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What style of Eggplant Parm do you like and from where?

Once saw a Bobby Flay Throwdown on Eggplant Parm and people were very passionate about their styles.. whether its thin sliced, thick rings, skin off, skin on, fried, not fried,etc etc. Hubby and I have always preferred the type that almost like a casserole, fluffy and lasagna-like with very very thin slices, not seedy, lightly coated and fried and then layered with mozzarella and sauce, but this seems harder to come by then the thick rings plopped over pasta.

Our go-to lately has been Sonny Notos, the Wakefield one, but I imagine E. Boston is the same. We get it with linguini and it comes on a giant platter. Its not a casserole type but it very thin skinless horizontal slices, not rings, delicately breaded and fried crispy on the edges but soft in the middle with layers of some whole milk mozz, so its creamy and not tough or stringy cheese and we request it topped with some extra mozz. Their sauce is good too, a tiny bit watery on the edges but their giant slabs of bread soak that up just fine. For 9.99 with the pasta, its huge for two people to tackle, or we get a salad to pretend its healthy, or just go crazy and get steak fries on the side, which they do very well. Its counter service and casual but comfortable. Its been years but I remember liking Felicias too, and I think we liked Bacci in Stoneham (the restaurant, not the pizza shop) Actually I think I recall Brothers Kouzina, which is actually a greek place, making decent eggplant parm. Always up for finding a new spot, esp North of Boston.

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  1. I really like the eggplant at Kitty's in North Reading. It's been there forever (and the inside decor is stuck in 1970), but the food is solid.

    The eggplant rollatini is light and generously stuffed, and the eggplant parm is gorgeous and meaty, with a crunchy golden crust and very good, very garlicky red sauce. I'm a huge fan.

    We get these and sub a side of greens/garlic/olive oil for the pasta since H doesn't eat pasta, and we're happy, and have leftovers for lunch the next day.

    1. The style of EP that i hate is the mushy style. The style i love sounds like your fav- thin, skin on, crispy/just fried and sauced and cheese'd and run under the salamander til hot and melted. Best EP i ever had was our one time at Gran Gusto. Seem we may have some new spots to try, so thk you.

      2 Replies
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        where is gran gusto? btw, just so you know, the ones I mentioned prob don't have skin on..

      2. I like Vinny's in Somerville, they are light and crisp and Vinny's has a great sauce.

        1. Not a huge fan but my husband loves both veal and eggplant parm. Heck he'll eat anything covered in sauce and cheese!

          In our neck of the woods he enjoys Bellas in Rockland and Trattoria San Pietro in Norwell. Eggplant is thin and crispy, not greasy with really good sauce and plenty of cheese. Portions are big and come with a side of pasta.

          I love Bella's eggplant rollatini and they have one of the best red sauces in the area. They sell containers of it so which is great when I am in a pinch.

          2 Replies
          1. re: foodieX2

            Wow, I haven't thought about Bella's in ages but I do recall that they had good eggplant parm,as well as, good bar pizzas. I would add the eggplant parm appetizer at llPanino in the North End. Their version is thin layers probably about seven layers stacked and sliced in a wedge. The result is a more delicate version, with the eggplant dominant rather than the sauce and cheese.

            1. re: Pegmeister

              Bella is real neighborhood gem. I think people often drive by thinking it’s part of the hotel. I just had one of their thin crust pizza's with my son the other night. We topped it caramelized onions, spinach and artichoke hearts. It was cooked perfectly and we devoured it. He got a side of meatballs that were big, yet tender and full of flavor. They would have been great on the pizza! next time....

          2. Thanks for the heads up. I love eggplant parm, and it sounds like Sonny Notos is great- I have had chicken parm from there, and liked it. I also want to try the eggplant parm at Alfredos in Melrose. Their chicken parm with linguine is really good, and my mom loves their fried scallop dinner. Have not had their pizza, but that looks good,too. Will post back if I get there soon.

            1. I really like the eggplant parm at Dino's Kouzina and Pizzeria in West Concord. It is not breaded and the slices are thick. Some eggplant parm is more breadcrubs than eggplant.

              1. My favorite eggplant parm is thinly cut eggplant dipped in flour and then egg and quickly fried. This is the style that Artu, the Saraceno and the Bella Vista serve in the North End. It's not crispy, but rather silky and tender. (Not to say that I don't enjoy a crispy version as well, though.)

