Almost two years after the Waverly Inn opened, the Times finally reveals to the world that it’s the city’s exclusive A-list hot spot. In case you didn’t know, the menu is still marked “preview” (“We’re still trying to work the bugs out,” Graydon Carter winks), and those who don’t have an in with Carter still have to walk in at the most three days in advance and settle for a table before 6:30 p.m. or after 11:15 p.m. or on weekends in the summer. We won’t join the (behind the)Times in rehashing the dramatics of Siberia — but let’s get to the name-dropping, shall we?
• “Regulars include Mr. Carter’s four grown children; Ronald O. Perelman, the billionaire; the Waverly’s landlord and his children; Barry Diller, the media mogul; two dozen neighbors who live within a radius of two blocks; Robert De Niro and Gwyneth Paltrow, the actors; Mr. Carter’s next-door neighbors, the fashion designers Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, often together; and a sprinkling of writers and editors from the Condé Nast empire.”
• “The film producer Harvey Weinstein, for example, lives nearby and, according to Mr. Varda, frequently arrives for dinner without calling ahead to reserve.”
• Carter says he shuns “any stars of reality TV and hedge fund managers. For that reason, we screen calls from the 203 area code.” Um, is that why Bret Michaels dined there?
• Maître d’ Emil Varda says he doesn’t invite back “B-list stars who call the paparazzi from inside the restaurant.”
• Even this crowd is feeling the recession: “Instead of paying $4,000 for a bottle of wine, people are paying $500.”
Meanwhile, despite the fact that John DeLucie is publishing a memoir, he is mentioned only in passing, as an excuse for more name-dropping: “The chef, John DeLucie, does have some more modern offerings, like quinoa risotto with green curry sauce. Mr. Varda says this was added at the request of the rap impresario Russell Simmons, another regular customer and a vegan. The food is beside the point.” Ya don’t say?