THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Norman's 180
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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Norman's 180 Restaurant Review: When Norman Van Aken returned to Miami to open this restaurant, diners had great expectations despite the name's suggested 180-degree turn from the fine dining concept of the chef's eponymous Norman's (closed in 2007). After all, the small plates at Norman's had always been so noteworthy that many diners routinely spurned formal fine dining and cobbled together casual meals of starters like complex, non-traditional orange/coconut/almond-scented white conch chowder, yuca-stuffed crispy shrimp, etc. The latter's on the menu here, but little else that reflects Van Aken inventiveness is. And while the wood-oven pizzas, regulation red conch chowder, et al are fine, similar dishes as good or better can be found in many Miami eateries. In fact, Van Aken is merely a "consulting chef," most often not on-premises or controlling the kitchen. Summary: Diners who enjoy Houston's food will find Norman's 180 a significant upgrade, due to its farm-to-table ingredients. Diners expecting a chef-driven reprise, or evolution, of Norman's (or Van Aken's unfortunately short-lived, casual but cutting-edge Mundo) will be disappointed.