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The east side's newest restaurant is Norma G's, a colorful spot serving Trinidadian and other Caribbean cuisine in the Jefferson Chalmers area of Detroit. 

The name is familiar to many because the Norma G's food truck has been serving events and catering gigs around town for a while. At a soft opening last Thursday, the dining room was packed with hungry guests looking to try out the brick-and-mortar version. The restaurant held another soft service on Saturday, and is expected to be open soon. 

The enthusiasm is warranted. There's not a lot of Trinidadian restaurants in our pleasant peninsula. It's also nice to see anticipation for a new restaurant and bar that's not serving pizza or burgers in a neighborhood beyond than the usual spots: Corktown, Midtown, Ferndale, Royal Oak, etc. 

The menu at Norma G's is exciting. For curry fans, there's curry chicken or goat, both served with jasmine rice. A classic Trinidadian entree, chicken pelau is marinated diced chicken served with rice, squash, peas and peppers that are seasoned and baked.

There are vegan versions of these dishes, too, along with vegan eggplant and polenta and okra dishes. Norma G's also has jerk chicken penne pasta. Each entree is $10-$14 and served with a salad and fried plantains. Nothing on the menu is over $14. 

A sandwich menu has familiar choices such as jerk chicken sandwiches and the more unique oxtail sliders. For more things to eat that you don't see in every diner in town, try the deep-friend cod fish balls, served with chipotle or garlic horseradish mayonnaise. 

Owner and chef Lester Gouvia named Norma G's after his mother, and uses her recipes at the restaurant. Norma G's was a recipient of a $60,000 Motor City Match grant in 2016. 

It is located at 14628 E. Jefferson in Detroit. Once service kinks are ironed out and the restaurant is officially open, hours are expected to be 4:30 p.m.-12 a.m. Tues.-Thurs. and Sun. and 4:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Fri.-Sat. Call (313) 290-2938. 

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

 

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