Some other chowhounds have commented on this restaurant recently, so I thought I would throw in my two cents, after having eaten there for the first time last night. For those who haven't heard of it yet, Norman's is a relatively new restaurant on the Sunset Strip, opened by one of Florida's top chefs, Norman Van Aken. It purports to serve "New World Cuisine," a blend of Latin, Caribbean and Asian influences. Hence, on the menu you'll find such items as pork served with corn grits and mole, french toast foie gras, catfish, etc.
I started with the Maine lobster and shrimp appetizer.. Perhaps because it was prepared tableside, this was actually quite good. It had a nice, fresh heat to it (not literally) that enhanced the flavor. I also tried some of the foie gras, which was just about the worst foie gras I've ever had. When not in its pate form, foie gras is often served over toast with a tangy fruit of some sort for a reason -- it creates contrast which will truly allow you to enjoy its rich, heavenly decadence. This foie gras was served with a soft, unmemorable piece of french toast and diced mango. The flavors didn't go well together at all, revealing an ambition on the part of the chef that far exceeded his actual ability.
My entree was also unsuccessful. On the waiter's recommendation, I had the teriyaki glazed cod with pad thai and scallops. The scallops were the worst scallops I've had in recent memory-- they were chewy and tasted old and sour. The pad thai didn't taste like pad thai at all. The noodles were overcooked, and they were salty (like soy sauce) and wet rather than sweet/tangy and dry. Somebody should introduce the chefs to some real pad thai; then perhaps they would learn not to be so misleading w/their labeling. And last but not least, the small piece of cod was edible, but nothing more.
For dessert, I opted for a plate of cheeses which I enjoyed overall. However, the selection wasn't very extensive. There wasn't enough of a range of cheese types/flavors to really get excited about it.
To its credit, Norman's has a great space. Really very sophisticated, low-key and chic at the same time.. I commented to my friends that it is just the kind of place you would expect to see in an episode of Sex in the City.
8570 Sunset Blvd.
W. Hollywood, CA
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