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May 30, 2009 06:41 PM

Parlor (PHX)

Just had quick dinner at new restaurant on Camelback near 20th Street, Parlor. Chef has garden in front of restaurant where he's growing herbs and veggies. Comfortable bright space. Food was pretty good. Excellent service. Prices are perfect for casual dining. Had caponata bruschetta, frito misto, pesto pizza for $30. Lots of parking, outdoor misted patio. A welcome addition to the neighborhood.

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  1. I ate there with a family group on Memorial Day. My impressions are similar to yours. The arancini were a perfect appetizer, and the house salad was quite good and lightly dressed. We had the Yukon gold and pesto pizzas. Both were quite good at the restaurant and just as good 48 hours later when reheated in a skillet.

    I love the restoration of the mid-century building. Those with less vision would have torn the building down, repeating the travesty of the nearby Washburn Piano store, which was replaced by a mediocre one-story building. I also like the fact that the parking is in the rear, where it should be. The restaurant directly addresses the street, is accessible to pedestrians, and makes an impression through its architecture and design rather than through its storage for vehicles.

    The only disappointment was the dessert menu, which I found heavy and very oriented toward chocolate. No that there's anything wrong with chocolate, but after a rich meal of pizza, I'd be more inclined toward something light and fruity. I'd also like to see a simple salad of market greens added to the menu. Those are minor issues, though, and I plan to return to the Parlor soon to try more of the menu.

    8 Replies
    1. re: silverbear

      Had lunch @ Parlor today. It was extremely busy. There was a 15 minute wait when I arrived at 12:15. Luckily as I was meeting my SO I was able to snag a large table in the bar.
      I was presented w/ 2 menus....the standard menu and a menu listing of pizza toppings with a pencil to create 'your own'!

      The place was intriguing....a good reinvention of a classic Phoenix building. The interior is sparse....but functional.
      My SO is not adventurous when it come to food. though he is a Maven when it comes to Caesar Salad and Pepperoni Pizza.
      Luckily the Parlor offers 8" pizzas...we could each order our own.
      We shared the large Caesar which was ample w/ a very nice...not too creamy dressing.
      It passed w/ flying colors.

      My SO ordered the obligatory pepperoni pizza : w/ Pavone Pepperoni / House made
      Mozzarella / Torn Basil. There were no complaints from him.
      I ordered the Smokey Pizza w/ Speck ( Smoked Prosciutto ) / Olive
      Tapenade / Ricotta / Arugula. I loved the flavor of the ricotta and Arugula. I would have liked a little more tapenade and prosciutto to bring out the salty smokey flavor. I think the pizza needed a bit more life.

      Service was great and so were the prices.

      Next time I would like to mix and match some of the items and create a pizza a bit more lively to my tastebuds!

      1. re: ciaogal

        color me the lone dissenter ;) i thought the prices were great, the food is pretty good, but over all something about it just isn't 'special'. i can't put my finger on anything in particular.

        the crust was good, but too thick for woodfired pizza. it was like nello's, only woodfired. which makes sense given the family ties to nello's, but i prefer much thinner

        the beet salad was tasty, but the beets were an addition, not a feature (there were maybe 5 pieces of beet in the whole salad), and the goat cheese was a small hockey puck size covered in crushed nuts. thats a WHOLE lot of cheese for such a small salad. normally i'm like 'sweet more goat cheese' but here it seemed in congruous. i thought some tweaking was in order.

        the bruschetta was pretty good

        the fritto misto was GREAT - the rock shrimp were the best thing about the whole meal...

        and i thought the desert menu needed more chocolate. out of 5 or 6 deserts, one was chocolate cake. one was tiramisu. one was a choice of gelato, one flavor among many being chocolate.

        and the chairs are appallingly bad. i HATED them with a burning passion. i went with 2 mid-century furniture dealers and we all be-moaned the liberal usage of carved frilly grandma style wood. one person said 'it was like cracker barrel had a clearance sale'

        i'd go back. for the prices you'd be crazy not to. but the building is so cool, and the fresh herbs growing outside are such a treat, i just found myself wanting things to be better. nearly everything just needed a tweak to make it special.

        1. re: winedubar

          Winedubar....I agree, there is something missing w/ The Parlor.
          My pizza was missing flavor....though tasty. The edge of the crust was a little thick and almost sweet.
          Sitting in the bar I didn't get the same perspective on the wooden chairs.
          The bar stools were retro, aluminum, and austere. I liked the bar tables as they looked as if they may have been recycled wood, almost like they were from an old gymnasium floor.
          I too would go back as the salumi, some of the pastas looked interesting as did the sandwiches.

