Getting a table at Keith McNally’s Balthazar can be notoriously difficult—unless you’re one of the restaurant’s top patrons.
Many establishments keep their VIP list close to the chest, but recently the restaurateur has been revealing some of the A-list names in Balthazar’s books, the New York Post reported on Thursday. Infamously, the Brit got into a public spat with James Corden in October after the comedian allegedly displayed some less-than-gracious behavior toward staff members, but there are a handful of people who are in better favor with McNally.
Divided between AA and AAA status, Balthazar’s exclusive list encompasses everyone from celebrities to well-to-do New Yorkers to visitors to the the Big Apple. The difference between the two tiers isn’t necessarily clear. McNally didn’t return the Post’s requests for comment. But some of the preferred patrons spilled the deets as to what their top-notch treatment looks like.
Movie producer and real-estate developer Mark Settembre, who enjoys AAA status, told the New York Post that he has been dining at Balthazar since it opened in 1997. He called the restaurant his “kitchen” and is able to get a table basically whenever he pleases. “I called Balthazar on Saturday afternoon to get a table for eight that night; they put it together for me,” he said.
Others on the list enjoy perks such as complimentary glasses of Champagne. The agent Jean Conlon, the playwright Jon Robin Baitz, the attorney Chris Paparella and Vogue‘s Anna Wintour and have all delighted in such amenities. Some, however, aren’t so lucky: When Leonardo DiCaprio stopped by last month, McNally was adamant that the actor not receive special treatment, despite his AA status.
And whether the VIP is someone with a notable name or not, being a good guest can get you far in McNally’s eyes. Diners such as King Chong, who deals with corporate relations in the fashion industry, and Alexandre Chemla, the founder and CEO of the travel services company Altour, noted that being friendly with the staff and behaving well were important in McNally’s world. “It’s not about who you are,” Chemla told the Post. “It’s based on what you are and how you act.”
So if you’re hoping to join the restaurant’s upper echelons, maybe start there. Or be prepared to be called out on McNally’s Instagram, à la James Corden.