Keith McNally Reveals Secret to Success, Did Not Invent the Cosmopolitan

keith mcnally pmc 300x300 Keith McNally Reveals Secret to Success, Did Not Invent the CosmopolitanKeith McNally is the famed New York City restauranteur behind Pastis, Schiller’s, Bright Lights Big City locale The Odeon, Minetta Tavern, and of course, Balthazar (which just today recieved a James Beard nomination), to name a few. They are restaurants as much as they are scenes (figuratively, as they’re stacked with celebrities, or literally, as they’re occasionally television backdrops). Tellingly, Keith McNally’s interview responses couldn’t be better if they were scripted by a brilliant writer (which they basically have been), if not moreso. Take, for example, like the one posted to the site of Bon Appetit today, with news of McNally’s forthcoming first London restaurant.

In the interview, McNally discusses news of his forthcoming restaurant in London—his first abroad—as well as why he doesn’t like celebrity chefs in his restaurants (“Vain, temperamental, self-regarding, lazy, and arrogant beyond. As are celebrities in general.”) and his adamant denial at the claim that he invented the Cosmopolitain (“Nothing could be closer to the truth.”). But best is formula for success, not when he answers for it as:

A mixture of luck, working with the right people, and insatiable greed.

But when he replies:

We always look forward to seeing your beautifully designed bathrooms. What inspired you to put as much thought into the loo as into the loup de mer?
KM: That’s an unkind remark. I put far more thought into my bathrooms than into my loup de mer.

And that’s how you achieve Keith McNally-like success in New York. Great quotes, great cans, relentless greed, and a sadomasochistic relationship with celebrities. Also, details. God is the details. And in this case, can be found in the bathroom at Balthazar. The loup de mer, not so much.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek