Meatloaf made headlines this week, when President Trump made New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie order it when they dined together at the White House. Though it’s not necessarily a maligned dish, meatloaf has a dowdy reputation, while other comfort foods have become menu staples.
But there’s nothing stodgy about meatloaf this month at The NoMad Bar, where three variations on the menu through March 10th nod to the new-release from Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer, A Meatloaf in Every Oven: Two Chatty Cooks, One Iconic Dish and Dozens of Recipes — From Mom’s House to Mario Batali’s. One dish shows off lamb with the texture of a rustic pate. A chorizo loaf displays Manchego and pork, with breadcrumbs swapped for rice. The third, the Sweet Nostalgic loaf ($22), honors Leslie Bruni, the author’s mother.
New York Times columnist and former restaurant critic, Bruni starts the book as a guy who knows his way around food, yet he’s shy in the kitchen. When his friend and colleague Steinhauer (who covers Congress for the Times) asks if there’s any dish he feels comfortable cooking, meatloaf is the answer.
“Just wait,” Bruni says when his dinner guests would give him a look when they learned what’s for dinner. He says he’d usually bring out two and the results surprised skeptics.
While his homemade versions may not have been as composed as the three on a table in front of him — this was James Kent of the NoMad making meatloaf, after all — the ingredients go beyond his mother’s version — especially the chorizo recipe, his favorite. “I think we may steal one and put it on the regular menu,” says Kent. “I think it really fits the bar.”