“Pie Fixes Everything,” advises a sign hanging above Norma’s dining room. Of all the varieties, I like peanut butter chocolate best. It is an exquisite balance of its complimentary elements, neither layer hogging attention, both cool and silky, their frothy white crown dotted with enough nutmeat to provide flavor and crunch.
Biscuits look bogus — too perfectly tan on top — but they are true. Loaded with gnarled chunks of sausage, the gravy you can get to top them is light on pepper and heavy on cream. When you order a chicken-fried steak, gravy comes in a separate bowl for you to pour on the steak or dip forkfuls as you wish. The hale crust on this chicken-fried steak, which is an agreeably tenderized slab of meat, doesn’t wilt or soften even after it is smothered with gravy. It retains crunch and lardy luxury that elevates the dish’s cheap-meat essence into something admirable.
Dining alone, I took a seat at the counter, which turned out to be an excellent choice; for here I got to palaver with nearly all of the waitstaff and also look into the kitchen’s pass-through window, where cooks were busy cutting up fatback for cooking vegetables, icing cinnamon buns, and seasoning pots of soup and gravy destined to be lunch.
There are a handful of other Norma’s around the Metroplex. The Norma’s in Farmer’s Branch is not related.