Meet Daniel "Maimon" Kirschenbaum, Esq. He's only 29—he graduated law school in 2005—but it's safe to say that if the James Beard Foundation gave out an award to the biggest thorn in the side of New York-area restaurateurs, he'd rank up there with inspectors from the Department of Health and ungenerous restaurant critics. Kirschenbaum is a partner at a firm called Joseph & Herzfeld and the go-to man for servers and other restaurant employees when they take on their bosses for skimming tips or firing them without cause. Thanks to word of mouth (and well-placed ads on certain websites), Kirshenbaum has been obscenely prolific in the past couple of years. Just a few of his targets: Heartland Brewery, Nobu, Jean Georges, B.B. King, Bouley, BondSt, Balthazar, One Little W 12, Abigail Kirsch, BLT Steak, BLT Prime, BLT Fish, and 40/40.
His latest legal assault was focused on 1OAK, the club controlled by Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano. (His client claims that the club fired her because management only wanted "white girls" serving the clientele.) So is he an ambulance chaser seeking big payouts from restaurants who will settle quickly to prevent bad press? Or a noble defender of downtrodden New Yorkers who are routinely taken advantage of? You decide!
We'll note, though, that Kirschenbaum doesn't have to deal with the one big drawback to this sort of work. An Orthodox Jew who keeps strictly kosher and lives in Brooklyn, we're guessing that blacklisting him from every trendy restaurant in town won't put him out all that much.