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Dec 23, 2008 05:53 AM

First Time at Norma's

I will be having brunch at Norma's in Le Parker Meridien for the first time on Sunday and am very excited. Any recommendations on what to try or what to stay away from? Thanks!

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  1. Went a few months ago and had a really nice time, though tables are packed a bit tight. My boyfriend had the Norma's benedict - it's eggs benedict, but instead of on a muffin, it's on a buttermilk pancake, and he still won't stop talking about how much he loved it. If you like sweet mixed with savory, it might be the right dish for you. I had the Upstream Eggs Benedict (with smoked salmon) - it's good, but you could get the same thing elsewhere. My friend who has eaten there many times raves about the duck hash. Have fun!

    1. skip the foie brioche french toast thing .... blech .... terrible ... the juice is great though ... but it better be @ 9$ a glass

      1. Skip the coffee. The waffles are kinda eh. The peanut butter-chocolate waffle was especially overloaded with sugar. The berries and waffles one was "only" semi-loaded with sugar. The french toast is OK (you can get better elsewhere). The lobster-asparagus omelet we had was overcooked. Oh, and I thought the artichoke benedict was OK but needed more flavor and seasoning.

        Juice is good, and so is the smoothie of the day. But terribly overpriced.

        1. I liked the creme brulee waffle...I'd eat it again!

          3 Replies
          1. re: masha bousha

            Thanks to all for replying to my original post. We went to Norma's yesterday and it was advertised. First the positives. The food is quite good. I had the bfast quesadilla with scrambled eggs, guac, bacon and pico de gallo. My fiance tried the eggs benedict. Both were good. The former was much bigger and probably could have been split by two people. I also wish the quesadilla itself was grilled rather than seemingly being fried. The coffee and orange were both tasy, but again at $7 and $9 respectively (with refills). Overall, brunch for 2 was $100 with tip. It was quite nice for a special occassion, but food wise is in my mind no better than Essex, which is about 1/3 of the cost. Thanks again!

            1. re: liebersh

              I had breakfast at Norma's about a year ago and enjoyed it - although I agree with the OP about the sweet dishes being uber-sugary. I was prepared for the large portions by reading previous reviews. I received a "Where the Locals Eat" book for NYC and was surprised to see Norma's listed there for breakfast - it was a neat experience, but didn't seem to me like the kind of place locals would go, and I'm not terribly tempted to go back.

              1. re: pizzajunkie

                Your instincts were correct -- you'll find more locals at Burger Joint.

          2. Might end up here for brunch in the near future.

            What are my best bets out of their savoury offerings, besides the Upstream Eggs Benedict, Eggs Benedict (not a fan of ham) & Breakfast Quesadilla mentioned above?

            I've read the reviews mentioning the large portions. Do any of the dishes on their menu tend to be on the smaller side? Do they do half orders, if you ask? Not expecting a reduction in the price, just don't want 2000 calories on the plate in front of me...

            Has anyone tried their potato pancakes? If so, are they half-decent?

            8 Replies
            1. re: phoenikia

              Do a search on the board....there are so many better places than Norma's. It is really just an overpriced tourist place....look up Kathryn's brunch round up, great ideas there....some good ones are Clinton Street Baking Co, Balthazar (also toursity but good) and Klee Brasserie...

              1. re: Cpalms

                I've already searched the board (and have read Kathryn's amazing brunch round up), and I'm aware of the mixed reviews, but I'm letting my friend choose some of the restaurants during our visit, to be fair. I have a tendency to be a controlling chowhound :). Norma's has been recommended to her by a work colleague, and she wants to try it out;)

                But thanks for your recs of Clinton Street Baking Co., Balthazar & Klee. I'll add them to my list for future brunches that are in my control ;-). Are there any savoury dishes you particularly like at Clinton St Baking Co or Klee?

                1. re: phoenikia

                  Frankly, I have liked everything I have had at Clinton St and Klee (Remember, Klee is bit more off the radar and not a traditional chowhound fav but I like it alot, like virtually every place its much much better at dinner)...i'm boring, so for brunch I get french toast at both or the Huevos at Clinton st....I just cannot reiterate enough how crappy I think Norma's is, its a midtown, fancified tourist trap designed to remove you from your money. You will only have a few meals in NYC don't waste them..more meals have been doomed by the out of towner work colleagues making bad recommendations...

                  1. re: phoenikia

                    Clinton Street Baking Company - blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon OR the biscuit, egg, cheese, bacon sandwich OR the lobster/crawdad benedict (if they have it, it's a sometime special). Skip the waffles. Burger is nice, too.

                    Balthazar - sour cream waffles with fruit, or the brioche french toast, side of bacon, Le Painier bread basket. Skip the egg dishes.

                    1. re: phoenikia

                      Cpalms & kathryn....thanks for your recs for specific dishes.

                      I will try to encourage my friend to try Clinton Street or Klee. Hear your message loud & clear re: Norma's.

                      I really like Huevos, and good versions are relatively rare where I live, so I'm glad to hear that Clinton Street does it well.

                      Lobster/crawdad benedict sounds great, too.

                      1. re: phoenikia

                        Or Balthazar. That might be an easier sell for your friend because it's a name.

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          True, Baltazar might be an easier sell because of the name but I wasn't that impressed with my last meal there. Also, I'm not a fan of waffles or French Toast. But maybe it will be a better bet for this particular brunch ;-)

                        2. re: phoenikia

                          Try Clinton St's uptown branch with a dumb name - Community Food & Juice. On Broadway near Columbia. Same food, bigger place, shorter lines. Even with the hike uptown, you'll probably save time. They're known for the pancakes, but try the french toast too. Excellent bacon. Their oatmeal is really good too!