Normand’s Bistro is a new addition to the Citadel theatre complex. It’s connected with Normand’s, the restaurant in Oliver, an upscale place with interesting wild game on the menu. Oddly, the new location doesn’t seem to have a website and there’s nothing about it on the website at Normand’s, so I can’t refresh my memory about the menu. I guess I need to get in the habit of taking more notes.
I stopped in the other night on the way to an improv-theatre workshop run by Rapid Fire Theatre. The Citadel lobby was surprisingly busy for that lull between end-of-work and evening, because there was a Justin Trudeau rally on the mezzanine, with red and white balloons, loud recorded music, badly-amplified voices, and cheering fangirls. This was not the best background for a pleasant early dinner, as the restaurant is open to above.
The people who seated me, took my order, and provided other service were competent and welcoming. It was a little odd that a different worker came by, told me that although he hadn’t seated me or taken my order he was my server, and stopped by again with the bill. So I really hope they share tips fairly.
The menu is smaller than at Normand’s, but there seems to be some overlap. The wine list had between 10 and 15 kinds of red wine by the glass, and I had a glass of Men of Gotham Shiraz, which was enjoyable and full-bodied. Instead of picking an entrée, I ordered things off the appetizer menu. A spinach salad with goat cheese, slivers of red pepper, and dried cranberries was both tangier and oilier than the similar dish at the Keg. Candied lamb sliders were delicious savoury patties of ground lamb topped with caramelized onion (no buns). Bison carpaccio was served with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a slivered gherkin, and a few olives and greens. It disappointed me, because the edges of the thin slices were dry and chewy (almost like prosciutto) and it did not have a lot of flavour. It went well with the vinegar and garnishes though. Next time I’d probably try the salmon carpaccio instead.
It wasn’t cheap ($47 plus tip) but it was still a treat. The menu also mentions a three-course special suitable for before/after theatregoing, and they also serve breakfast. I’ll go back.