Name-dropping to get a coveted table at a popular restaurant isn’t uncommon. But name-dropping a famous chef’s famous restaurant to get a table…for an even more famous musician? That’s a little bit bizarre. Yet that’s exactly what appears to have happened at chef and owner Pim Techamuanvivit’s Japantown restaurant Nari before musician Kayne West came in for dinner.
According to reporting from the Chronicle, someone called the upscale Thai restaurant asking for a last-minute reservation for “a table of Noma people” — Noma being the award-winning Denmark restaurant that recently released a line of vegetarian and vegan garums. When the party arrived, chef and Noma owner René Redzepi (or anyone affiliated with the restaurant) were nowhere to be found. Instead, a server realized West and his entourage had settled into the restaurant’s semi-private dining room.
Ironically, Techamuanvivit told the Chronicle the not-very-elaborate ruse was totally unnecessary, as she would have been both willing and able to accommodate the group if they had called and named dropped the world-famous musician’s own name. But that doesn’t mean she let West and his group off the hook for the stunt.
“I did go to the table and asked, so which one of you worked for my friend Rene? Oh yes I did,” Techamuanvivit tweeted on Thursday afternoon.
I did go to the table and asked, so which one of you worked for my friend Rene? Oh yes I did.
— Pim Techamuanvivit (@chezpim) July 1, 2021
A woman at the table simply replied “He’s not here,” she told the Chron.
The group was polite, undemanding, and enjoyed the food, according to Techamuanvivit. They ate som tum mamuang (spicy mango salad with cashews), gaeng rawang muan (roulade of chicken in green curry) and gaeng kua pla (black cod with curry), the owner also said.
With Nari being one of San Francisco’s most high-profile restaurants, it’s not like the staff is unaccustomed to seeing celebrities in the dining room. Still, some were “very, very fangirl-excited” to see West, while others were disappointed to not see Redzepi, Techamuanvivit said. And while it may never make total sense to most of us why one of the world’s most famous musicians (or someone on his behalf) would need to name-drop someone else in an attempt to get preferential treatment, maybe the mystery caller was just excited they didn’t have to eat McDonald’s for dinner.