Parm

My wife and I stopped in here on a Friday night for a quick meal at the bar. We heard great things but never had a chance to try before.

We ordered three items: meatballs, fried calamari with shishito peppers, and the Randy Levine sandwich, which came with fries.

First, let’s start with the weirdly named item: the Randy Levine. It’s a sandwich made of pork belly, plum sauce, Chinese mustard, half-sour pickles and garlic bread. It’s named after something that the president of the Yankees had once eaten in the Catskills.

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Unfortunately the “slow cooked” pork belly was a bit too chewy. I attribute that to fat content that was not cooked long enough at low temperatures to get good and soft. Also the glaze on it tasted a bit bitter and burnt. Bummer.

The fries that came with it, however, were excellent. They’re called “Italian fries” because they’re tossed with herbs and parmesan cheese, I suspect. Nicely cooked and crisp, golden brown.

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The meatballs were great, and I’m a stickler for these fucks. Nothing beats mom’s meatballs. Since these came off as the soft, long-cooked stewed kind, I did find it odd that the center looked medium rare. That had me concerned about whether they used veal or pork in the mix. In any case, no tummy aches from raw meat, and the flavors were great – even the red sauce. It was light and flavorful. Still though: the best way to make a meatball is to fry them in a pan first, get a crispy coating on the outside that locks in the juices, and then slow cook in the sauce on low for a while.

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The star of the meal for my wife (for me it was the meatballs) was the fried calamari with shishito peppers. They had a great crispy crust, a good ratio of rings to tentacles, and the peppers offered a great pop of flavor to mix things up.

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All in the bill came to $85 with tax and tip, which also included a beer and a glass of wine. A bit pricey, but at least three of the four items we ate were tasty.

PARM
235 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023

3 thoughts on “Parm”

  1. Frying or searing the outside of any protein does not “lock in the juices.” It’s a myth.

    We have found that too much browning can dry out the meatball to the extent that no amount of in-sauce braiding can restore tenderness.

    1. I have found the opposite. I’ve tried cooking two steaks side by side in two different ways. One: sous vide; Two: simple hard sear in a cast iron skillet. Once each is finished to the desired temperature, I put them onto a cooling rack like an elevated cookie or baking wire rack. I let them sit for about ten minutes. The sous vide steak with no sear released more juices as it cooled than the pan seared steak. In addition, it seems that most recipes for braising or slow cooking will always have you sear or brown the outside of the meat first. The common understanding of why is to help preserve tenderness at the end of the process. I’ve noticed that it works. I used to just throw brisket into a stew pot and let it go. The meat was always dry in the end. When I started searing it first, it seemed to hold up a little better and stayed tender, more flavorful. When you say “we have found” – who do you refer to? I’m always open to new info. I’m not a professional cook, but do consider myself an experienced and good home cook.

    2. After doing some reading, it seems there is merit to what you say. From now on I’ll have to me mindful! Thanks. Perhaps the browning is just more about creating better flavors, more intense flavors, on the crust, because browning = moisture loss, but it also = more intense flavors.

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