                Here's a link to an article from the Globe archives about Artu's prep. (Hopefully you don't have to be a Globe subscriber to see it.)


                1. thin, skin off, dipped in egg and bread crumbs, pan fried in evoo, baked with sauce and mozzarella and parm. not too much. i have a blog post about it.....

                  and i love rino's.

                  1. I guess I just LOVE eggplant. When I make it at home it can vary either with our without breadcrumbs (without is just flour then egg wash). I love it baked in the casserole (after frying) with sauce and cheese, I love the fried disks with just sauce over them. Heck, I love plain fried eggplant cold from my refrigerator!

                    I also like thick cut disks rubbed with EVOO and salt and roasted in the oven until tender. I really am an eggplant freak~

                    My favorite right now is Mario's in Lexington. Just fried disks with their delicious sauce on them. I don't get them parmed there because too much cheese for my liking.

                    No matter which way I have my eggplant it always has to be SKINLESS! The skin is just always to tough, stringy and a pain to deal with.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: MeffaBabe

                      ever have an eggplant pizza, the bomb!

                      1. re: treb

                        Where do you recommend getting one from?

                        1. re: catsmeow

                          Ernesto's has a nice eggplant pizza with ricotta.

                          1. re: catsmeow

                            Ernesto's in the north end makes a nice eggplant pie, and for the few dollars extra you can get ricotta and garlic added on it.

                              1. re: catsmeow

                                There was a picture of a slice of eggplant w/ricotta on Ernesto's website.

                            1. re: catsmeow

                              See the below replies, Ernesto's. I also make my own but, instead of breading I roast in the oven just with evoo, S&P them place them on my pizza.

                            2. re: treb

                              I LOVE the one from Otto- eggplant (NOT fried!), ricotta and basil...

                              1. re: pang

                                Otto is on my list, gota get there.

                                1. re: treb

                                  I would still be interested in hearing some detail about a full made to order pie from the Brookline or BU locations of Otto. I find the reheated slices from HSQ to be well...reheat slices. Their basic sauce is also a bit bland for my taste.

                                  1. re: Gabatta

                                    I can't speak to the made-to-order eggplant as I haven't had it, but their pies in general are delicious.

                            3. re: MeffaBabe

                              I too love Mario's eggplant without the parm. They also have the best tasting chicken cutlets (without the parm). I have to admit their parm is really way too much cheese and you somehow loose the delicate pan fried flavor of the chicken and eggplant when you get them parmed. I also love their sauce... I could never work here because I would be spending the entire shift dunking bread into their sauce and snitching plain eggplant disks to eat plain!

                            4. If anyone wants a great Eggplant dish in the Chelmsford area, you have to try the Eggplant Napoleon at the Glenview Pub. Uniformly paper thin slices of eggplant, egg wash and flour, sautéed then stacked about 2" high covered and baked with sauce and motz. They serve it as an app, or a dinner. Both are hearty portions and mouthwateringly delicious! Not too greasy or salty either.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mjg0725

                                that sounds delicious! So many responses in the last hour to my post. Looks like eggplant is trending :)

                              2. I like no skin. Fried crisp. Not layered like lasagna because then you lose the crispness.

                                Porcini's in Watertown has eggplant rollatini on app menu that's real crispy and delicious.

                                1. Had the single worst meal i have had in 43 years in Boston today, following the lead of a CH. In the bowels of Somville-n la Hacienda. An Italian place w/ a spanish name. go figure. eggplant parm, veal parm, ziti and meatball and toma sauce. I seriously did not know it was possible to serve eggplant that has NOoooo eggplant flavor whatsoever. and the tomato sauce was the color of thick ketsup and tasted of nothing but can.

                                  I can't imagine any CHs stumbling on this place, unless they were lost in a night time downpour and one was seriously out of it, but if you ever do see it, PLSE keep walking. I just have to stop thinking about how awful this place was.... I know it shouldn't have, but it absolutely ruined my day.

