Keith McNally—proprietor of media commissary Balthazar—also owns New York's restaurant of the moment, Minetta Tavern. It's an elusive reservation, because the place is packed with celebrities. But what happens when Gawker Alumnus Jesse Oxfeld tries to get in?
Well! Oxfeld's attempt to break through the threshold from the mere peasantry of a walk-in right to a prime time table was chronicled by Eater:
I feel Oxfeld's pain, as someone who has both been through the intense process of trying to get a goddamn steak and as someone who used to take reservations for Keith McNally's restaurants. Full disclosure!
Without revealing any of the top secret, Pandora's Box-esque Black Voodoo BloodMagik that goes into getting a table at one of his places, know that it can be done. But Oxfeld, who—Mazel Tov!—was recently named the new theater critic at the New York Observer, wasn't getting one. And he wasn't about to take that shit lying down, or past 10PM.
It sounds like he tried to get a reservation exchanged, and was a little too aggro in dealing with the reservationist on the other line. Note to all New York Diners: be nice to your reservationists. Otherwise, you might end up getting it blogged, and the owner of the restaurant will consequently call you out for being an asshole. Like this:
I just investigated the Jesse Oxfeld claim and discovered that most of what he said is quite true. However, according to Hannan, the reservationist who took his call, Mr. Oxfeld was so pushy and aggressive on the telephone that she took it upon herself to distort the reservation policy to ensure that someone as unpleasant-sounding as Mr. Oxfeld would not be eating at Minetta Tavern.
I'm personally so upset not to have someone as unpleasant and aggressive on the telephone not eat at Minetta Tavern that I'd like to now take this opportunity to offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies to Mr Oxfeld.
Zing! For those of you outside New York who are still wondering what the everloving fuck is so important or amazing to deal with the trouble of getting a reservation at a place like Minetta, well, departed New York Times dining critic Frank Bruni, in a review noting Minetta as "the best steakhouse in the city," also wrote:
Where Mr. McNally goes, models, movie honchos and magazine scribes follow, because they're sure to find themselves among other members of their slavishly fashionable tribe, coddled in an environment that's as much stage set as mess hall.
Also, the french fries are cooked in Lorenzo's Oil and the salads are topped with Weapons-Grade plutonium flakes: it's the new Foie Gras. Mind you, this is a city that will wait for hours for a goddamn hamburger, rain or shine.
New York, New York. It's a hell of a town. If you need any further explanation, this should help.