Ask a Waiter

Balthazar’s Nathan Frye Serves Matthew Barney Dramatic Desserts

“I’ve met quite a few casting people through this.”Photo: Melissa Hom
Every week we ask a server for tips on, and stories from, his restaurant.

Nathan Frye
80 Spring St., between Broadway and Crosby St.; 212-965-1414

Are you a professional waiter?
I’ve waited at Balthazar for over eight years. I’m also an actor. I’ve met quite a few casting people through this — they’ll ask if I’m an actor or model.

Do any famous people know you?
Björk comes in a lot. She gets the brook trout and salad niçoise. Matthew Barney once got the steak au poivre and some kind of dramatic dessert.

What’s the strangest prep note for serving a celebrity that you’ve gotten?
One New Year’s Eve about two years back, Clay Aiken made a reservation. I was given instructions that he had about twelve allergies. I ran down the list and let him know what he could and couldn’t have.

How do you nudge people out when they’ve stayed too long?
We’re a pool house, so it’s not going to affect my pocket if a table stays an hour longer. There was once a group who had been in the restaurant since before 4 p.m. and stayed until well after midnight. Obviously they weren’t drinking too heavily.

Does the bar scene ever get rowdy?
Someone once tried to sneak off with a cookbook, so we had to chase after them.

Have they filmed movies there?
They filmed a scene in Hitch. They actually closed the restaurant for lunch. I remember being disappointed that they weren’t going to use the staff.

Ironic, since most of them are actors.
[Laughs] Exactly.

Daniel Maurer

Balthazar’s Nathan Frye Serves Matthew Barney Dramatic Desserts