                                  1. I love eggplant parmesan too, but when it comes to Boston eggplant there's an elephant in the room here which hasn't yet been mentioned.... Before I moved here, I had always assumed that eggplant parmesan was ALWAYS breaded, even when it's on a sandwich... Now just imagine--if you can!--the agony of ordering 2 consecutive eggplant parmesan sandwiches here in which there was not a hint of breading in sight (unless you count the sub-roll itself as "meta" breading)... Nothing but eggplant, sauce, cheese, bread.... Was I hallucinating? It's been so long now that I can hardly remember, but the trauma was such that I haven't ordered an eggplant sandwich in Boston since. Otherwise I've found a lot of good Italian food here, but somebody needs to call the cops on this "unbreaded parm" phenomenon, or at least expose the perps who invented it.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: eatinjeff

                                      Where did you get these sandwiches? That's the way I like it....no or very little breading. My favorite was the one at Nick Varana's "deli" in the North End p(now closed). It was a tall stacked pile of thinly sliced eggplant. Looked like a 16 layer cake.

                                      1. re: catsmeow

                                        My family prepared it both ways, casserole style, depending on which aunt was making it. One made a killer breaded version and the other made it with no breading and just as tasty. The main reason was in the sauce which was absorbed in to the eggplant. I've only seen it in the breaded version at most local restaurants. Oh, and never breaded on a pizza!

                                        1. re: treb

                                          I've had breaded eggplant on pizza a couple times.

                                          1. re: total13

                                            Me too, way too dry and tastless.

                                        2. re: catsmeow

                                          The first was at Lamole, a weak sub-shop in Harvard Sq which folded after only a year (it's now a taco place), and I think the second was in Cambridgeport (Cambridge Pizza, if I remember)... I promise that these subs are nicer in your imagination than they were in my face, though: no thin-sliced, elegantly arranged eggplant, just crude, oily hunks of the stuff covered in reheated Ragu and cheap part-skim cheese.... For weeks afterward I wet the bed at night, the nightmares...

                                      2. old thread, but Via Matta's Crunchy Eggplant with their bread olive oil and a half carafe of house red always makes me happy.

                                        1. Tried Felicia's Stoneham today for lunch. EP looked good (not too high, not drowning in sauce or cheese) and it tasted a bit like eggplant, but i think they slice it way too thinly, leaving mostly the flavor breading.

                                          Caesar and the chevre salad were generous and good, but the stand-out was the White Clams w/ Linguini. Very very generous amount incl. maybe 10 fresh clams and a bunch of minced clams and alot of sauce. I actually can't imagine the dish ever being better than this version. (And i certainly never thought i'd say that about ANY food in Stoneham) My Love had a huge amount of fried calamari but i didn't care for the soft breading. Waitresses all service pros, friendly and fast. Customers 98% older locals, all happy. Oh, wicked low prices (Felicia's is one instance where 'you get what you paid for' is not at all true.)

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            opchef, now u got me wanting to go to Felicias for lunch. Havent been in ages, used to like the eggplant parm and remember really liking the egg battered shrimp marinara and the delicate alfredo sauce.. So are you talking white clam sauce? I have rarely if ever ordered clam sauce and not sure why.. guess I might've thought it would be chewy cooked in a sauce. Are these tender? I get annoyed at chowders with rubber clams...

                                            1. re: chompie

                                              hi there,shewhochomps. Yes, white clam sauce and, yes, tender, and both alot of fresh clams and aLOT of chopped clams (from tub or can but not bad or rubbery.)
                                              And, "Berieve or not!" ( an in-joke in my family, derived from a math professor of my brother, at UVA, who preceded most answers with this phrase) I was not hungry again, after my 2pm Felicia's lunch of pasta and caesar salad side, until 11PM !! I would call that pretty good staying power!

                                              p.s. fyi-if you like eggpl. rotini, royron says he likes it better than their EParm (which i didn't care for.)

                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                thanks OC! I like my new name.. Will def try it...and yes, 2 pm lunches have often pre-empted our dinners too..bet you are hungry by now tho, at this late hour!

                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                  If you liked the Linguine with Clams next time try the Zuppa de Vongole. You can get it with either marinara or white wine sauce. I always order the marinara version. The clams are fresh and steamed open in the sauce so the sauce picks up that wonderful clam flavor which is great for dipping the Scali bread they serve with it. It is a very generous serving and is priced at around $10.00. My only complaint with Felicia's pasta dishes is that many times the pasta has been over cooked and is too soft for my tastes. Plus sometimes they seem to forget to drain it well and it is watery.

                                            2. funny this should come up as I made a batch for the first time at home (I have made before in a professional capacity), as I just purchased a meat slicer, and could get the nice thin cuts of eggplant for the style I like, which is thin sliced, lightly breaded, then casseroled with a little sauce and cheese in between each layer, then a good amount of sauce and cheese on top. Served over spaghetti and sauce...came out really nicely