The cheeky slogan “get baked” is graffitied on the walls, the Talking Heads is playing (and not so quietly), people are drinking Colt 45’s, and a screen in the back shows Scooby and the gang cruising around in the Mystery Machine.
If it weren’t for the mouthwatering aroma from the crisped and cheesy pies sliding out of the wood-fired oven at The Parlor, you’d think you were back at your old college house.
Embrace that feeling. Chef-owner Dave DiBari (also of The Cookery and DoughNation) is a champion of tongue-in-cheek fun, a quality he gets away with because his food undeniably delicious.
The Parlor’s entree menu is solely pizzas, but they are why you go, and why you return. Made with a buttery in-house mozzarella, toppings vary from the classic margarita to more daring choices, like bone marrow, foie gras or, right now, ramps, those beloved spring darlings. And crafty appetizers like homemade burrata and salt-baked pork belly aren’t to be missed.
The space is small, so every seat in the house has a view of the goods going in and out of the oven. Serious attention was clearly paid to the drinks menu, and the bar in the back has some room to wait for your table, which you likely will for about 20 minutes on a Friday or Saturday evening.
But trust us, go with a fun friend and indulge in several menu items and you’ll be happy you did. Because that’s what The Parlor is all about: good food and rad times. Oh, and don’t forget to sign the wall on your way out.
What we tried
Wood-fired oysters: Six per order and served in a no-frills sheet pan. This is the dish that single-handedly captured our hearts before pizza even made its way to the table: warm and salty, served with nutty brown butter, lemon and a sprinkling of pickled parsley. Leave no shell unturned, and make sure there’s bread handy to mop up whatever is left in that pan.
Parlor Pocket: Soft-boiled eggs are enveloped in a crispy pizza dough batter shell and served with freshly made ricotta and seasoned with thyme and a drizzle of truffle oil. Watch the yolk slowly seep out of the pocket and take your time eating this one. You’ll be sad when it’s over.
Homemade burrata: Silky smooth, and partnered with mildly funky ramps, crunchy shallots and a healthy dose of black pepper. An excellent choice alongside your order of wood-fired oysters and craft beer. We kept it on the table and snacked on it straight through the entire meal.
Bone marrow pizza: People either love bone marrow or they don’t, but I’d urge anyone on the fence to give DiBari’s version a go. The pizza comes charred on the bottom, with a sweet and sticky glaze on top, and is rounded out with rosemary and Parmesan. The flavors are rich, deep and memorable.
Polpette pizza: The meatballs are one of the most popular items at The Cookery, and doing them Parlor-style means baking the tiny, tender rounds right into a pie with creamy ricotta and fresh basil. A pie that manages to be both airy and substantial at once, this makes a great dinner for two.
Drinks and Dessert
Colt 45’s are on the menu (along with other ironic hipster beers like Pabst and Old Milwaukee), but so are some beer-geek-approved crafts, like Founders Dirty Bastard and an outstanding Canadian beer called La Fin Du Monde from Unibroue.
Wines are on tap, and pre-Prohibition style cocktails come in tiny bottles, strategies selected by DiBari for their appeal to consistent quality. Order wines by the bottle, half or full carafe; we recommend the Riesling from the Finger Lakes.
Not drinking? My 7-year-old dining companion raves about the natural sodas, like creme soda from Boylan and Sprecher’s root beer.
Unfortunately I’ve eaten my way through the starters and pizza at every visit; I haven’t had room for a dessert. Each one looks to be just as creative and well-composed as the rest of the menu. DiBari’s sweets perfectly represent his style: fun and mostly Italian-themed. Look for creamy panna cotta, homemade “twinkies” and an Oreo bread pudding.
You’ll find a nice mix of demographics, with date night couples of all ages, kids home from college and some small ladies night groups, too.
If you’re comfortable dodging requests from your kids for a T-shirt that says “get baked,” The Parlor is family friendly. If you’re not, face them the other way and go regardless. They’ll love the pizza and get a kick out of cutting a slice for themselves with the provided scissors.
The Parlor does not take reservations. And with the exception of a long communal picnic table in the center, tables are set for groups of two to four. If you have a larger crew, go before the dinner crowd rush and request that long table.
What we will order next
Any of the salads, which are a far cry from the iceberg lettuce you’ll get at a typical pizza place. One has wood roasted mushrooms, smoked ricotta, frisée and crisp Parmesan rind. Vegetarians should have no trouble finding something tasty.
Located in the heart of Dobbs Ferry, The Parlor is about a 10-minute walk from the Metro-North station. Cocktail geeks and wine lovers will want to pop in to Rochambeau Wines & Liquors down the street for its interesting and hard-to-find selections.The 411 on The Parlor Cuisine: Wood-fired pizza. Entree price range: $12-$20 Great for: Cheap Eats, Date Night, Seasonal Menu, Craft Beer, Cocktails, Girls’ Night Out, Kid Friendly, Open Kitchen, Small Plates, Vegetarians, Wine List Noise level: Moderate to loud. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesday; noon-4 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; noon-4 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon-3 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday. Go: 14 Cedar St., Dobbs Ferry. 914-428-8200, www.theparlordf.com. Facebook: The Parlor DF