Balthazar, a storied haunt for New York celebrities and power players, briefly banned comedian James Corden after he berated employees on multiple occasions, the restaurant’s owner said, calling him a “tiny Cretin of a man” and “the most abusive customer” in Balthazar’s history.
Keith McNally, the owner of Balthazar and other popular New York City restaurants, said in an Instagram post on Monday that he did not often “86” a customer - meaning banning or refusing service to someone - but that Corden had earned it after two incidents when he mistreated workers at the French restaurant.
In June, McNally said, Corden demanded that a round of drinks come “this second” and that his previous drinks be comped because he had found a hair in his food - after finishing his main course. Corden was “extremely nasty” to the manager, McNally said.
On another occasion this month, Corden came to the restaurant with his wife for brunch and complained to their server that there was “a little bit of egg white” in her egg yolk omelet, McNally said. The dish was remade but sent out with the wrong side - home fries instead of a salad - which was apparently the last straw for Corden.
“You can’t do your job! You can’t do your job!” Corden said to the server, according to McNally, citing a manager’s report from the incident. “Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelet myself!” When Corden erupted at the server, free glasses of champagne were brought over “to smooth things out.” The episode left the server “very shaken.”
A representative for Corden did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A manager at Balthazar declined to comment when reached by phone late Monday evening.
McNally’s ban on Corden was not the first time he had taken to Instagram to bar a customer from one of his restaurants. Last year, he publicly banned magazine editor Graydon Carter from Morandi, an Italian restaurant in New York City, after he said Carter didn’t show for a 12-person reservation. (McNally said at the time that he had brought in extra workers to ensure that the lunch went “perfectly for him,” and that Carter had reneged on reservations on other occasions at his restaurants, including Balthazar.)
McNally has a reputation for being provocative, at least in his Instagram posts and defenses of controversial celebrities; he has defended Woody Allen, whose daughter Dylan accused him of sexual abuse. Amid backlash over that, and an incident in which he told a woman on Instagram that she looked like a “hooker,” McNally told the Daily Beast that despite being a Democrat, “I hate cancel culture and political correctness.”
But late Monday evening, McNally said he was reversing the ban on Corden after the comedian called to apologize. McNally said he “apologized profusely.”
“I strongly believe in second chances,” McNally said. He added that “anyone magnanimous enough to apologize” to him and his staff “doesn’t deserve to be banned from anywhere.”
Corden, who gained widespread notoriety for his “Carpool Karaoke” segments, is set to depart from his role as host of “The Late Late Show” by summer 2023, he announced in April.