Restaurant critics aren’t the only ones using ratings in the restaurant world. Keith McNally, the feisty owner of legendary downtown restaurants like Balthazar, Minetta Tavern and Pastis, rates his customers as accurately as one reviewer rates steak tartare.
Though McNally’s worst diners – including James Corden, whom the restaurateur recently raped for alleged misbehavior – get their retribution on his Instagram account, he’s also been spreading love for his restaurants’ VIPs.
McNally offers social media followers behind-the-scenes insights through daily reports from Maître d’s revealing who is AA (Rolling Stone scion Gus Wenner, actor Bill Nighy) and who is AAA (playwright Jon Robin Baitz, fashion queen Anna Wintour ). .
Perhaps only McNally knows the difference between the two levels, but he did not respond to requests for comment. Still, some of its VIPs are ready to reveal how they achieved coveted status. It is known here who is permanently on the list in McNally’s empire.
Mark Settembre: AAA
Loved by Baltazhar staff — “one of our favorite regulars,” gushed one maître d’ in a memo to McNally — Settembre is known for its generosity. Settembre, a film producer and real estate developer from NJ, told The Post that he’s patronized the Balthazar since it opened in 1997. He considers the place “my kitchen” and has practically free reign in a place where prime-time reservations are hard to come by. “I called Baltazhar on Saturday afternoon to get a table for eight that evening; They put it together for me,” he said, adding that one of his dining companions was the lead singer of German rock band Rammstein. “The guys in the kitchen all ran out to take pictures with him.”
Anna Wintour: AAA
Aside from regularly having breakfast with McNally at Balthazar, the Vogue editor and head of Condé Nast also played a key role in his success. Back when the Restaurateur Manager was at One Fifth near Washington Square, McNally personally made Wintour Eggs Benedict after the chef refused because the kitchen was closed. “When the Maître D’ said I was the one who cooked her brunch, [Wintour] introduced herself gracefully,” McNally posted. “We became good friends from that day and a few years later Anna was responsible for me opening my first restaurant, The Odeon.”
Bill Nighty: AA
The popular British actor – known for his roles in Love Actually, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man’s Chest – is a frequent dining companion and alleged boyfriend of Anna Wintour, is a note below her. The two are said to be generous tips. However, Nighy doesn’t seem to get much respect at the Crosby Hotel. According to a recent report from the head maître d’, the hotel mistook him for Bill Murray.
Jean Conlon: A.A
“Keith may say I’m a double-A, but I’m a triple-A,” Conlon, a representative of photographers and stylists, joked to The Post. “I’m not going to Balthazar with my Aunt Myrtle. I go there with customers. I’m there at least three or four times a week,” added Conlon, who received a free glass of champagne with a visit this month. “If Keith’s around, I’ll stop by to see hello. I am greeted warmly. All of those things are important.” She also has an unusual focus on the restaurant. “You will receive a postcard with your check and two of mine [former] Photographers, Minh+Wass, took the picture.”
Leonardo DiCaprio: AA
Apparently not all VIPs get the special treatment. When Leonardo DiCaprio had brunch at the Balthazar in November, the staff wanted to do something “very special” for the actor — but McNally failed. As the brunch maître d’ noted in a report to the chef: ‘They were quite anxious that we didn’t do anything for him, so we didn’t. Which is kind of a shame…”
Gus Wenner: AA
Jann Wenner, son of Rolling Stone co-founder and current CEO of the magazine, reported on a Tuesday night at the Minetta Tavern last month. According to a Dinner Maître d’: “Gus Wenner came to dinner with Lorde. The singer looked stunning…” For the Wenners, it was a family affair: Earlier in the evening, Gus’ mother, Jane, was seated at the same table that her son and Lorde would later be seated at.
Jon Robin Baitz: AAA
A big name on and off Broadway, Baitz has written plays that have featured star casts – Sarah Jessica Parker (“The Substance on Fire”), Nathan Lane (“Mizlansky/Zilinsky or ‘Schmucks'”), Al Pacino (” People I Know”), Rachel Griffiths (“Other Desert Cities”) – and has been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. On a recent visit to McNally’s Pastis, his high note earned him a compensated glass of champagne.
King Chong: AA
Chong, who is in charge of corporate relations in the fashion industry, said visiting McNally’s restaurants and being particularly nice went a long way in establishing him as elite. Within a week of opening in 1997, he began eating at Balthazar. From the start, Chong told The Post, “I’ve made a habit of learning the names of the staff and conversing with them.” While many regulars pride themselves on being able to snag reservations at peak times, Chong knows another Appreciating aspect of Balthazar: “My favorite time to travel is when it’s snowing. You have the place to yourself.”
Alexandre Chemla: AAA
Chemla, founder and CEO of travel services company Altour, likes the fact that McNally’s VIPs aren’t necessarily celebrities. “It’s not about who you are,” Chemla, who said the restaurant reminds him of his native France, told The Post. “It’s based on what you are and how you act.”
Paul Woolmington: A.A
This media entrepreneur, who has been a regular at the restaurant since its inception, reportedly knows employees by name and is said to have hosted many morning meetings over breakfast at Balthazar.
Chris Paparella: AA
As a partner at Steptoe and Johnson, Attorney Paparella represents financial institutions in international litigation. He was recently served champagne at McNally’s request.
Mike Romoff: AA
Romoff is Advertising VP at Google and previously held a similar role at LinkedIn.
Joel Cutler: AA
Cutler — a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based venture capitalist — can afford to splurge on dishes like Balthazar’s $58 Dover Sole: It’s reportedly worth “at least $37 million.”
Sandra Mintz: AAA
Mintz, a West Village resident, recently met fellow regular Mark Settembre at McNally’s Morandi. Last Saturday, as they both dined at Balthazar, Settembre and his partner Anna footed the bill for Mintz and her guests.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/15/whos-on-balthazars-vip-list-of-the-nyc-restaurant/ Who is on Balthazar’s NYC restaurant VIP list?