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Good eggplant parm subs?

I know this board just had the "best chicken parm" thread, but what about the eggplant parm sub action?

My introduction to the eggplant parm sub was in 1995 at a small pizza and subs takeout place on Cambridge Street in Boston, back of Beacon Hill directly across from MGH.

The eggplant here was almost meaty -- lots of thin, battered (not breaded) layers. The sub went whole into the oven as I think it should.

This to me remains the definitive one though I have little hope of anyone remembering the place I'm talking about. I doubt it was famous and I also doubt its style would suit everyone. And it was closed by about 1997.

But still, where is the best eggplant parm sub in the Boston area?

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  1. I don't have an answer but I don't like breaded and fried eggplant, too heavy and greasy. You?

    2 Replies
    1. re: three of us

      If its made correctly its not heavy or greasy.

      1. re: LStaff

        Not heavy, not greasy, just right.

    2. Vinny's in East Somerville is excellent. Nothing compares to Hoagie Haven in Princeton (NJ, not MA), though :).

      3 Replies
      1. re: DavisSquare

        Hurrah for Hoagie Haven! Of course, I've never eaten there before 10 at night, but I'm sure it's really good during daylight hours too.

          1. Sessa's gourmet Italian shop in Davis Square (on Highland Ave.) is phenomenal. Thin sliced eggplant, breaded and fried, then topped with just the right amount of mozzarella and red sauce (they make a seriously good gravy.) The bread is classic Italian loaf, chewy interior, slight crusty exterior. Last time I had it, a large went for $7 and change.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Bob MacAdoo

              I'd second the vote for Sessa's. As you say, seriously good, and also seriously messy. :)

              1. re: houlette

                Indeed - several napkins required :)

                1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                  OP here reporting on eggplant sub investigations of the past week.

                  I hit Sessa's on Saturday and got the small.

                  I have to say, I have never tasted better. This sub is exceptional, phenomenal, brilliant, wicked, and other superlatives. And the sauce is the best of the three I have sampled this week.

                  Yesterday, I visited Victor's in Ball Square for the first time. Again, exceptional, but there was perhaps too little sauce, and it wasn't quite as tasty as Sessa's sauce. Provolone slices served as the cheese. New to me, but actually very nice. Soft, reasonably fresh, chewy bread, as at Sessa's. I'm having to reassess my view that the real parm sub is toasted. For the eggplant itself, I'm not sure I could choose between Victor's or Sessa's. In both cases it was above the bar of existing expectation.

                  Today, a trip to Vinny's Superette. I admit that this time I went for the chicken parm. I need to be careful here. I was a little surprised as all the press made me think that Vinny's was going to blow me away. It didn't quite blow me away. The chicken was prepared in advance: not surprising, but I have read of places which prepare fresh. Good quality chicken and thick. My opinion of the sauce was neutral, let's say.

                  I loved the feel of the place, though, and I will definitely come back to sample their eggplant parm. Plus, drag the missus out to eat there at night, where, I think, I will probably die of excitement judging by the reports.

                  1. re: chickendhansak

                    Very glad to hear the rave about Sessa's. I cannot get enough of their eggplant parm. Since my wife absolutely adores their version, I'm often 'required' to make the trip to Davis for this delicacy. In fact, after reading your inspiring post, I may inquire as to whether I'm 'required' to go tomorrow at lunch!

                    1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                      And thank you for the recommendation! May your reward for this good deed be a trip tomorrow at lunch.

                    2. re: chickendhansak

                      YAY! Thanks for reporting back ... I have to try Sessa's eggplant parm. My favorite in the area is at Victors, and their chicken parm is particularly good -- needs a little salt. I think Vinny's superette is just a basic sub shop by day,so don't be surprised you weren't blown away. It's Vinny's at night that is a real "event" and really quite delicious, particularly the antipasti as many have reported.

                      1. re: chickendhansak

                        After reading this review I went to Sessa's today and got a large eggplant sub ($7.25). The sub roll was nice and fresh but the eggplant was too salty. I'm not sure if the sauce was salty or the eggplant itself. It made the whole sub salty. I also noticed that the eggplant was pre-made and in a dish. The woman cut some pieces and put sauce on top and warmed it up in the microwave. If they used less salt then the sub would have been much better IMHO. I should have tried an Italian sub.

