If you read last week's post you know the drill, I'm out of town for 3 weeks and I'm banking these posts ahead of time so you, faithful reader, aren't left in the cold while I'm off on an international jaunt with a hefty chunk of the review team. So I'm not wasting one of Melbourne's fine parma-producing institutions on a half-arsed quicky review I'm taking this opportunity to check out the "kind've parmas", the ones not deserving of a fully-fledged parma review yet at the same time shouldn't be completely ignored.
Which brings us to Subway.
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As the commercial above states, these days the Subway sandwich shop does a chicken parma sub. Now I'll say from the get-go that, although I love a bit of Subway, I've never been a fan of chicken parma sandwiches - something about the mixture of napoli sauce and bread just doesn't go together properly. But hey, the commercial looks good, lets give it a go.
I entered the empty store at about 6pm (I've always considered Subway a lunch food and not a dinner food, so that doesn't really surprise me) Everyone who visits Subway regularly has their standard ordering procedure locked into their brain. They know what they like and how to order it (Italian herbs & cheese bread, chicken fillet, lettuce, onion, olives, jalapenos and ranch sauce with salt & pepper) So I can't actually remember the last time I looked at the menu - standing there, looking like a complete Subway n00b, I spotted the "Chicken Parmigiana Melt" and approached the sandwich construction station.
Seeing as I was inspired by the commercial, I tried to keep my order as close to what the guy in the ad has possible. Starting with a 6-inch Italian herbs and cheese base I shuffled down the line. The first thing that struck me was that a different chicken fillet is used for the parma than a regular subway chicken fillet - I was completely unaware that Subway stocked chicken schnitzels these days - but like I said, I rarely look beyond my standard order. This was a bit of a disappointment, as I love Subway's chicken fillets - but I didn't want to deviate too far off menu, so I stuck with what she gave me.
Chicken fillet, cheddar cheese, napoli (or marinara sauce, as apparently we're American) toasted.
Hold on... Where's the melt? My 'Chicken parmigiana melt' had no mozzarella on it, nor was I asked if I wanted mozzarella - When asked if I wanted cheese, I said yes, she responded "Cheddar, Old English or Swiss" I chose cheddar and just assumed that, as I ordered a chicken parmigiana melt that the mozzarella cheese was kind've a given. I didn't notice until it was out of the toaster that there was no mozzarella - oh well, Moving on to salads.
Again, keeping with the commercial I kept it simple - Lettuce, onion, cucumber and olives (in the ad they had tomato slices as well, but I'm not a fan of raw tomato so I omitted it from my "interpretation").
No extra sauce on top other than the napoli, a bit of salt & pepper and I was done! out the door with my freshly toasted chicken parma sub - In & out the door in about 4 minutes flat, a good turnaround time if this turns out to be a decent sandwich.
I got it home and began the photoshoot, Unwrapping it revealed the napoli had leaked quite a bit, leaving quite the mess on the paper...
The finished product
I'm not sure how long it was under the toaster, but it can't have been more than twenty seconds - hardly enough time to melt anything, however it was still quite warm, even after the 3 minute trip from Subway to my Apartment.
For research purposes I deconstructed the sandwich to get a proper look at what we were dealing with...
Two slices of ham, a squirt of napoli, not a lot of cheese, a surprisingly large schnitzel fillet and some very poorly distributed salad. That's what we are working with here. I closed her up, sliced it in half for the below cross section photo, and tucked in.
I was quite surprised with how thick the schnitzel fillet was, but that's about where the positives end - Processed to the max, it had the consistency of a giant frozen chicken nugget that has spent 2 minutes in the microwave. It didn't taste particularly bad at all, but even compared to the regular subway chicken fillet the schnitzel is about as tasty as a moist sponge. Speaking of sponges - I have no idea where the napoli went. Other than a red tinge to the top of the schnitz there was no sauce to be found, it had all soaked into either the crumbs below or the bread on top, either that or ... Ya know ...
The ham was tasteless, the cheese was tasteless (I should've gone with old english or swiss, cheddar is just boring) and the schnitz was tasteless - when the most interesting flavour in the sandwich is the cucumber you know you're in trouble.
Actually, I can't really fault them on the salad - the lettuce, cucumber and onion were all crisp and fresh, and when I got to the end where all the olives were they actually tasted pretty good.
The Subway chicken parma sub is a whole lot of nothing. Tasteless processed meats stacked atop each other and squished into bread - If you swapped out the spongey schnitzels for the infinitely tastier chicken fillets and added some bolder flavours (come at me, jalepenos) then it'd be salvageable - I suppose that's the good thing about Subway - if you don't like it you're free to change it!
Things should be back to normal next week, No more take-away parmas, we'll be back in the saddle with a fully-fledged parma review!