Norma's is one of those places we're supposed to like. With items on their menu like chocolate hazelnut crepes, lobster macaroni and cheese, and breakfast dumplings, what could possibly be the problem?
Well, let us begin.
We arrive at Norma's to sample Alex Guarnaschelli's favorite Best Thing I Ever Ate FOR BRUNCH dish, the chocolate decadence French toast. Both of us have been to Norma's before, and we have even been here together. We have a hinting suspicion that we don't like the place much, though no exact details stand out in our minds. Within minutes, the reason behind our Norma's apathy comes crashing back into our memories: Norma's does not serve alcohol.
How is it even possible, in this day and age, to not serve alcohol with brunch? And for goodness sake, how did we ever forget this fact?
|And This Smoothie Shot is Doing Little to Appease Us|
'Nothing' is the answer. No kahlua for their coffee, no vodka for their grapefruit juice. This place is a disaster in spirits.
(Most astoundingly, the hotel bar for Le Parker Meridien is located directly outside of Norma's entrance -- so close and yet so far).
By now disgruntled, we order the French toast and a tuna salad sandwich, planning to share the sweet and savory choices, as neither of us really feels like consuming a pile of chocolate bread mid-day. The waiter, seemingly thinking the French toast is a poor choice, begins to explain how it is made, but finding our disinterested expressions, he asks if we've had it before.
"Yes," Vodka answers, though she hasn't. For his explanation won't change our decision - we're on a Food Network mission.
Being that we have nothing to drink but water, Ginger is left to complain about every aspect of her beverage: first that it is empty and no one is refilling it, next that it has been refilled but with more ice than water, and finally that she needs a straw. Clearly, Norma's alcohol policy has made us hostile, but we are prepared to forget our grievances when our entrees arrive.
|Ginger and Her Trusty Butter Knife Seek Revenge|
|Looks Like the Powdered Sugar Missed a Side|
|Having to Resort to a Close-Up for Vodka-Made-A-Mess Purposes|
Until they're not.
|Chocolate French Toast = Our Newest Frenemy|
|French Toast Massacre|
|A Pickle or Two Could Help Redeem You, Sandwich. Even a Tomato Would Do|
|Lunchables for Brunch|
|Does It Look Like We Enjoyed Ourselves?|
Norma's Chocolate Decadence French Toast: 2 stars