The suggestion I was given when Norma's was put on my to-do list was more of an instruction than a recommendation. And I only needed to take one look at their menu to understand why..
Norma's is pretty much a brunch place- they close at 3pm so dinner is not an option. And just as well because with portions bigger than any appetite, dinner here would be a most unhealthy choice!
The menu consists of American style breakfast (omelettes, pancakes, waffles, French toast all done in numerous ways and stacked high and wide on the plate) as well as other creative dishes including a zillion dollar lobster frittata ($1000 tab), duck n eggs, foie gras brioche French toast and a few Mexican dishes. Sandwiches are available after 12 pm for those who aren't looking for breakfast or who don't have a sweet tooth...
We ordered the crispy French toast, which we were told was one of the recommended favorites, and the magic mushroom grilled cheese sandwich. The French toast was massive with 2 slices probably around 1.5 inches high each topped with what seemed to be rice crispies for the crunch... cooked just the way I like it, soft inside with crunchy sides. But because of the portion size, after the first slice I started feeling a bit sick and stopped eating the 2nd slice after a few bites.
The mushroom cheese sandwich was another dish of epic proportions- with melted cheese and sautéed mushrooms inside a toasted baguette and served with a side salad. The taste was excellent, although the mushrooms were greasy to the point they soaked some of the bread pieces..
Norma's makes no apology for its excess- neither its portion size nor the calories that come along with it... and maybe that's the secret behind its flavor- don't bother going if you are the 'I'll have a salad' type because there won't be much on offer for you....but having said that I don't really know anyone who would be able to polish off a whole dish here on their own.
There were so many options on the menu which I wanted to try- but because I wasn't in a big group we had to narrow it down. One of the other tables had ordered the chocolate decadence French toast and it looked divine but overwhelming... so I would definitely recommend going here with a large group of people so that you can order a larger variety of dishes for sharing.
Norma's is the kind of place you would want to visit again and again just to cover everything that looks interesting on the menu- and although when we went (an hour before the end of working hours) it wasn't that busy, there was still a decent number of guests coming in, and weekend brunches need to be booked in advance... which only speaks to the excellent flavor that is obviously delivered everytime.You have been warned about the portion size... now put it on your list and go!
Price: Entrees are around $20 each- a meal for 2 cost us around $50 for two entrees and 2 hot beverages.
Information: Norma's is located in Le Parker Meridien Hotel on 118 W 57th St. 1.212.708.7460. Their description on the website sums up everything you need to know:
Breakfast for lunch? Always.
Will I still be hungry? You gotta be kidding.
Do we like kids? More than whipped cream.
Dinner? Get outta here.
When can I eat there? Every day until 3.