Family fare: How two industry pros came home to classic Italian cooking

Jun 20, 2019 249

BY: Rich Griset

It was something of a running joke: No matter where he ate in Central Virginia, Brian Steele couldn’t seem to find a decent chicken Parmesan. Steele, who originally hails from upstate New York, was appalled at what passed for the classic Italian dish – breaded chicken topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan – at most local restaurants. The last straw came while he was deconstructing one version and realized the meat was just frozen chicken tenders.

“It’s gotten to be one of the sloppy items on a menu,” explains Steele, sitting in the dining room of Isabella’s Bistro & Salumeria at Midlothian’s Sycamore Square Village Shopping Center. “They’ll take a chicken cutlet, they’ll throw it in a fryer, they take it out, they throw it in red sauce, they glop it with mozzarella and serve it with pasta.”

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