The news broke months before, but seeing the brown paper rolled off the windows of the old Lansky’s delicatessen to reveal our very own outpost from the folks who’ve crushed the game downtown felt like love at first sight. Coming off the heels of an artisanal mustard boutique (you heard that right) replacing one of our few reasonably priced restaurants down the street, the neighborhood rejoiced. I could feel it the moment I stepped inside.
Locals fluttered around the bar area waiting for their taste of the casual, classic Italian that put Parm on the map. It’s really wonderful how well certain elements of the old space integrated with the new atmosphere – the glass display case, the patterned tile floors, the booths in the back, all familiar but new. The menu draws upon that familiarity, bringing diners back to the simple dishes of Sunday Supper at grandma’s, or in my case, that Italian joint in the strip mall in Jersey where I grew up, but the best possible version of what that could be. That is Parm – lovingly familiar, but better than what you remember.
Then, the main events. Penne fra diavolo unlike any I’d ever tried, tossed in a light, creamy pink sauce with hunks of rock shrimp. And of course, the parm. We chose chicken parmesan, platter style with a square of baked ziti. A few select adjectives: crunchy, tender, cheesy, sweet, saucy, everything.
Satiated but willing to press forward, we ordered dessert: tall and glorious ice cream cake, a fitting end for a celebration of this gem making its way uptown.