Think of it as the next level of "I'm going to give you a bad review on Yelp": A couple of unhappy customers threw a temper tantrum when they couldn't get the table they wanted at WD-50 in New York, and in their frustration tried to get their way by claiming they were with Michelin. Naturally it didn't work, but it apparently caused enough of a headache for Michelin that the famed travel guide felt it had to apologize publicly on Twitter.
It was one of those unfortunate things that just happens in restaurants from time to time. The pair of customers, two men, had called in a reservation four days before their dinner on Sunday, Feb. 19, and were told the only table available was in the bar, Wylie Dufresne, chef-owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant, told The Atlantic Wire. When they arrived to dine, they said they didn't want to sit in the bar and were offered the chef's table in the kitchen, instead -- generally a sought-after seat. But the pair wasn't happy, and stormed out, claiming on their way that they worked for Michelin.
"In the course of nine years I'm not going to say that was the first time someone was unhappy with their options, but it's the first time someone's invoked Michelin as in, 'too bad you don't have a better table for us, we're with Michelin,' " Dufresne said. It's still unclear what the men's beef was with their seating option. "I was right nearby when it happened. The only word I heard from one of the gentlemen was 'disappointed,' " Dufresne said. The men didn't eat or drink anything, so it's unlikely they were running some kind of scam. They were just really picky customers, apparently.
Feeling the appropriate course of action was to alert Michelin that someone claiming to be from the guide had stormed out of his restaurant, Dufresne did so, and on Monday the Twitter account @MichelinGuideNY sent out this cryptic message:
But if you're as curious as we are to know what that reservation name was—and what kind of Family Guy joke it involved—you won't find satisfaction here. Dufresne wouldn't give out the name, citing his customers' privacy, and a Michelin spokesman, Tony Fouladpour, said the same "famously anonymous" inspectors who write about its restaurants also manage the Twitter, and even he doesn't know who they are.
Of course, as Michelin's Twitter went on to point out, anybody claiming to be one of its inspectors would be lying, as their anonymity is one of their prized trademarks. But you don't have to be an inspector to represent Michelin at a restaurant. When Guide director Jean-Luc Naret dined at Momofuku Ko, it nearly gave chef David Chang a heart attack, he told the Moth last summer. So it's understandable that Dufresne would at least log a call to Michelin. But if actually saying you're with Michelin is a dead giveaway you're not, then throwing a tantrum really drives the point home. Especially over the chef's table near the kitchen, which real foodies tend to get so excited about they yell it on Chowhound in all caps.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.