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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.
So, 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.
At 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.
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)