Tourists are interesting characters, constantly taking everything in, and quickly generalizing everything. I can relate from my time as tourists, generalizing and stereotyping everything I witnessed. “So this is how Indonesians have lunch” or “ah… so this is what Californians consider breakfast”.
Where can you find a lot of tourists? Hotels. In this example, Le Parker Meridien Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
We arrived at Norma’s for Sunday brunch, and found the crowd to be a mix of sharply dressed New Yorkers and tourists. A brunch in NYC inspires people dress their best, and fine threads were certainly on display.
Brunch for me has always felt casual and relaxing, but this meal felt serious. The menu features items that you normally wouldn’t find as brunch fare. While Norma’s makes an attempt to create a playful atmosphere with the menu wording, you get a feeling that the hotel and restaurant is trying to give tourists a shock & awe treatment. This is how we New Yorkers do brunch, take this experience with you back home.
I’m not saying at any point is the meal not good. It’s absolutely fantastic. From the delicious fresh squeezed juice, to the large entree portions, and cheerful waitstaff, it’s clear why this place was repeatedly voted the best brunch spot by Zagat.
We went with a recommended entree as highlighted in the menu, Fois Gras Brioche French Toast, which was insanely rich and decadent. Thick slices of toaste, thick slices of fois gras. The green leafs were perhaps there just to make you feel better.
The rock lobster and asparagus omelet was also a sight to behold. Juicy chunks of lobster in a delicious egg omelet. Sure it probably was quite fattening, but whatever, I convinced myself with the “brunch is two meals in one” excuse.
Brunch at Norma’s is always delicious, slightly expensive, but just a bit too serious. It feels like the restaurant’s constantly got something to prove, trying too hard to impress tourists about how we (ahem, New Yorkers) do brunch. Fact is, a true New York brunch is much more relaxed and upbeat. A short cab ride into the village, and you’ll see New Yorkers relaxing under the sun at sidewalk cafes.
However if you want a slightly serious, very delicious, and very rich culinary feast at noon time, Norma’s is great.
What does this rating mean?
Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien (Make a Reservation)
118 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019