Not all chicken parmigiana sandwiches are made equal, despite the fact that most are usually good. In a lot of delis, the sandwich is very soupy with so much marinara that the bread barely remains a container. This of course, is not always a bad thing. "Upscale" chicken parm, whatever that means, is usually less so, which is the case at Bronx institution F&J Pine.
Parmigiana originally was cooked as a dish with eggplant, but has evolved to include many varieties, the most popular of which is the chicken parm in New York City at least. You can find it on almost any menu serving sandwiches.
The version of the sandwich here at F&J Pine costs only $6, and is a good one, rated as one of the best by many people. The bread does not have much to say, but it serves as a bed for the nice cutlets of chicken, and an amount of sauce that does not overwhelm it.
On the side is a potato fritter that is very soft and pleasing inside. Before biting in, I was wondering what I might find within the breaded crust. You get the sense that F&J is not just using the throwaway pieces of meat for these sandwiches like a lot of delis do, because the slices are evenly thick and include no fat.
I came in and sat at the grand bar, since the restaurant is mostly set up for large groups and families. The portions here are family style, and tables are set up to accommodate very large parties. The place is very big and reminds me of a chain restaurant in the suburbs, with ample space for everyone. It is all tastefully done, and inviting even for this diner, probably the only person the bartender did not know the name of immediately.