Renowned New York City restaurateur Keith McNally took to Instagram on Monday to announce he had banned British comedian James Corden from his Manhattan restaurant Balthazar for alleged super rude behavior toward servers and staff.
Describing the host of The Late Late Show with James Corden as a “hugely gifted comedian, but a tiny Cretin of a man…and the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago,” McNally pulled no punches in defense of his staff.
“I don’t often 86 a customer, today I 86’d Corden. It did not make me laugh,” the post continues. The term “86’d” is common in the restaurant industry to describe either a dish being taken off the menu or a patron being denied service.
Corden clearly took note of the Instagram post and the high-profile restaurant ban quickly. Less than eight hours after the original post, McNally provided an update letting everyone know Corden had called and “apologized profusely.”
“…anyone magnanimous enough to apologize to a deadbeat layabout like me (and my staff) doesn’t deserve to be banned from anywhere. Especially Balthazar. So Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Corden, Jimmy Corden. All is Forgiven,” the update reads.
Once dubbed the “Restaurateur Who Invented Downtown” by The New York Times, Keith McNally has been active and influential on New York City’s restaurant scene for decades. Turns out his social media presence holds some sway as well. But what set off this celebrity culinary clash in the first place?
According to McNally’s original post, there were actually two incidents involving Corden at Balthazar. The first occurred in June of this year when Corden allegedly found a hair in his food.
“Corden showed the hair to Balthazar manager G. who was very apologetic. Corden was extremely nasty..” McNally explains, adding that Corden demanded “another round of drinks this second” all while simultaneously threatening to “write nasty reviews” online.
Fast forward to October 2022 and Corden returned to Balthazar.
“Mr. Corden’s wife ordered an egg yolk omelette with gruyere cheese and salad. A few minutes after they received the food, James called their server, M. K., and told her there was a little bit of egg white mixed with the egg yolk,” McNally explains.
When the omelette was brought back with home fries instead of a salad as the side, Corden allegedly began “yelling like crazy” at the waiter, saying “You can’t do your job! You can’t do your job! Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelette myself!”
After a visit from the restaurant manager and a few complimentary glasses of champagne McNally claims Corden calmed down, but “M.K. (the server) was very shaken, but professional that she is, continued to finish her shift.”
Keith McNally has been no stranger to controversy himself. The restaurateur has raised eyebrows in recent years with his defense of Woody Allen and praise of Roman Polansky. Allen is accused (but not charged) of child abuse by his daughter Dylan Farrow, while Polanski was arrested and charged with statutory rape in 1979.