Parker’s has been open in SF for a few months now and I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to go there (except for the brief visit during Tastes of Downtown in which I ate nothing and felt my drink tasted watered down). But the place is always packed. I mean PACKED – you can see diners crowding up the place, no parking in front, etc. Which is what usually happens around here when a new restaurant opens up. Anyway, I wasn’t willing to deal with the crowds. However, on Saturday afternoon, after a late breakfast and a leisurely couple of hours exploring the first garage sales of spring, we found ourselves at the Copy Shop picking up tickets for Pirates of Penzance at the Smith Opera House, decided we were hungry, and traipsed across the street to a fairly empty Parker’s.
The front room, with its several two-top tables flanked by pairs of mismatched fancy chairs, is really quite cute. The chairs range from cushy (but too low for the table) bucket-types to colonial and queen anne-type armchairs and side chairs, with pretty upholsteries. The artwork is a little mismatched, but perhaps mismatching is the name of the game in the front room. The bar area is just what you’d expect – tables and booths and far too many televisions. Actually that is probably something I would change about the front room – take out the TVs. If you want sports-bar atmosphere, sit in the other area. The front room is loungey and nice for sharing a meal, conversation (granted, I do think the volume on the sets in the front room was off), and watching the goings-on of Seneca Falls’ main street.
The food was very simply not worth the fuss. I ordered a side salad, plus their half-sandwich and cup of soup combo. The salad was plain jane – iceberg lettuce (!), no onions, no croutons, the carrot was a long, leathery piece shaved with a potato peeler, and the cucumbers were puckered about the sides from sitting in the refrigerator case. So unimpressive.
I opted for safe with my sandwich choice – tuna salad on wheat. It was not too mayonnaisey, but it was a bit salty. Overall it was fine. It was served on a plate alongside a handful of potato chips, although the menu said that sandwiches were served with tortilla chips and salsa. I wouldn’t have cared either way, but no one mentioned the substitution. They were kettle chips, which are crunchier and yummier than regular potato chips.
The soup I ordered was soup of the day – which was labeled as a summer squash soup. It was a thickened broth with bits of yellow squash and halved grape tomatoes floating in it and it was actually very tasty. I’m pretty sure the thickness came from the squash itself, blended into the broth, rather than any cream-based roux, and I didn’t detect any evidence of corn or other starchy veg to thicken it. It was good but unfortunately, it is not a regular menu item.
Hubby ordered a grilled chicken Caesar salad, which was pretty good. The chicken was freshly grilled and coated with a nice spice combination.
Afterwards we headed back across the street and stopped into Zuzu’s for a cappuccino. I realized then that we should have just made Zuzu’s our lunch spot. Quieter and a less-friendly atmosphere, but the lunch menu sounded much more delicious and fresh.
Bottom line on Parker’s: go there if you want pub food (think potato skins, wings) and a casual, sports-bar atmosphere. I don’t think we’ll be back unless I want a burger or something deep-fried.
Parker’s Grille & Tap House
86 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, NY