If you've been a reader of my blog for any length of time, you will no doubt already know that I tend to return to restaurants that I have connected with in some way. Perhaps the food was fantastic. Perhaps the service was exceptional. Or perhaps it was just something that I grew up with and tend to return because I'm trying to recapture a piece of my youth. I suppose most men about to enter into a mid-life crisis would buy a red convertible or seek the embrace of a smokin' 22-year-old blond; neither was a likely option for me. What better way to remember the halcyon days of my youth than through eating a meal at Parasson's?
Parasson's is one of those places that I never set out to visit. It is only while I am in transition from one part of Akron to another that the thought pops into my head. The siren's song of their meat sauce and the alchemical combination of the garlic toast and Marzotti's French dressing obviously work their magic well enough as I visit perhaps every other month or so. Today, however, was different. I felt the draw of Parasson's, but knew that the spaghetti with meat sauce wasn't an option as I needed a break from all of the beef I had been eating lately.
I don't really advertise the fact, but every now and again, I love a good vegetarian meal. I feel like somehow it is cleansing and helps to restore balance to my yin and yang. Then again, with almost everything except the red pepper flakes being fried for tonight's meal, it probably didn't help out my yin and yang all that much. But, I digress.
Upon opening Parasson's menu after being sat at my table, I was almost immediately drawn to the sandwich portion of the page. Specifically, the eggplant Parmesan sandwich. Knowing that I wasn't super hungry, but also wanting to get the best value for the dollar, I went ahead and ordered the "whole" sub. I figured I would just take the other half home and eat it for lunch the next day. With my sub, I received one free side. Since I had been on a onion ring kick lately, I decided to go with those.
"Oh," my server exclaimed, "those are my favorite!"
"Oh, really," I replied, my curiosity now sufficiently roused. "Are they homemade?"
"No, they're frozen. But they have a coating that is made just for us."
I honestly would've felt let down that they were fried from frozen, but I had assumed when I ordered them that they were, so I really couldn't feel all that disappointed. That being said, I've had a pretty darn good fried-from-frozen onion ring or two in my time, so I was eager to see how Parasson's version stacked up.
What came out first was somewhat surprising to me:
I assumed that since I had ordered a sandwich, garlic toast would seem a bit redundant. Nope. As I sat there looking and smelling the garlic toast, I began wishing I had a container of the French dressing to dip it in. But, I decided that I would save my garlic toast and take it home with the other half of my eggplant Parmesan sandwich. I could then eat them together. If you want to see what the garlic toast tasted like, check out my previous post on Parasson's.
Soon afterward, my sandwich and onion rings arrived. Here was a shot of my sandwich:
And here were my onion rings on a separate plate:
I didn't do much to the eggplant Parmesan sandwich except add a bit of these to the top:
I figured the little bit of heat from the red pepper flakes would make each bite just a little bit more interesting. The eggplant was nicely fried, the coating was crispy without being greasy, and the inner flesh of the vegetable still had some flavor and texture. The marinara sauce had been ladled on top of the eggplant slices and then covered with cheese, which had obviously been run under a broiler / Salamander to get that nicely browned cheese effect. To add just a bit more texture, the bun had also been nicely toasted first. Overall, this was a very tasty sandwich, although I had to be careful with every bite since the melted cheese encapsulated the molten sauce underneath. One wrong bite and I was rewarded with a squirt of Napalm-esque marinara on my chin or onto the roof of my mouth.
Finally, let's talk about those onion rings that my server was fawning over. Nicely crispy and just a touch oily, the onion on the inside still had a bit of that sulfuric bite to it. It wasn't unpleasant, per se, but it was noticeable. As with most fried-from-frozen onion rings, the inner ring easily slipped from its breaded outer coating with just the slightest of coaxing. In general, this was a better than average ring, but nothing to write home about.
Having eaten half of my sandwich and almost all of my onion rings, I packed up the rest and paid the check, which came to a little over $10. Figuring that since I had eaten half tonight and will eat the other half tomorrow, $5 per meal isn't a bad deal at all. Given that my trip to Parasson's satisfied both the needs of my stomach and my soul, I know I'll continue to return time and time again.