The Norm at the Brooklyn Museum opens today and highlights the multi-cultural heritage of the community. The restaurant’s chef, Saul Bolton, will present food and drink that expressively represents Brooklyn’s cultural diversity. The restaurant features an evocative setting by renowned designer Anda Andrei, in concert with Bonetti Kozerski, and the design embraces The Norm’s location in the museum.
The restaurant’s 80 seats will be augmented during the warmer months by another 55 on the outdoor terrace, which overlooks the Brooklyn Museum’s Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden and will become a beer garden this summer.
A collaboration between the cutting-edge Brooklyn Museum and its food program partner, Great Performances, The Norm’s menu will encourage a gastronomic exploration of the borough’s multi-cultural heritage. Chef Bolton, whose eponymous establishment was one of the first two restaurants in Brooklyn to earn a prestigious Michelin star, has incorporated Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Indo-Chinese, and all-American elements.
Featured among the menu’s snacks: the carnival of flavors and textures of the Bombay Snack Mix, a riff on Southern Indian mix with spicy fried legumes, coconut, cilantro, red onion, and limes; and the light-as- air Chicharones al Pastor, the fried pork skin accompanied by a salsa mirroring the essential taste components of classic al pastor. The Garden section features the likes of Grilled Japanese Eggplant, kissed with a sweet tart tomato marinade, topped with sesame seeds, mint and pickled red chilies, and nestled on a bed of tahini; Roasted Carrot Salad, with bulgur, Medjool dates, sumac, and spiced yogurt; and Curried Cauliflower, a play on a popular Indo-Chinese dish for which herb-infused batter-coated florets are fried (twice), then tossed with curry leaves, cilantro, pickled yellow raisins, and pickled mustard seeds, then topped by micro-planed Pecorino sardo.
Entrée highlights include Tonkastu Style Ramen, its rich broth cooked for 48 hours, and Sun ramen Noodles garnished with slow-poached egg, braised pork belly, mushrooms, scallions, black garlic oil, and chili paste.
Andrei, known for shaping Ian Schrager’s stylish hotel empire, was inspired by the maze of secret and mysterious storage spaces of the museum, to which only a few curators have access. She, along with Enrico Bonetti and Dominic Kozerski,created a space that is a seamless continuation of the museum that affords guests the opportunity to experience the institution in a completely new way. Patrons will be surrounded by art in the context of one of the Brooklyn Museum’s large storage rooms. They will be flanked on one side by a huge pile of the museum’s custom-made crates, bearing the signs and stamps of global travels, and on the other by a massive wall of art in a floor-to-ceiling glass vitrine. There, paintings from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection referencing different eras and cultures will be hung in no particular order, as though they are awaiting their turns to be showcased in an exhibition. Consequently, the space will convey a sense of eating and drinking in the heart of the museum, while evoking an appreciation of how artwork travels and is stored.
That sense of having insight to the museum’s normally off-limits inner sanctum will be reinforced by compelling graphic elements, including a menu design that integrates information about the rotating display of works.
Beverages served at The Norm will be curated by artists who have a special affinity and knowledge of select spirits. For instance, Tom Sachs, whose Boombox Restrospective, 1999 to 2016 is currently featured at the museum, lent his expertise to the mezcal selection.Artists will also curate The Norm’s music playlist as another means of connecting the museum to the restaurant.