                        1. re: buffet king

                          Having just tried some of the dish eggplant on its own today, I agree it is very salty, but I think the bread must have cut the saltiness just right for me, because I didn't notice it being salty last weekend. I am pretty sure it is the eggplant and not the sauce. But, I still think it is excellent.

                        2. re: chickendhansak

                          I tried Sessa's eggplant parm today based on these reports. I loved it. It WAS salty -- not sure if that's the parm they use, the extra parm they sprinkled over top, or what, but I like salt so I enjoyed it very much.

                          A small was $6.50 and it was a 6-napkin affair.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Glad to hear the good word. Hope you took time to check out Sessa's imported goods too. Nice selection of Italian delicacies.

                  2. i had a pretty tasty one from russo's a little while back. i think their bread is from b&r.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dchow

                      We were at shopping at Russo's lunchtime a few weeks ago and enjoyed their eggplant sub too.

                    2. Not a sub, but Domenic's in Waltham has a great eggplant panini.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Ali G

                        I tried one yesterday for lunch. Good flavor, and the panini bread they make is perfect for an eggplant parm sandwich, but I thought they were really stingy with the eggplant parm. which was maybe a quarter of an inch thick that covered only 75% of the bread.

                      2. I really love the eggplant (and veal) parm subs at Victor's in Somerville. They tend to close early, which make it a pain to get for dinner, though.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MB fka MB

                          DePietrios on Highland Ave in Malden has great subs. I have never had their eggplant sub but I am always ordering trays of their eggplant for parties and it is delicious. No skins on it- I am picky about that. I love their sauce/gravy.

                          1. re: MeffaBabe

                            thanks for the reminder- I have not been to DePietros for a long long time. We used to go there for subs, and to the Highland cafe for pizza- also, in the same neighborhood- Big A sub shop used to make really large subs- on fresh braided rolls. Used to love the ham and cheese.

                        2. I'm leaning more toward Eggplant Parm paninis since tasting the one at Verrill Farms recently. It was luscious.

                          1. I remember that place on Cambridge St., but I think the only times I was there was after a few rounds at the Beacon Hill Pub - a few more rounds and I ended up at Buzzys.

                            Anyway, my vote goes to Vinny's. I usually can't decide between a veal or an eggplant sub - can't lose with either one.

                            Also, I don't remember if Artu's in the north end make parm subs but every other type is outstanding. Proscuitto, mozzerella, and basil, yum!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: powerfulpierre

                              Artu's eggplant parm is really good, so if they make a sub, it would be terrific.

                              1. re: bear

                                I know I've had a chicken parm sub at Artu, so I imagine they make an eggplant one as well.

                              2. re: powerfulpierre

                                Hey! Someone does remember. I never ate at Buzzy's, sadly, as I was not eating meat in those days and it didn't seem like there was anything else on offer. Fantastic establishment, though.

                                1. re: chickendhansak

                                  Oh, I remember Buzzy's - I do think I ate there once, but can't remember what I had (it was that long ago!). Man, they ALWAYS seemed to be busy.

                                  I was so sad to see it go...

                              3. Beauty's in Cambridge (228 Broadway in Kendall).

                                Always delicious!!!

                                1. Mangia Mangia on Endicott St in the North End does a nice eggplant parm sub.

                                  1. OP here. Some nice suggestions here that I'll have to check out.

                                    I'd like to put a word in now for La Ronga Bakery on Somerville Ave, between Porter and Union Squares, who today prepared me a great one, which was not greasy, and the eggplant was tasty. As I live nearby I was very pleased with this. And of course the bread is baked on the premises. 5.00 + tax.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: chickendhansak

                                      Oooh, good to know indeed. I really like their pizza but hadn't thought to try a hot sandwich there. Now added to the list. Now that's a 'houndish place.

                                      1. re: DavisSquare

                                        I agree on La Ronga's pizza. Their lunch two-slices-and-a-drink specials cannot be beaten. Plain cheese slices or pepperoni, both under 4.00 before tax. Big slices (one is really enough for lunch) and quality ingredients. La Ronga is great! Only downside is the early closing.

                                      2. re: chickendhansak

                                        Thanks for the La Ronga shout-out. I used to live in the "Bermuda Triangle of Chow" for a little while -

                                        Tacos Lupita, La Ronga and O'Sullivan's all within easy walking distance.

