After what can only be described as a glorious night at Torrisi Italian Specialties I wanted to visit another one of the family of restaurants and ventured in to Parm, the culinary keeper of Torrisi's history -- their Sunday gravy red sauce roots.
I love the feel of Parm. I love the inauthentic authentic style counters, I love the ticky tacky Grandma's kitchen wallpaper, I love the community center punch letter style menu board, I love the graphics. The only thing I don't love is the food.
Rather than harken back to a chef's take on beloved family recipes, Parm -- though only a year old, feels tired. It doesn't feel like Nonna's nostalgic kitchen where each dish was lovingly brought to it's ultimate flavor potential. Parm feels like no one is paying attention. The eggplant "parm" is soggy and heavily breaded with Progresso breadcrumbs straight from the can (not that there is anything wrong with that if used well). Quickly reheated under a warmer, my serving was still cold in the center. The staff is nonchalant to the point of neglect. The salad dressing -- although part of me in some way found it appealing -- was a dressed up (maybe chef made) version of Wishbone's Italian. The spicy rabe (a vegetable I love) was certainly spicy but had little other flavor -- a splash of olive oil and lemon could have been a big improvement. Sigh. I wanted so much for Parm to be great but in the end I like the idea of Parm, I just don't like Parm.