Restaurant Review: Norman's Bistro

Norman's Bistro has been on my mental list of Black owned restaurants in Chicago to support for a while. I participated in the Amalgamation 2016 fashion show at the Little Black Pearl Workshop (another amazing Black owned business and art gallery for my creative folks in Chicago) and since I was in the Bronzeville area, I decided to finally check out Norman's.

Norman's is founded and owned by Norman Bolden, a Chicago native who was born and raised on
the southside neighborhood of Kenwood. Mr Bolden who was inspired by different cuisine from the Caribbean to Europe purchased the building in 2010 and Norman's Bistro was born. Not only is Norman's a restaurant, but it also has catering and banquet services and a dining hall which can service up to 85 people according to their website. I also noticed that Norman's Bistro has an outside patio area which I am totally interested in whenever the weather allows it.

Norman's is on the corner of 43rd and Ellis. I was expecting it to be a smaller spot, but it's pretty large inside. The brick walls were decorated with African inspired art while laughs from a large party and old school rhythm and blues filled the room. The service at Norman's was excellent. Arrived around 10:15pm and had dinner by 10:38pm.

For starters, I had a simple garden salad. Carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and vinagarette dressings. I was a bit thirsty, so I already knew what I wanted for dinner which was Smoked Cranberry Salmon dinner. I got two sides with this dish, the sauteed spinach and Caribbean smashed yams. I'm a huge fan of salmon, so this mix of cranberry and my favorite fish was new and exciting to me and the taste was delicious. I think this would be an awesome and healthier alternative for holiday dinners. The yams are my second favorite from this dinner. I can honestly say that out of all the soul food and Caribbean food restaurants I've been to, these yams tasted the best. I can't quite put my finger on the spices that were added in the yams, perhaps mango, but there was certainly a hint of tropical fruit added in. The dinner also came with Norman's "island coleslaw", similar to the mini coleslaws you would receive with dinners at places like Harold's or Uncle Remus.

Just by my dinner alone, I can tell that Mr. Bolden has been very inspired by different cultural foods. The mini cup of coleslaw compliments the cup of slaw from chicken shacks that Chicago is so known for on the west and south sides. The creolization and unorthodox flavors of different dishes like the cranberry glaze and salmon sets Norman's Bistro apart from your regular "soul food" restaurant. Not only is the food and atmosphere superb, but here's the fact that Norman's disproves the stereotypes of Black owned businesses and the reputation of the southside of Chicago. Norman's is the class, elegance, and standard that is needed and I can't wait to visit this place again.

Norman's Bistro is located at 1001 E. 43rd Street Chicago, IL 60653 open daily from 11am-10pm Wednesday-Friday, 9am-12am Saturday and Sunday 773-966-5821

               Norman's Bistro



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