Monday, March 6, 2017


Parm started out as a storefront sandwich shop on Mulberry Street, taking over the original (now defunct) Torrisi Italian Specialties address with a shiny deli case of day’s-worth-of-calories kind of sandwiches on your choice of sweet semolina or sesame roll.  It has since expanded to include two other locations in the city, approximately equidistant from the original, as well as rounding the menu out with platters, sides and dessert, all with the signature hearty, Italian-American theme.  The two newer outposts have broader menus, but offer the impressive sandwich selection as well.  There are no red-checked tablecloths, but the tables are linoleum, the soundtrack from the 80’s and decor from the late 50’s. 
 Bring a serious appetite but a casual attitude…. and some mints.  Garlic pervades and olive oil in anointed with wild abandon.  Some of the most popular dishes are an enormous Chicken Dinner, featuring chicken parm and spicy rotini: enough for three.  Baked ziti is another favorite, as are their San Gennaro-style Chinese ribs, showing there’s no attempt to play this off as “authentic” Italian- like their sister restaurants, Major Food Group is never afraid to show off a little kitsch.

A good shareable starter are the Artichokes Casino, which are a distant relative to clams of a similar preparation.  Here, four plump bottoms are stuffed with pork sausage a bacon, a riot of garlic and a good kick of heat.  Two are ample per person, unlike Mario's recipe meatballs, which I can't imagine downing more than one as an appetizer, so the three that arrive might leave at least one to sandwich for lunch the next day.  There are salads, too: a pretty classic Classic Caesar, or more popular, the Arugula salad with sweet chewy figs and a hefty grating of parmesan.  

Pastas are more Italian in nomenclature than size... this are no primi-portioned penne.  Good thing noodles make great leftovers, or else a very economical meal to split one, adding a side or salad.   'Cause despite it's very low-key sensibility, dinner at Parm can still get spendy if you're not at least a little cautious.  Caution, an action that is thrown to the wind in the preparation of of a hearty Fusilli Bolognese, featuring massive corkscrewed pasta and a meaty-tasting sauce (although not that much actual meat).  A cool plop of milky ricotta tamps the subtle heat of the sugo, making the best bites dug deep from below to get more of the bolognese which can get a little lost in all that cheese.

If you do want to go lighter on a main course, there is a respectable roasted half chicken, or a whole orata, grilled and sluiced with an herby salsa verde.  For even more green, add a super garlicky side of lightly sautéed broccoli.  Alternatively, hearty renditions of Italian-ish dishes like pork Milanese or a magnificent eggplant parm stratified into ten luscious layers.  At this location as well as the Battery Park City one, the only sandwich offering is the Randy Levine, a seeded roll stuffed with char-siu-style pork served with a haystack of Italian-herbed fries, skinny as the trousers on a well-dressed uomo.  But there is a full array of sandwich options in a retro glass deli case at the entry, the equivalent selection at the Parm on Mulberry that started it all.  They can make these to serve to your table upon request, or else pick one up for lunch tomorrow, if you're not already overburdened with leftovers.

There is one dessert to close out with.  Well, two flavors of one dessert: ice cream cake comes in either S'Mores or Neopolitan, iced with a sugary frosting and a festive shroud of rainbow sprinkles.  These aren't printed on the menu, so their $16 dollar price tag might come as a surprise.  Granted, it's a slice big enough to share between two or three people, but at the same time, you can buy a whole ice cream cake for that same amount, and this one, despite its celebratory appeal, isn't much, if any, better.  Probably you won't need-need dessert anyways, if you experienced Parm the same way I didn't, so snag a melty mint from the register on the way out and save the $16 better spent on an excellent meatball sammy for a later day when your fullness dissipates, and you need a little reminder of how yummy was Parm.

 235 Columbus
 tel.  1.212.776.4921

No comments:

Post a Comment