of kitchen to the name, the executive chef tossed out the buttoned-up formality that characterized the predecessor, keeping some of the technicality in fine dining but tempering it with a certain playfulness. The tradeoff paid off, earning the seventh-story bistro a Michelin star and a cavalcade of other accolades. Inside the dining room, where floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto bustling Michigan Avenue, the staff collaborates with diners, guiding them through the menu of seasonal dishes. From their seats, guests can watch as LaRoche prepares roasted pumpkin soup and truffled mac 'n' cheese in the open kitchen, which centers around a Molteni stove—an artwork in its own right. Many of the dishes grow out of local produce, with some as local as the Hyatt building itself and its rooftop herb and tomato garden.