A fake New York City steakhouse created by an tech startup founder 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 believed they’d at last gotten off the years-long waitlist for a highly exclusive meal.
The restaurant, which was said to have been on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, finally had availability at its East Village location.
The New York Post reported that 140 diners turned up on Saturday night to discover Mehran’s Steakhouse had in actual fact being a prank pulled off by a tech startup founder and 65 of his friends.
The joke had started in 2021 when Mehran Jalali’s 16 housemates decided to commemorate the biweekly steak dinner he would cook for them, by marking their home as a traditional steakhouse.
After flooding review sites with glowing praise for the fake restaurant, strangers started to show up at their door seeking steak.
Mehran Jalali, pictured here, and his close friends had started the restaurant as a way to commemorate their steak dinners which he would prepare for them during the pandemic
Mehran Jalali and a large group of his friends staged a fake steakhouse restaurant inside a former public bath house, pictured here, over the weekend
By the end of 2022, the fake steakhouse had managed to have a waitlist with 2,600 people on it
Jalali decided to make a rudimentary website, allowing people to join the waitlist – which was said to be fully booked for the next six months.
By the end of 2022, the fake steakhouse had managed to have a waitlist with 2,600 people on it.
Jalali then decided to make the prank a reality, and recruited friends to act as staff, hired a venue and acquired a one-day liquor license as well as food handling permits.
The AI start up founder now lives in San Francisco and had to fly back across the country to host the event.
As guests entered the steakhouse, which was located inside a former public bath house turned studio space, they were met with a selection of photographs of Mehran posing with celebrities.
These included Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy.
Violin covers of pop hits including the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song played in the background, the servers showed the patrons to their seats.
Once seated, they were presented with a 15-inch laser-etched wood cut providing them with the details of their upcoming meal, priced at $114.
One line reads: ‘The bright blissful days, the frigid unforgiving nights, heat, snow, drought, storm, all earthly experiences felt in tandem. Is this not community?’
The restaurant had been themed around ‘The Bovine Circle of Life’, which at one point involved waiters pouring glasses of whole milk as though it was wine.
Once seated, they were presented with a 15-inch laser-etched wood cut providing them with the details of their upcoming meal
Instead of fine wine, servers poured glasses of milk for diners as part of the ‘Bovine Circle of Life’
Around 140 diners turned up on Saturday night to discover Mehran’s Steakhouse had in fact been a ruse
Server Erika said: ‘The milk is intended to represent the bovine life cycle. We felt it would be remiss to not include the cow’s byproducts.’
Just after 8pm, a large crowd then briefly appeared outside screaming for popstar Drake as if he was eating at the restaurant to entice the interest of people passing.
Shortly after, before a marriage proposal was performed by two of Jalali’s friends as a joke.
According to the New York Times, reaction to the food was evenly split with diners praising the steak, the Jalali cooked, but others sent theirs back.
Reviews on Google left for the restaurant are also increasingly over the top, with one person claiming Chef Mehran was ‘god among men’.
Alex Lamper wrote: ‘Mehran’s Steakhouse is not just a restaurant, it’s a life-changing experience.
One couple have reportedly threatened Jalali with legal action after finding out they had dined at a fake restaurant
A large crowd also briefly appeared outside screaming for popstar Drake
‘I used to be 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 the steak at 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 chef, he’s a visionary, a genius, a god among men.
‘The steak that he served us was a work of art, a symphony of flavors, a masterpiece of culinary excellence.
One diner even claimed they had ordered the surf n turf, which prompted Mehran to reply: ‘This review is not about Mehran’s Steak House. We provide a white glove dining experience, and do not serve “surf n turf”.’
One couple has even threatened Jalali with legal action after finding out they had dined at a fake restaurant.