"What does the name tell us about the restaurant?", we often ask ourselves. Most restaurant names are nonsensical, or, at best, abstract. But this one is illuminating.
"Trou Normand" is French for a small drink of calvados (apple brandy), taken between courses during a meal. What does the name tell us?
First, we know the place is fancy and upscale — the obscure Francophilia gives that away. Pricey, probably located in the Financial District or the basically-financial-district part of SoMa.
We know that these guys like to drink. But the name isn't "Stir," or "Wormwood," or some ampersand-laden reference to Old West saloon culture. This is more of a European joint. If they care enough to name the whole restaurant after calvados, we have to assume they serve a fair bit of that, and probably close cousins cognac and armagnac.
And, finally, we know they're okay with us hanging out for a while. A drink in the middle of a long meal only makes sense if it's possible to have a long meal. Not necessarily a multi-course tasting menu, but plenty of time to relax and explore the drink options.
This characterization of Trou Normand is...pretty damn accurate. Sure, we cheated a little bit with Wikipedia, but it's impressive how much meaning is packed into that one phrase.
One thing that's missing, though, is how utterly critical the charcuterie is to the Trou Normand experience. This is the title-belt holder for smoked and cured meats in SF – ready for all challengers. It's honestly hard to remember which meats are must-have and which are merely excellent, because once you get into the protein fever-dream that is the medium charcuterie and salumi board (8 items!), there's no room for mental acuity.
So, Trou Normand. A great place to eat cured meats and sip crafty cognac cocktails, in a vaulted room reminiscent of the Art Deco era's greatest achievements. If that's not your thing, this site is not for you.
Just get one of the mixed plates and experience meaty bliss. It's more about how the meats play off each other than any individual option. Lest you want to ask the question – "should I get...?", the answer is yes.
Well done, hits the spot if you need a little more of a hit...
...As is this. SO RICH. If not to eat stuff like this, what are you in the game for?