Even though I shipped my cooking gear here to New York before arriving in September, things have been so busy and crazy it’s been difficult to find time behind the stove. When I get back from the west coast leg of my book tour (I leave tomorrow!) I have a lot of cooking I want to do; in the meantime, I’ve been checking many places off my New York “must eat” list. Here’s one of the best.
Parm is the relatively recent offshoot from the guys behind Torrisi Italian Specialties. It’s a deceptive little spot, there on Mulberry Street, creating the impression that this may just be another red sauce joint. In a way, it is a red sauce joint only the food is crafted on a level that shows great care and knowledge.
Here’s the scene inside:
And here’s the food that we ate. The turkey sandwich, which I featured in this post about the Serious Eats Sandwich Festival, may not be traditional red sauce joint fare but it’s definitely the best turkey sandwich in the history of the universe. Craig thought so too.
It all comes down to that turkey, which is cooked so marvelously, it transforms turkey from everyday sandwich filler to something special-occasion worthy. I know some people hate the word “moist” but that turkey is as moist as moist can be (do they brine it first? Methinks yes) and then all the toppings, though traditional (shredded iceberg being the most traditional) work to make the sandwich something that deserves to be a truly iconic New York City sandwich.
And the other sandwich we shared, a meatball hero, had many fascinating components, not the least of which: flat meatballs.
Again, it’s not that the Torrisi guys are reinventing the wheel—they’re just taking the wheel and designing it in the most efficient, intelligent way possible. Those meatballs are flat, probably, to get more of a sear on them. The meat is incredibly high quality. The sauce is piquant and bright. The bread, with sesame seeds, resilient enough to hold all the sauce but soft enough not to hurt your teeth.
You should’ve seen the other food coming out as we ate our two sandwiches. Everything looked gorgeous, fascinating, slobber-inducing.
The lesson of Parm is: don’t judge a red sauce joint by its red and white awning. There’s a lot more going on here.