A fake New York steakhouse created by the founder of a tech startup and 65 of his friends pranked diners over the weekend by serving them milk and staging a marriage proposal.
Mehran’s Steakhouse opened its doors this weekend for one night only, allowing diners who thought they had finally gotten off the years-long waiting list for a very exclusive meal.
The restaurant, which was apparently on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was finally available in its East Village location.
The New York Post reported that 140 diners came Saturday night to discover that Mehran’s Steakhouse was actually a prank pulled off by the founder of a tech startup and 65 of his friends.
The joke had started in 2021 when Mehran Jalali’s 16 roommates decided to commemorate the bi-weekly steak dinner he would prepare for them, by marking their house as a traditional steakhouse.
After flooding review sites with glowing praise for the fake restaurant, strangers began showing up at their doors looking for a steak.
Mehran Jalali and a large group of his friends staged a mock steakhouse in a former bathhouse, pictured here, this weekend.
By the end of 2022, the fake steakhouse had managed to have a waiting list of 2,600 people
Jalali decided to create a rudimentary website, allowing people to sign up for the waiting list – which was supposed to be full for the next six months.
By the end of 2022, the fake steakhouse had managed to have a waiting list of 2,600 people.
Jalali then decided to make this prank a reality and recruited friends to act as staff, rented a venue and acquired a one-day liquor license as well as food handling permits.
The founder of the AI startup now lives in San Francisco and had to fly across the country to host the event.
As guests entered the steakhouse, located inside a former bathhouse converted into a studio, they discovered a selection of photographs of Mehran posing with celebrities.
These included Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy.
With fiddle covers of pop hits, including the theme song Curb Your Enthusiasm playing in the background, servers showed customers to their seats.
Once seated, they were presented with a 15-inch laser-engraved wooden cutout providing them with the details of their next meal, priced at $114.
One line reads: “The bright, happy days, the frigid, unforgiving nights, the heat, the snow, the drought, the storm, all earthly experiences felt in tandem.” Isn’t that a community?
The theme of the restaurant was around the “Circle of Bovine Life”, which at one point involved waiters pouring glasses of whole milk as if it were wine.
Once seated, they were presented with a 15-inch laser-engraved wooden cutout providing them with the details of their next meal.
Instead of good wine, waiters served glasses of milk to guests as part of the “Circle of Bovine Life”.
About 140 diners came Saturday night to discover that Mehran’s Steakhouse was actually just a ruse.
Waitress Erika said: “The milk is meant to represent the bovine life cycle. We thought it would be remiss not to include cow by-products.
Just after 8 p.m., a large crowd then briefly appeared outside, shouting at popstar Drake as if he were eating at the restaurant to attract the interest of passersby.
Shortly after, before a marriage proposal was made by two of Jalali’s friends as a joke.
According to New York Timesreaction to the food was evenly divided, with diners praising the steak, the Jalali cooked, but others sending theirs back.
Reviews left on Google for the restaurant are also increasingly exaggerated, with one person claiming that Chef Mehran was “the god among men.”
Alex Lamper wrote: “Mehran’s Steakhouse is not just a restaurant, it’s a life-changing experience.
A couple allegedly threatened Jalali with legal action after discovering they had dined at a fake restaurant.
A large crowd also briefly appeared outside to shout at popstar Drake.
“I was a devout vegan, believing that a plant-based diet was the only way to live a moral and healthy life.
“The moment I took my first bite of steak in this heavenly establishment, my eyes were opened to the truth. The tender, juicy meat was like a revelation, a taste of divinity.
“And then there was Chef Mehran. He is not just a leader, he is a visionary, a genius, a god among men.
“The steak he served us was a work of art, a symphony of flavors, a masterpiece of culinary excellence.
One customer even claimed to have ordered the surf n turf, prompting Mehran to respond: “This review is not about Mehran’s Steak House. We offer a white glove dining experience and do not serve “surf n turf”.
One couple even threatened Jalali with legal action after discovering they had dined at a fake restaurant.