A second location of Norma Gastronomia Siciliana, one of my favorite restaurants, recently opened on Ninth Avenue in the neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen, near the Theater District. Since Michele and I live on the east side and the original Norma restaurant is in walking distance from our apartment, we tend to go there. But Salvatore Fraterrigo, known as Toto‘, who is the chef and owner, urged us to come to the new location. Last week we went for lunch and were very happy that we did.
We were meeting a friend and arrived early so we had cocktails. Norma in Hell’s Kitchen has a full bar and is larger than the original Norma.
Michele had an Aperol Spritz, made with prosecco, Aperol, soda, and a slice of orange while I had a Campari and soda with orange.
The three of us shared an assortment of different dishes.
Caponata con crostini – a sweet and savory combination of eggplant, celery, green olives, capers, onions, and tomato, served with seasoned bread crostini. With our starters, we drank:
Monleale 2001 Vigneti Massa made from Barbera (Piedmont). The vineyards are at 300 meters and the soil is rich in limestone. The grapes are harvested in the last week of September. Maceration is for 10 days followed by fermentation with indigenous yeasts. It is bottled without filtration. The wine has hints of cherry, balsamic notes and a touch of chocolate. It was beginning to show its age.
Arancine Ragu – saffron rice ball with Bolognese meat sauce filling with green peas, served over tomato sauce.
Fritto Misto di Mare — made with shrimp, calamari and zucchini perfectly fried in a light coating is only available at the Hell’s Kitchen location.
Seafood Couscous — This is a specialty of Chef Toto’. He imports a special type of semolina flour, from which he makes his own couscous by hand. The seafood, including shrimp, calamari, fish and mussels, cooks in a rich broth flavored with a hint of sweet spices. This is a fantastic dish perfect for anyone who enjoys seafood and we scooped up every last bit. It is new on the menu at the Hell’s Kitchen location.
Chianti Classico Riserva 2004 DOCG “Rancia” Berardenga-Fèlsina made from 100% Sangiovese from Vigneto Rancia located in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga northwest of Siena and in the southern part of the Chianti Classico zone. The vineyard is at 400 meters with a southern exposure and is 2.4 acres. The training system is simple guyot. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed and then fermented at 28-30 degrees C with automatic daily punch downs followed by 12-15 days maceration. At the end of fermentation the wine goes into small and medium oak barrels in March-April for 12 to 18 months. The lots are blended and bottled with 6 -10 months aging before release. The wine has hints of black cherry, blackberry, plum, and spice with a note of licorice and a touch of violet. This wine was showing no signs of age.
We also shared the Cabbucci Porchetta — a round of flatbread filled with roasted porchetta, arugula, provolone cheese, and spicy mayo. There are cabbucci with several different kinds of filling on the menu at both Norma’s.
The desserts, which all seemed excellent, will have to wait for our next visit.
For after lunch or dinner there is Amari, Grappa and Liquori
Norma Hell’s Kitchen
801 9th ave.
NY, NY 10019