Parma 8200 revives Bloomington's staid dining scene

D'Amico-owned Italian makes strides with modern dishes

The salumi plate—a choice of five cured meats from noted producers such as Iowa's La Quercia and San Francisco's Fra'mani—offers good value and arrives garnished with peppers, cheese, and a few smoky olives. If you're feeling more indulgent, have your prosciutto grilled and wrapped with mozzarella in carrozza, "in a carriage," or fried in bread.

The watermelon salad—fruit with basil puree, tomato, and goat cheese—is a pairing that's edgy without being overly complex. A salad made with shrimp and fregola (a small, round pasta, like Israeli couscous) is even better, with its mix of fresh sweet corn, peas, avocado, and a zesty, tarragon-heavy Green Goddess-style dressing.

It's not something you'd likely see in Italy, but neither is the pan-seared sockeye salmon, which lends Italian inspiration to the Pacific Northwest fish. The fillet is seared to acquire a fatty-crisp crust and served with spinach, shell peas, and a tangy cream sauce that's garnished with the salty, bitter bite of preserved lemons. It's 28 dollars well spent.

More crowd-pleasing Italian food from D'Amico
Jana Freiband
More crowd-pleasing Italian food from D'Amico

Location Info

Map

Parma 8200

5600 W. 83rd St.
Bloomington, MN 55437

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Bloomington

Details

Parma 8200
5600 W. 83rd St., Bloomington
952.896.8888; www.parma8200.com
appetizers $7-$14; entrees $14-$28

Service at Parma, in my experience, supported the restaurant's successes or exacerbated its flaws. One night, our waitress was extremely knowledgeable, attentive, and discreet. On another visit, our server seemed unprepared to describe menu items (the chardonnay "won an award," the steak "comes with a sauce") and her instincts—"Are you still working on that? . . . I mean, are you still enjoying that?"—might have been better suited to Joe Senser's sports bar around the block. Good intentions, such as replacing used place settings somewhat unnecessarily, ended up being more disruptive than helpful when utensils were forgotten.

Fortunately, the desserts designed by longtime D'Amico pastry chef Leah Henderson tip the scale in a favorable direction. Cannoli are crisp and creamy as they are supposed to be. Either you like the cheese-filled pastry shells or you don't, but the dark chocolate dip and candied kumquats of Parma's version undoubtedly add sophistication. The chocolate cremosa, a dense custard with a ganache-like texture, is a great choice, as it marries beautifully with its coffee semifreddo, hazelnuts, and a razor-thin slice of toast. The butterscotch panna cotta is also excellent: a pure bliss of brown sugar, salt, and cream.

As we spooned the last few bites of panna cotta out of the glass, my friends and I wondered when we might have it again. Was tomorrow too soon? Maybe for breakfast? "What time does this place open?" we asked.

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