Many foodies are only ordering takeout during the crisis. We search for and discover some great options.
During these challenging times, family-run restaurants (like Papa Amedeos) are struggling. Each customer can make a difference. Instead of spending money at a national chain, why not dine at a family-run restaurant tonight?
One of the most popular Italian dishes is the Italian-American classic: Chicken Parmigiana. It’s one of our go-tos when checking out a new Italian spot.
One of the very best versions of this dish we’ve had is the one created by Chef Arturo Huerta at Papa Amadeos. Chef Arturo sweats the details: Obviously, the sauce is made in house. The chicken is breaded to order. But the chef takes things to the next level by hand making his own pasta, and baking the delicious garlic knots from scratch every day.
(You’d be surprised how rare this is. Many popular Italian restaurants take lots of shortcuts. They buy premade bread. They boil boxed pasta. Some even purchase their sauces from suppliers like Sysco, perhaps adding an ingredient or two and calling it “their own”. Once you’ve tasted food that’s handcrafted inside the restaurant, you’ll be spoiled. You won’t settle for shortcuts again.)
We were excited to learn that this benchmark version of the iconic dish was available for takeout. Chef Arturo does the hard work, and packages it up for easy takeout. (Also included is a large house salad.) So we contacted Papa Amadeos and placed an order. The small restaurant has a clever solution to the challenges created by the pandemic: They offer takeout only on Tuesday and Wednesday, opening the dining room for dinner at the end of the week and the weekend.
One of the tests of a great takeout dish is how well it travels. Chicken Parmigiana creates special challenges, because the crust begins to soften the moment it leaves the pan. We’re happy to report that the superlative version at Papa Amadeos holds up far better than most; even after our 10 minute drive home, the breading was holding together well, and the sauce and cheese coating was still nicely warm. The garlic knots were perfect; soft and gently chewy.
The chicken comes nestled in a half-hotel pan, atop a bed of Chef Arturo’s superb housemade linguine marinara. The portion is generous.
We don’t have the plating technique of a great chef like Arturo Huerta, but we were able to transfer the chicken, pasta, and bread to a serving plate. Our presentation might not pass muster in a great restaurant, but we found the result appetizing and appealing.
The proof is in the eating, of course. The chicken was delicious and tender, with an enticing aroma. The pasta was deliciously al dente; there’s no better pasta in the Woodlands area. The result is a very satisfying meal that reflects well on the chef and the restaurant.
If you’re craving Chicken Parmigiana at home, this version from Papa Amadeos is an excellent choice.