Restaurateur Brian Moy has spent his life in the industry.
“I grew up in the restaurant business. I was a busboy, to waiter to floor manager and I grew up with my father’s business, which was China Pearl, and I always wanted to do my own quote unquote dream restaurant.”
And he’s taken all of those years of Chinatown know-how and brought it to the suburbs at Nomai.
Located at the Derby Street Shops in Hingham, Nomai is a stunning spot serving unique takes on Asian classics. Brian Moy is no stranger to a restaurant opening, having created both Ruckus Noodles, neighborhood favorite Shojo, in the heart of Boston’s Chinatown.
“This particular concept is I refer to as like the grown up adult sexier version of Shojo. Now that I’m married, and children, I like to come out with my family and we can come and enjoy some good food and still make it back home without going into the city.”
And the Nomai space is absolutely jaw dropping.
“What we wanted to create was a high end city chic feel in the suburbs, while creating that casual atmosphere. So because the name is Nomai, one of our big key design elements was to have Nomai trees inside the space. We have a bookshelf that has what we’re all about, from food to fashion, to drinks, to culture, to hip hop and martial arts. We want people to come in as they like, really relaxed where it’s good quality food, good quality cocktails in a very relaxed atmosphere.”
So he made an Asian inspired menu with a little something for everybody.
“So what we wanted to do here was make approachable Asian food with some hints of Asian elements, whether it’s an ingredient, a technique, so when you look at the menu, you’re going to see recognizable lobster, salmon, oysters, but, we take a fun approach with it and sneak in a little bit of Asian ingredients.”
After you’ve grabbed yourself one of Nomai’s signature cocktails, an appetizer is in order. There’s delicate sashimi served in a lager ponzu with watermelon radish. Warm Chinese bings served with nori butter and the option to upgrade with some caviar. And for a true taste of Chinatown in the suburbs, get the crispy calamari.
“Chinatown is very well known for their salt and pepper fried calamari. We use a fresh calamari. We fry it toss with a salt and pepper seasoning and we incorporate some good smash cucumbers, chili crisp in there to give it that nice balance.”
There’s grilled sea scallop yakitori served in a yuzu beurre blanc sauce. An Asian take on a Wedge Salad topped with buttermilk ranch and dried miso. And the Orange Chicken Chicken Wings are so good, they’ll have you seeing double when you order them.
“We all thought there was a typo. But, if you go back to your nostalgia days of Panda Express. You get orange chicken. So orange chicken is the flavor and to chicken wings. So we had a little bit of fun. Orange chicken chicken wings. We use fresh squeezed oranges some molasses and we create this caramel Asian sauce that we marinate it in, and we fry it and comes out crispy crunchy and finger licking good.”
The finger licking goodness continues right into the entree section, with some KFC- except at Nomai, that stands for Koji Fried Chicken which sounds as good as it tastes.
“If I can make the noise and then all the juices ooze out.”
This glorious golden bird is coated in a fermented rice paste, battered and fried.
“It comes out super crunchy, and super juicy on the inside. And we top it with some ginger scallion sauce. Paying homage to Chinatown scallion ginger chicken.”
Seafood lovers will want to try the seared Wild Halibut served with rice noodles or the luscious Maine Lobster Noodles, featuring house made ramen. And for more of those carbs, there’s nothing like Grandma Hua’s Handmade Carrot Noodles with Beef Bourguignon.
“It comes to me, almost like a hungry man stew, you have this really tender beef, you have these broken down carrots, rich sauce. So hearty you get the nice chew of the noodles and then you get the tender beef and the tender carrots all absorbing all that great, wonderful sauce. Really a must try.”
And for a steak you won’t soon forget, try the Lemongrass Filet Mignon.
“Lemongrass filet mignon is definitely your meats and potatoes dish, but we wanted to have some fun with it. So lemongrass is going to come out sort of like the sharp gingery sauce, but very savory. It’s delicious.”
At dessert, you can try the Thai Tea Tiramisu, an Asian twist on an Italian classic served with coconut gelato. And on the weekend, you can swing by for Brunch with options like the Ube Coconut Pancake with maple macadamia syrup and cultured butter
“Ube is a purple dark purple root vegetable, almost like a starchy potato, but when you grind it down, you can actually get a lot of flavor out of it. And we’d like to say we paid homage to the Phantom.”
And for those who like the lunch side of brunch, there’s the Teriyaki Burger.
“Perfect bite, nice and tender, nice and juicy, your fingers are going to get a little bit messy. So make sure you get your right stance, but out, chin out.”
But it really doesn’t matter how you eat it, because you’re going to love it, at Nomai.