Today, the New York City hospitality world is in mourning the loss of one of its most venerable members, which shuffled off its
mortal reflective coil during breakfast service this morning.
The Mirror at Balthazar—you know the one: the big one on the wall on the southeast side of the restaurant, that sat over the short-row banquette—is gone and dead, after what appears to be a kamikaze attempt at full-on murder-suicide. No one knows what sent the oversized looking-glass over the edge, though those close to The Mirror say that it had become increasingly upset with what it saw as the “slow, painful decline of New York glamor.” (Some say Taylor Swift was on hand to witness its tragic demise, but those rumors have since been debunked.)
Following years of hard work tying the room together, The Mirror leaped from its perch, barely managing to injure a few innocent diners with the shards of its broken spirit in the process. It leaves behind it a decades-long legacy of reflecting the vain, lifeless gazes of Balth regulars as they feigned interest in eating their Salade Niçoise, or attempted (unsuccessfully) to disembowel a soft-boiled egg as they held court at some semi-professional pow-wow. And that’s to say nothing of its daily plight of enduring the stares of mouth-breathing tourists from flyover states, whose only dream was to spot Anna Wintour in The Mirror’s facade as they gnawed proudly on their “Steak Frights,” always at 5:30 or 10:30pm (never after, never before).
The Mirror, which hung proudly over Balthazar since the restaurant’s inception, has led a long and troubled life. As a young mirror, it proudly gazed upon the manse of an unnamed British Viceroy’s secret Moroccan harem room. When the Viceroy passed, the Balthazar Mirror (an Anglicized corruption of its birth name, Biqfuqine Mirror) was sold at auction into the indentured servitude of Keith McNally, who ferried the mirror back to New York, with vague assurances that it would be a “star.” Little did it know what lay in store: Soon, it was living a flashy life, spending its evenings reflecting the image of celebrities mumbling into Malpeque oysters. This was for a good length of its career, prior to the time when mere mortals (“walk-ins”) were allowed in its grand presence.
The breaking point (before the breaking point) may have come a little under a month ago, when the Power Lunch was summarily ruled “out” by the New York Times Styles Section. Sources close to The Mirror say that it struggled to come to terms with this slight from a long-time friend and supporter, though it was well known that it held little regard for the critics of the paper’s Dining section, who never paid it enough attention, and whose oversized engorged asses it went out of its way to reflect popping out of the creases of the restaurant’s undersized wooden marais chairs.
Many long-time admirers have already expressed their condolences to Balthazar for its loss. “That mirror actually inspired my latest collection,” said Victoria Beckham, calling from the Balthazar in London. “What I saw in there was just so beautiful.”
As the hashtag #RIPBalthaMirror trends Spring Street-wide, no word has come yet on whether or not The Mirror will be replaced by another of its kind, or whether the wall shall remain blank in a stark tribute to the legacy it once held. It shall be missed, but never forgotten.