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Pia Mileaf-Patel

$30 a person

            Do you like a pound of meat and some vinegar on your sandwiches? Does Sunday night mean dinner at Nonna’s starting at 4:00pm? Is a salad filled with chunks of salami and provolone totally your jam? Can you boil pasta al dente without a timer? In other words, are you Italian?

            Then Parm is where you should go for dinner. And if you’re not Italian, you should especially go to Parm, to understand the joy that is a perfect Italian-American meal.

            Parm is the second outpost of the Torrisi Brothers’ reclamation of Mulberry Street. Nolita, just steps away from Little Italy, was once the home of Grotto Azura and other traditional, amazing red-sauce-restaurants; however, it is now notorious for tourist restaurants, bad gelato and hipsters. But among those, there are a few survivors (like Café Roma) and some new restaurants, seeking to take back the neighborhood.

            While Parm is known for its old school Italian “Nonna cooking,” as I’ve deemed it (because who puts bread crumbs in your vegetables? Definitely not your mom, but your grandma does) I was really excited to see that the Sunday night special, enough to feed two, was labeled “Chinese.”

            My Sicilian nonna, who is quite the expert at putting together a Sunday dinner with vegetables that we enjoy eating, makes Chinese food occasionally. And it’s vintage Chinese food. Huge spare ribs and steamed dumplings rolled in rice. The kind of food you could find in the ‘70s, or at the Shun Lee Café.

            I’m sad that we didn’t try the Chinese food at Parm—I bet it was delicious, but we decided to opt for the classics on the menu.

            Oddly enough, I think that my favorite thing we ate may have been the Holiday Salad (unlikely choice, a salad). Although to put that statement in perspective, the salad was made up of chunks of salami and provolone, with some very crunchy lettuce, black olives, pickled red onions, and tangy vinegar and olive oil dressing.

            Or now that I think of it, I really want to eat the ricotta toast again, which was little pieces of pancetta speckled crostini and fresh ricotta to spread on top.

            But the thing that stole the show were some very unorthodox zeppole, like the kind at the Jersey Shore, but filled with dabs of raspberry jam. So good, I can’t even explain.

            The wait is intimidating; there are only about 8 tables and a small bar in the restaurant, but everything was lovely in a low-key, yet festive way. I’m dying to go back and try one of the sandwiches for lunch.