What to Eat (and Drink) at Trou Normand

By Virginia Miller  |  April 1, 2014
Credit: Virginia Miller

If Manhattan met Paris at an all-day cafe with San Francisco-quality ingredients, it might look a lot like Trou Normand, the new French-influenced restaurant and bar from Thad Vogler and the Bar Agricole crew. Housed in the historic Pacific Telephone Building, the space is cavernous and dramatic with lofty ceilings, but it still feels intimate thanks to massive booths, exposed brick and a curved bar facing a tasteful nude drawing. Though currently just open after 5 PM, all-day offerings, including breakfast sandwiches and Four Barrel coffee, are en route.  For now, dinner means refined cocktails - featuring merely three to four ingredients each - accompanied by platters of housemade charcuterie. Chef and butcher Salvatore Cracco (Bar Agricole, Adesso) makes the meats from Mangalitsa pigs raised exclusively for the restaurant by Devil's Gulch Ranch. There are also shareable vegetable plates, rabbit confit, boudin blanc sausage, a massive pork chop and Mission Pie for dessert. Take a look at some dish, drink and space highlights in the slide show below. 140 New Montgomery St.; 415-975-0876

  • The house charcuterie plate includes (left to right) a lush rabbit/pork/nutmeg pate, pork tongue and cheek pâté and spleen and pork mortadella. The meats are available in three platter sizes - all served with bread and housemade spreads: aspic, butter and mustard.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    These two balanced cocktail beauties are classic in their boldness. The Brandy Scaffa (left) is a boozy, elegant combination of cognac, maraschino liqueur, yellow Chartreuse and house raspberry liqueur. The sparkling Sleepyhead (right) is an aperitif of Armagnac, ginger, mint and champagne. Most of the cocktail list includes French ingredients, while the wine list encompasses French and Italian vintages kept under $52 a bottle.

  • A unique carrot salad: thinly cut, crisp carrots fold around sweet dried apricots and crunchy almonds with cilantro

  • A walk-in meat storage unit in the back kitchen is reserved for aging meat. These are cured cuts from Mangalitsa pigs, raised exclusively for the restaurant by Devil's Gulch Ranch.

  • A pitch-perfect gemelli pasta warm with sausage, walnuts and Parmesan and the surprise brightness of mint.

  • "Trou normand" is the long-held Normandy tradition of drinking a shot of Calvados in the middle of a meal to reawaken the appetite. In keeping with his restaurant's name, Vogler and his team personally source single barrels of Armagnac (like this Chateau de Pellehaut), Cognac and Calvados from small producers in France - all available for $5 a pour and used in many of the cocktails.

  • Rabbit confit is tender on the bone and lively in chimichurri, an Argentinean "salsa" of parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano and vinegar.

  • Taken from the back communal dining room, here's a view into the kitchen, where whole animals are broken down each day.

  • Savory spring onions are brightened by sherry vinaigrette and pesto.

  • One of two nightly offerings from Mission Pie, this tart apple rhubarb pie with crumble crust comes with a hefty dollop of whipped cream.