Like truly delicious pizza and bagels, a top-flight chicken Parm can be a rare breed—even in a place like New York. For every half-decent Parm out there, you'll find others with limp, lifeless breading, Sysco-quality chicken or flavorless mozzarella that drags the sandwich down. To avoid those pitfalls, here's what to look for.
The bread. We're after a freshly baked roll or hero, the latter of which should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, the better to soak up all that tomato sauce.
The filling. Only thin white-meat cutlets, freshly breaded and fried, need apply—no oversized frozen chicken tenders, please. The sauce should be robust and full-flavored, not watery or under-seasoned. And a blanket of mozzarella, still hot, stringy and melty, is crucial.