Young and Hungry

Marcel’s Maitre d’s Questionable Seating Practices

In its latest installment of The Gatekeepers, which features "the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some your favorite impossible-to-get tables," Eater interviews Marcel's maitre d' of the past 13 years, Adnane Kebaier. And, man, what an interview.

Among the revelations, Kebaier says he won't sit two African Americans or two Chinese people next to each other:

It's very hard for me to keep the balance in the dining room.

How so?

Just look at the dining room. For example, you cannot have two African-American next to each other. Or two Chinese or Japanese next to each other. It kind of looks like a different section just for this race. I have to split them around and it depends. If someone for example wears a nice suit with a nice watch, nice lady, I'm not going to sit with him a guy wearing just a khaki and a shirt. You have to have the balance in the dining room.

Also, Kebaier will take your bribes:

Has anyone ever tried to slip you money or give you gifts?
Oh yeah. Of course.

Does that ever work?
It works all of the time. I'll make it happen.

Oh yeah? So you accept the money or gifts?
Yeah, of course. You can't turn those away. That's your job. That's how you get paid sometimes, with tips.

Check out the full interview here.

  • Traveler

    Cruise ships, however, are the opposite. In the dining rooms they create pockets of ethnicity, They believe cultural similarity breeds a better experience. I have had to request, and at times demand, not to be seated with persons who look like me.

  • thatshitcray

    This guy seems like a real peach. Next time someone with a reservation is told their table is not ready and they can wait at the bar they should kick this guy in the nuts.

  • JJ

    Even if true why would you say anything about this to the press?
    This plus the $10,000 tip tweet that Marcels issued a few weeks make them look terrible.

    I hope Chef Robert Wiedmaier gets a better PR firm to handle these kind of matters from now on.

    It is hard to watch a successful business shoot themselves in the foot with such bad judgment and tact

  • Correction

    In other news, the sky is blue.

    Also, "Marcel's" did not send the tip tweet; it was one of their staff, just so you know.

    And I really don't think they are shooting themselves anywhere. Despite the fact that most up-upscale restaurants have struggled mightily over the last several years, Marcel's chugs right along, so I don't think you need to worry about them.

  • Cherrypicking

    Maybe you should read the linked interview before commenting, since he discusses both of those things.

  • notgoingthere!

    I, for one, won't be dining at Marcel's. Maybe it happens everywhere. But I won't go somewhere knowing with certainty that how I'm treated and where I'm seated will depend on how well I dress, how good I look, and what race/ethnicity I am.