          1. re: ciaogal

            i hear they are getting rid of the chairs. one rumor is the 'real'chairs weren't ready yet and these are loaners. i can't wait for that :D

            i would go back as well. some things on the menu have real promise and for the price, i was surprised at how reasonable it was.

            if you figure out what is missing, let me know..its driving me nuts that i can't figure it out but it feels so close to being special i just wish a tweak or two would come so it could be....

            1. re: winedubar

              looking forward to trying it for lunch next week. anything in this neighborhood is a welcome addition!

      2. re: silverbear

        I'm trying to picture in my mind what building we're talking about?
        Anyone care to give me a location in relation to T&C?

        p.s. I miss the old Washburn building :(

        1. re: mamamia

          It's on the north side of Camelback, west of T&C.

          If you go into Google maps street view, it is the Salon de Venus building that should show up as being at or around 1918 E Camelback.

          1. re: hohokam

            Got it. I know the Salon de Venus building.
            Thank you!

      3. I really enjoyed my experience at the Parlor last evening and left with a very good first impression. Started the meal off with the cauliflower gratinata, split a 12" margherita pizza, a small farm greens salad and the parlor insalata. Everything that I sampled was very good. I really like what they did with the space; because I sat in the bar I did not see what exactly was "cracker barrel-ish". I'm glad to have the Parlor in the 'hood!

        1. I posted a few days ago looking for a pizza place in the Esplanade area. A few folks here suggested Parlor. Heeding these recommendations, we headed there with a party of 9. Suffice it to say, there were a lot of problems with service, timing of food delivery and the accuracy of the orders (we were given salads and pizza we didn't order and didn't receive a few things we ordered). However, the food was good. The fritto misto was excellent and the pizza was very good with a nice char to the crust and very fresh toppings. About half way through our meal, given the numerous mistakes, the manager (at least I assume it was the manager) apologized and explained that they were still working out the kinks. Shortly thereafter there were a few more mistakes (one a fairly major one, but I will leave it private), so the manager came by and comped our meal (and drinks) for our Party of 9. Despite the kinks, we all said we would come back again to give them another shot. Hopefully they will iron out the problems as it would be nice for this place to succeed.

          1. Went on a weekend and had a 30 minute wait, which was pleasantly spent in the bar--had a sierra nevada summerfest beer. The dining area was dominated by a perforated stone screen that forms the front of the building, which was gorgeous. [This is the place where the food and mopho meet.] The fritto misto was delicious, as was their salad with roasted beets amd goat cheese. The arancini were very bland, and the roasted mushrooom pizza didn't thrill me.
            I'm just hoping they can develop a menu as hot as their architecture!

            1. I came here last Sunday and just want to add to the accolades. I felt a little confused seeing the herbs outside, but upon being explained their actual usage, I admit I fell into the This is so Cool! attitude, which may have colored my experience. We ate outside which was very nice, the foliage growing on the wall behind me was not off-putting, but surprisingly endearing. We ordered the Yukon Gold Potato pizza and the Pepperoni, for my less adventurous significant other. The Y. Gold was my favorite pizza I've had so far in my life, very thinly sliced potatoes, creamy ricotta, pancetta, and leeks, all combined for a great pie. The pepperoni was pretty straightforward, well-executed but nothing I'll remember next week. For desert, the tiramasu was delicious, but I must confess I am a tiramasu fiend. If not for my very sensitive teeth, I would've appreciated the caramel chips sprinkled throughout more, but my gf said it went well with it.

              This place was great! The last aspect I loved was the feeling of comfort it induced, I wound up spending about an hour here despite the pizzas coming out very quickly, just a great place to relax and eat. I plan on coming here over and over!

              8'' pizzas = $10, so obviously 2 = $20
              Tiramasu = $6
              Soft Drink = $2.50 each

              2 Replies
              1. re: Namius

                So they're open Sundays now? I hadn't noticed (live a mile n/e of there) Great! I've eaten there once and liked it -- weeknight, jammed -- but my Margherita came out in nine minutes and like in so many other places so many times -- was underdone. High volume, young staff, flagging oven temperature = underdone pies.

                Back in Classic Italian Pizza's heyday, I went in there on a Tuesday and it was sweltering -- they had fans going -- and Halim explained that even after extinguishing the oven for a couple of days it was still well more than 300 degrees when he stoked it up agin in the morning. You need a hot oven and the patience to let it do its work. This is an important reason why Chris Bianco ruled -- his pizzeria isn't perfect but it didn't turn out floppy sodden pies like you sometimes see at places like Cibo and Grazie -- not to mention many, many popular pizzerias when they get busy and the youngsters are pressured to pull the pies out of an oven prematurely that just isn't hot enough anymore.

                1. re: misohungrychewlow

                  I can't seem to make a post without making a mistake lately! It was a Saturday afternoon not Sunday that I went.

                  It makes this website even more endearing when I read replies like yours that throw in a little education along with your experiences.