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Balthazar boss claims mice were unleashed in kitchen

Keith McNally, the firebrand restaurateur behind Balthazar, has suggested that his New York City restaurant was targeted by a release of rodents.

McNally posted on Instagram his account of the incident: “At 8:30pm last Thursday a man of about 35 sat at Balthazar’s bar, released 6 domesticated white mice from a paper bag, and ran out of the restaurant. One of my bartenders immediately chased after the man. The domesticated mice were quickly caught. The man and the entire incident – including the white mice – was clearly seen on Balthazar’s security cameras.”

“Within 10 minutes of the mice being released into the bar area a woman called Michelle Manning Barish posted a blurry photo of a white mouse with this caption: ‘Rats in the dining room at Balthazar NYC tonight…can’t imagine what the kitchen is like. Absolutely revolting.’ Michelle Manning Barish also wrote this comment: ‘And the owner is vocally antisemitic, a defender of sexual predators, decided to cyber bully Lauren Sanchez and even creepy with me. Karma.”’

Lauren Sanchez is a US media personality.

The high-end New York restaurant offers French-inspired dishes, including a starter of escargots (US$26), or a foie gras terrine (US$30), and a main of steak frites (US$49).

McNally then speculated that the while incident was a “frame-up”.

“I wonder if Manning Barish orchestrated this vile stunt or was at least a party to it? Police are now investigating the incident.
The worst thing about this attempted frame-up in my eyes is the exploitation of the six domesticated white mice. I believe this attempt to have my restaurant closed by the health department is a result of an Instagram I posted a few days ago. (So much for Freedom of Speech.)”

The Instagram post McNally referred to was a series of pictures of Sanchez with her partner, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, with the caption: “What a bizarre-looking couple. Is this what having 1000 billion dollars does to people?” The post received some backlash from commenters, who suggested it was unwise for McNally to criticise peoples’ appearances.

This is by no means the first time that McNally has courted controversy on social media – last year he sparked debate when she suggested that British people were the worst tippers. He also hit the headlines earlier when he banned TV host James Corden from his restaurant.

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