What do you do when Yelp gives 3.5/5 stars, Menupages gives 2/5 stars, NYTimes gives 2/3 stars, Chowhound boards have more-or-less raving reviews, and one of your best foodie friends claims it’s amazing? Life is filled with interesting choices, my friends, and when presented with truly mixed reviews, you just have to go and try it for yourself.
Parm was opened by the same guys who own Torrisi Italian Specialties, an Italian (duh) restaurant that apparently is delicious and has amazing mozzarella. Parm is right next door and is a much more casual Italian restaurant, known more for its parmesan sandwiches (I’m not being very insightful am I…). As you can tell from the photo above, the red neon lights and bar seating evoke a diner-like feel.
Onto the food. We started with a salad and a side of brussels sprouts. Salad was an interesting combination of mozzarella and salami cubes, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, onions, and a vinaigrette. The salad came before our sandwiches and the sourness of it all really made me salivate and excited for my meal. Brussels sprouts were amazinggggg. They were slightly burnt (YUM) and seasoned with lots of salty parmesan cheese. The natural bitterness of the vegetable seemed to be balanced with a sweetness… did they add sugar?
Sandwiches. Pictured left is the Chicken Parm on a roll and pictured right is the Eggplant Parm on a roll. Both rolls were dry, airy, bland, and boring. The least they could’ve done was grill the bun. Actually, I think I remember finding very light grill marks … meaning they should do a BETTER JOB at grilling the bun. If you’re making this at home, I understand buying the hamburger buns in bulk from Costco… but if you’re serving this at a restaurant known for its sandwiches, where bread is at least a third of the meal, shouldn’t you put more effort into it?
Chicken cutlet was decent, not too dry but also not particularly succulent. I wish the breading was more crisp, though I understand that the sauce and cheese were most likely the cause of its sogginess. Maybe they should pour on the sauce at the table? This would maintain the crispness (why else fry something?) and put on a good show for guests. Eggplant tends to sag and shrink when cooked, especially when fried. It has a lot of water content and so to allow for it to stay juicy and eggplanty, the cutlet should’ve been much thicker. The eggplant was dry and had very little meat to it. LUCKILY, marinara sauce was very tasty. Dinner ended up being decently yummy because I drenched my chicken cutlet, eggplant, and bread in that chunky tomatoey sauce.
Finally, we ended our meal with their Homemade Ice Cream 3-layer cake. They switch up the ice cream combinations every so often. We were lucky this night and scored an almond, chocolate, and coconut combination. The almond ice cream was sooo yummy. Chocolate was decent, can’t really go wrong there. Coconut could have had a stronger coconut flavor. It was a little vanilla-y.
Overall, I wasn’t impressed. I may have been a little harsh but I figured that any restaurant that is named after a dish would have, in their opinion at least, mastered that dish.