A Perfect Sicilian Lunch in NYC

Michele and I have a friend who loves everything Italian.  He studies the Italian language and has travelled to Italy many times, often with Michele and I. He loves real Italian food. Even though he lives in Montclair, NJ he will come to NYC for the food at Norma Gastronomia Siciliana. The food at this charming trattoria is prepared by chef/owner Salvatore Fraterrigo and is as authentically Sicilian as we have found anywhere outside of Sicily.

Our friend knows I like old Dolcetto and brought a 2007 to our recent lunch at Norma.

We started with the caponata, eggplant, onions, olives and capers in a sweet and sour tomato sauce.

Instead of bread I always order it with focaccia.  The crisp and chewy flatbread comes hot straight from the oven and it is a delicious combination with the caponata.

Dolcetto d’Alba 1985 Bruno Giacosa made from 100% Dolcetto. This wine was still drinking but was showing its age. The 1971, which I had on two different occasions, was fantastic.  1971 and 1985 were both very good years, so it was a problem of storage. As someone once said, “We do not drink great wines but great bottles.” Alcohol 12%

Then we had eggplant alla Parmigiana.  The chef’s version is made without breadcrumbs, making it lighter than most, and molded into a timballo.

We also ordered the meatballs, but we ate them before I could take a picture

The caponata and eggplant Piarmigiana were so good, that they made us crave more eggplant.  We all ordered the Pasta alla Norma, pasta tubes in a lightly spicy tomato sauce with fried eggplant cubes, topped with shredded ricotta salata and fresh basil.  We all agreed it was the best pasta we have had  in  a restaurant outside  of  Italy  in  a long  time.

Dolcetto di Dogliani “Briccolero” 2007 DOC Chionetti made from 100% Dolcetto. The soil is of a medium mix, calcareous, the training system is guyot and the exposure is southeast. Fermentation: soft-pressing, maceration with the skins for 15 days. Maturation: 85-90% in steel tanks for about 11 months and 10 to 15% for 11 months in 30HL oak casks. Chionetti is a great producer but the wine was not showing well. We had it decanted but it did not help. Our friend said he had the 2008 the night before and everyone said how good it was drinking.  Again, another case of  bottle variation.

It is interesting to note that the alcohol on the 1985 was 12% and on the 2007 14%.  Is this caused by global warming?

For dessert there were freshly made mini cannoli  garnished  with  pistachios.

and Almond Semifreddo with warm Chocolate Sauce

We ended with perfect espresso coffees – a fitting end to a perfect lunch.

Norma Gastronomia Siciliana– 438  3rd Avenue NY, NY- 212-889-0600






Filed under Dolcetto, Norma, Uncategorized

5 responses to “A Perfect Sicilian Lunch in NYC

  1. Truly a great lunch by the sound of it (well, words and photos more like). I was just a little surprised that they didn’t serve Sicilian wines to accompany the variuos courses. Not pointing a finger as such, just wondering. I love pasta alla norma too !!! And caponata … and all things Sicilian !

  2. Arlene Feld

    Wonderful description of lunch. I remember every detail of our dinner on a 2016 visit to NY, each flavor.
    A lasagna of infinite delicacy and a pizza dressed with a special ham. When I return, I’ll celebrate with your food. Thank you for your artistry. Arlene from Bellingham, WA

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