The name NOSH is short for New Orleans Social House and refers to the dining experience the new Warehouse District spot promises its guests. But snacking on small plates is just one part of the equation at this swanky cocktail lounge from Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts.
On weekends, live music — often a jazz trio or pianist — augments the buzzy atmosphere. Like its predecessor in the space, Tommy's Wine Bar, NOSH is a place to linger over a drink and a snack. Like a growing number of restaurants, it focuses on small and shared plates and feels equally suited for a date or business meeting.
There are lists of cocktails, beer, liquors and wines by the glass, and the menu clearly is designed to accompany drinks.
A raw seafood bar draws from international waters and includes preparations ranging from a leche de tigre-laced Peruvian-style ceviche to a chilled octopus dish with sauce vierge. Hamachi tiradito features thin squares of fish drizzled with citrus marinade and a small leaf of purple shiso. Thick slices of jalapeno impart a nice heat, although some slices were cut so large that the spice overpowered the other flavors in the dish.
Keeping with the globetrotting theme, the rest of the menu also draws inspiration from international cuisines. Lobster tacos get a Southwestern kick, served in miniature hard corn tortillas topped with avocado, citrusy corn salsa and a remoulade-like crema. They're delicious and come three per order, but the $16 price tag is steep.
Most of the plates are on the small side, but the flatbreads can suffice as a meal for one person. The bianca version features perfectly crisped flatbread topped with oozing fontina cheese and caramelized onions. Roasted garlic imbues an earthy, warm touch while Pecorino cheese adds a sharp, nutty taste and a sweet and deeply savory pinot jam provides a decadent finishing touch.
Most of the food reflects a casual dining approach, but some dishes would fit a more elegant setting. Fat, buttery sea scallops arrive in a pool of nutty brown butter with a corn nage, and the creamy kernels burst with natural sweetness. Also impressive are bison sliders on toasted brioche buns, which come two per order and are another larger dish. The thick bison patties were cooked a perfect medium rare and are topped with a thick slice of Tillamook cheddar cheese and soft, candy-like caramelized onions. The burgers are speared with a pretty roulade of fresh cucumber and pickled radishes.
The restaurant's opening chef, Michael Farrell of the long-shuttered Le Meritage, has since departed, and at this writing, a successor has not yet been named. It will be interesting to see where NOSH heads, but it feels safe to say the social atmosphere and small-plate theme are here to stay.