Was Leslie Kaufman hoping to land a standing reservation at the Waverly Inn by making today's Times assessment of Graydon Carter's West Village nightspot more glowing than anyone would have thought possible? Most impressive of all: how many friends of the Vanity Fair editor she manages to squeeze into the piece. Did you know that Ron Perelman owns the building it's in and that the quinoa risotto with green curry sauce was added at the request of vegan Russell Simmons? But in case you imagined that mere wealth provided an entrée to this dazzling scene of fabulous movers and shakers, think again.
Hedge funders from the burbs can stay home ("we screen calls from the 203 area code") and B-list publicity whores "who call the paparazzi from inside the restaurant" are also persona non grata. Much more welcome are Conde Nast employees with fat expense accounts like Vanity Fair publisher Ed Menischechi, who has dined at the restaurant more than 200 times since it opened. Such a perfect little circle: Not only does schlepping (Connecticut-based?) advertising clients to the Waverly put them in close proximity to stars, it also ensures that Condé Nast's hefty entertainment budget flows right back into Carter's pocket. And think of how much easier that will be when he opens up a second restaurant in Midtown and no one needs to travel downtown for lunch.