For me, chicken parmesan and fried spring rolls are second-tier foods. I don’t dislike them, but I’m only going to order them when there is literally nothing else on a menu that I even vaguely like the sound of. Basically, with the exception of non-Jewish weddings, I never order chicken parmesan or spring rolls. The wild assumption that not everything needs to be deep fried in an wonton wrapper has apparently not reached the HQ at Davio’s. We’ve reviewed the Northern Italian Philly Cheesesteak spring rolls and studiously avoided the shrimp cojita. Now it’s time to sample my edible consolation prize, the Chicken Parm spring rolls from Davio’s.
These started as a result of some guy named Wayne’s fastidiously childish compulsion of only eating chicken parm regardless of the establishment he was dining at. Wayne sounds like the kind of guy who brings his own tofu burgers to 4th of July barbecues and feigns indigestion to get out of eating Indian food. Instead of dismissing this as annoying, Davio’s found it memorable enough to…create a spring roll out of? And give us permission to enjoy it even if our name isn’t Wayne? All right. Well, considering that constitutes a cool 312,041,825 out of 312,430,801 people in the USA, or 99.8% of people, I’m glad they felt the need to give us that disclaimer. I think we can all safely agree that the chief allure of chicken parmesan is the crispy, flaky crust underneath the sauce and cheese. Likewise, the prime part of an egg roll is the chewy wonton wrapper. Put the two fried goodies together and you have Tums executives everywhere laughing evilly and twiddling their mustaches in glee.
The epitome of class.
Regardless, I tried these out of shameless intrigue and a complete lack of desire to actually cook. Unfortunately, they bombed even while eaten commando. (The spring rolls, not me.) Wayne can go back to eating chicken parmesan, because these are no substitute for either dish. If I was able to have an egg roll at Davio’s made in my honor, it would be the anti-chicken parm egg roll, and would consist of all that is good and pure on this earth that I could stuff in my mouth. This egg roll, on the other hand, is the antithesis of that concept. It cooks unevenly, a small facet that just adds insult to injury. Davio’s bumbling chefs took the concept literally and stuffed breaded chicken, sauce, and cheese inside the thick, absorbent egg roll dough, which, when indirectly heated and steamed through its crispy shell, translates as a mushy, overbreaded cheesefest with a pasty, thick mouthfeel and a salty sauce recipe lifted directly from Totino’s Pizza Rolls. It was impossible to discern any chicken in this whatsoever in both texture and flavor.
A part of me really did adore the Philly cheesesteak rolls because there was no filler ingredient to gum up the works. Every aspect played a key role in the composition of the dish, with the meat and cheese as filling and the egg roll as the carbohydrate binder. Here, the balance was thrown off and the ratios were completely skewed. I felt like I was eating the end result of a rejected Epic Meal Time sketch, with the subpar quality and condescension included with the $6.49 price tag.