Eating With the One Percent

By Ama Debrah

As an average college student, there are a few things that I’ve accepted I have to give up until I graduate to experience: eight-hour sleep cycles, showers that aren’t affected by people flushing toilets, and brunch at uber-posh Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien hotel. Well, my friends, dreams can come true.

This past Friday, my old high school hosted a reunion for graduates in the New York City area. At first, I was hesitant about taking off from work just to grab lunch, but when I found out the reunion was at Norma’s, and that the entire bill would be on my high school’s tab, all plans were off. Norma’s food gets raves in Forbes Traveler, NY Post-Page Six, and New York Magazine, so I was ridiculously excited for a taste of luxury.

Norma’s Egg White Frittata of Shrimp….yum!

Upon entering Norma’s modern and minimalistic dining hall, I felt slightly out of place. Here I was, a disheveled college student, eating in the same room as top-business executives on their lunch break. But, after I was given a sample of Norma’s kiwi and orange smoothie from the waiter and looked down at the menu, I decided to focus on my mission: eating as much delicious food as humanly, (or un-humanly), possible. Looking at the menu, I was immediately lost in a swirl of delicious opportunities, from the Seared Rock Lobster and Asparagus Omelette to the Mango-Papaya Brown Butter Cinnamon Crêpes. After confirming that, no, I could not order The Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata, (priced at $1000!), I chose the Egg White Frittata of Shrimp, which came with over-roasted roma tomatoes and spinach.

Then came the wait. I attempted to make small talk with my old high school friends, but in reality, I was staring longingly at the trays of decadent food brought to all of the other tables. I’m not sure if the wait was actually that long or if I was just being unreasonable, but at one point, I had made up my mind that Norma’s was actually just a ploy to torture impressionable college students by giving them a taste of something they’ll never have. After what felt like five lifetimes, our food finally came out, and everything in the restaurant melted away except for my fluffy Egg White Frittata. Honestly, I did want some ketchup, but I decided against flagging down our waiter to request some.

What a $1000 breakfast looks like

Although I was already more than satisfied with the frittata, I decided to try a little of my friend’s Super Cheesy French Toast. Now, I’m not a big fan of French toast, but after I took a bite, complete with its gooey cheese, sweet caramelized onions, and mouth-watering bacon, I had to take a moment to process the deliciousness that was going on in my mouth. I also got to try some of the Chunk of Lobster Swimming in Cheesy Macaroni, but all I really remember is shouting, “It’s so good, it’s on another planet! It’s like it’s on another planet!” over and over again.

Long story short: If you haven’t been to Norma’s, regardless of whether you have to pay the bill or not, go. Right now. But maybe pass on the nine-dollar glass of orange juice.

Ama is a sophomore at Barnard and Food Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing. She imagines that this is what heaven would resemble.

Photos courtesy of Insatiable Critic and NY Post, respectively.

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