                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                          As a UFO fan, I am so proud to know that I live in the Bermuda Triangle of Chow. Petsi Pies make flat, circular foodstuffs of renown, too. Perhaps they are the nexus.

                                      3. They don't make subs but the Pasta Market Cafe in Malden has the best eggplant parm I've ever had in my life and they make all their own pasta too. My husband and I eat there every other week because we love it so much.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: lulu806

                                          I was there once right after it opened. Food was really good, service was friendly, even though there was a language barrier. We had a shellfish and pasta dish.

                                        2. The best eggplant parm I have ever had was from Sal & Betties sandwich shop on L Street in South Boston, it's a genuinely Italian place in the heart of Southie. There isn't a bad thing on the menu and the eggplant parm is a standout.

                                          1. The best eggplant parm sub I have had was at Vinny's on Broadway in Somerville.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. Viga at the corner of Stuart St and Arlington has a fantastic eggplant sub. Thin breaded slices of eggplant on foccacia. They bake the eggplant, sauce and cheese together and then place it on the bread. So great! Only downside is Viga's limited hours - its only open from 11a - 3p, Mon-Fri.

                                              1. I had a really good eggplant parm from Armando's in Cambridge last night. Thin, breaded, non-greasy strips of eggplant packed into a sub roll with plenty of cheese and sauce. If it weren't for the terrific pizza there, I'd probably make a habit of getting the eggplant parm.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                  I visited Armando's recently on a suggesting from a hound and ordered their recommendation, a large pie with pepperoni and eggplant. You'd love it if you like their eggplant.

                                                  1. re: bobot

                                                    I've had their eggplant pizza and absolutely love it. I'll probably get one over the next few days if I have a chance.

                                                2. Let me preface this by saying I am not much of an eggplant fan...but I just had the most delicious eggplant parm, served with a side of ziti...from Comella's in W Rox. The eggplant was pounded very very thin and then lightly fried and layered. The portion for one is at least 2 meals, possibly more. The chicken parm there is excellent too, though I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by that eggplant.

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                    The eggplant was POUNDED?! Say it ain't so........maybe just sliced really, really thin? I wonder if the W. Newton store does a similarly good one?

                                                    Most of these posts are in the Somerville vicinity. Anyone have eggplant sub suggestions for the Watertown/Newton/Waltham area? Please, not Domenic's, because I'm never around during their open hours.

                                                    1. re: Science Chick

                                                      Russo's has an excellent eggplant parm sub.

                                                      1. re: Science Chick

                                                        Have you given Fulcaniti's on Hammond a try? I think they are open until 9pm (used to go there when I worked late sometimes) and I liked their chicken parm. Does either Napoli (or stella's) in Watertown do it for you?

                                                        And has anyone tried Antonia's sub shop on High street in Waltham? I poked my head in last time I was in Waltham, but was really, really stuffed.

                                                        1. re: itaunas

                                                          I used to go there weekly when I had a lunch break in that area. It's good. Everything is home made. I always likes the eggplant parm and the chicken parm. She makes nice pastas and the pizza is similar to bakery pizza (cut squares and very doughy). I've had many talks with her about her home town in Italy and her experience in WW2 (she was a little girl then). Get there early, it's a small place and fills up fast. Mostly take out but there's about 4 or 5 tables. Good red sauce and comfort food.

                                                          1. re: catspercapita

                                                            Wow, thanks for the info! I pass by Antonia's all the time and always wondered about it.

                                                            1. re: catspercapita

                                                              Thanks for the rundown -- everything looked good when I poked my head in. Any idea what time they close weekdays? They are open Saturdays, so I'll plan to check that out, but like Science Chick weekdays I would be going by on the later side. 200 High street is pretty close to West Newton for those who were looking.

                                                        2. re: twentyoystahs

                                                          Sorry, did I say pounded? I'm thinking chicken I guess...;)
                                                          Sliced very very thin. And yes, I'll bet the W Newton store has a very similar, if not identical version. It was REALLY good.

                                                          1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                            Tutto Italiano -- the BEST eggplant period.

                                                        3. Hate to say it, but on the subject, if you're looking for a good eggplant sub, skip the one at Il Panino Express. I've tried it twice and both times it was served under heated and was surprisingly bland. I like their other sandwiches, but this one's off my list.