I'm working on a Halloween 2012 Post-Mortem blog post, but while that is still in the editing booth, let me bring you my thoughts on Chicken Parm.
I go through periodic phases of culinary obsession. My most recent one was on instant ramen. There is a guy, apparently he lives near Seattle, who has eaten and reviewed over 900 different instant ramen products. Fascinating. Check him out at ramenrater.wordpress or something like that. Google and you will find it. Why someone makes a site with the traffic that thing must pull in and can't be bothered to put it on his own domain or monetize it I don't know.
Anyhoo, about a year ago I went through a Chicken Parm phase. I was inspired by a podcast Kim makes me listen to when we are making long passages on the boat: The Sporkful. This is a great food podcast. You can pick up buffet strategies and other useful tips. One of the episodes we listened to was specifically on the subject of Chicken Parm.
I've always held a vaguely warm spot in my heart for Chicken Parm. I have a very distinct memory of my first ever personal encounter with Chicken Parm, probably at age 23 or 24. It was my first "client dinner" as a consultant at Andersen Consulting. The client was Paccar and we went to some bizarre Italian restaurant near the Southcenter Mall. The restaurant had a sports theme. I forget what it was called. Maybe "Winners"? I took a flyer and ordered the Chicken Parm and that was it, I was sold on this dish. The combination of thin breaded/cheesed chicken breast, pasta, and marinara hits all the right notes.
One of the things I like about Chicken Parm is that it is pretty much always a two-meal-meal. Unless you go into the situation ravenous. It comes with bread and a salad usually.
What invigorated my fascination with Chicken Parm on listening to the Sporkful was their conclusion that the highest form of Chicken Parm was...the Chicken Parm Sub. You can listen to the podcast for their defense of this argument. I was flabbergasted as I had never personally experienced the Chicken Parm in sandwich form...which led me on my next obsessive quest!
Well that is a long intro to a review of the Palermo's Chicken Parm Sub. I'm getting to it.
I went on a mission where whenever I could talk the family into Italian takeout or delivery, I would get the Chicken Parm Sub. There are about a half dozen inexpensive Italian restaurants within a two mile radius of our house. These are pretty much entirely the odd Greek-Italian variety. You can always find something on the menu that features gyro meat, which is the giveaway. Razzi's, Palermo's, Soprano's, Amante, Roma Trattoria, and of course the Olympia Pizza and Spaghetti house. I've sampled most of them at this point. They range from the truly awful to, as Elizabeth would put it, "seriously decent." Now I meant to catalog my findings and take notes and come out with a magnum opus on the subject, but I never did! Can you believe it! So now, now that I have this lovely long-form blog, I am taking care of business and revisiting them as a public service, this time with documentation!
Palermo is on Market in Ballard. We actually dined in when I tried the Chicken Parm Sub there last year. Tonight we revisited! Well, we got delivery. I ordered online and delivery was fast, about 30 minutes.
During the ordering process, I became concerned when I observed that they don't actually offer Chicken Parm the full entree, just the sub. After my extensive research on the subject last year, I concluded that I disagree with the Sporkful guys on the Sub being the highest form of Chicken Parm. For me, the pasta is a delightful component to the dish, and it is only with the full entree that you get to the epic portion size that allows this to stretch to two full meals.
I was right to be concerned: the Palermo Chicken Parm Sub is a travesty! Let it be known!
First problem: the chicken is all diced up into 1/2" chunks. Seriously Palermo? And the chicken really showed no signs of being breaded or having any parm on it other than a slice or two that was put on after the fact and melted on the sandwich. And the bread was all mushy. It was certainly edible, but falls to near the bottom of the Chicken Parm rankings. Pshaw!
Palermo gets kudos for their side salad though. Nice fresh greens. No iceberg or romaine. A little cheese, a slice of tomato, some olives (there's that Greek thing). I think I enjoyed the salad more than the sandwich.
So there you have it. Don't go to Palermo for the Chicken Parm Sub!Share on Twitter Share on Facebook