Beware the “Parlor” dinner club mailing invites

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Parlor entranceJanuary 23, 2015- By Steven E. Greer

I received a fancy printed dinner invitation similar to what one gets for a wedding, inviting me to a private SoHo “dinner club” called Parlor. I was intrigued and went, knowing that there was a good chance it was a scam.

The establishment was clearly slapped together inside of an idle space, almost as a pop-up. Inside, it was adequately enough decorated.

Parlor Capote loungeSo, at this point, I was on the fence, starting to feel the disappointment that was about to smack me, being a veteran of this nightlife stupidity that repeats itself with each generation. But hey, the meal was “complimentary”, they said. Otherwise, I would have walked out by now.

The chef is supposed to have been the sous chef for David Bouley: Hilary Ambrose. The first “entree” was an absurdly concocted French thing called a “corn confetti financier”, or something to that effect. It was a dime-sized little cake, and I am not exaggerating.

The next “entree” was a beet salad. It was all fluffy and pretty, but mostly air.

Parlor saladAt this point, a table of two super-dorks was seated by me, within 12-inches or so. I was sitting against the wall on a long bench seating that was poorly constructed. When the super-nerd sat, he shook my seat. Far worse, however, was the fact that I had to listen to their inane conversation.

The main course arrived, which was some type of seared cod that they gave a fancy name. It was just improperly cooked and the skin was not crispy or seared.

Parlor fish

The dessert was a scoop of coffee ice cream. It was unworthy of a photo.

I almost never drink wine or liquor with food. In this case, they forced a drink on me, and the drink menu had no prices. I assumed it was part of the “complimentary” dinner.

When I was done, I got up and went to the waiter’s station to ask if I was all good. I learned that I had to pay $16 for the wine that I did not want in the first place, a $10 “seating fee”, and then a mandatory $10 tip (which was a 40% tip for crap service). For $37, I could have gotten a good meal at a real restaurant. Oh, the $20 transportation fee is something I would not have accrued had I not been suckered into this scam.

I asked the manager how they got my name and they claimed that a member of the club “nominated me”. It is more likely that they bought the New York State Medical License database trolling for MD’s. If a friend did nominate me, then that person is no longer my friend.

I asked them about the business model and why someone would go there every time they dine as a club rather than go to real restaurants. They claim that the food is free, and that you can eat all you want for a year, but the drinks cost. I do not know the cost of the annual membership fees.

I almost took a date to this fiasco. Fortunately, she’s on a set and could not attend, so my esteem and reputation were not damaged.

(Did you get this invite too? Please post comments)

This entry was posted in Bar, Lounge, Restaurants, Reviews, SoHo. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Beware the “Parlor” dinner club mailing invites

  1. goyastyle says:

    Thank you for this post.

    I just received my invite and was excited when I read it. But happy to have come across this before acting upon it.

    Thanks for saving me the time, money and headache. Sorry you had to experience it though.

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