9:01 AM PT -- McNally just expanded what he told us, and also upped the ante, saying Corden can eat at Balthazar for free for the next TEN years if he apologizes. He writes, "STORM IN A RESTAURANT TEACUP. I’ve no wish to kick a man when he’s down. Especially one who’s worth $100 Million, but when James Corden said in yesterday’s NY Times that he hadn’t done “anything wrong, on any level,” was he joking? Or was he denying being abusive to my servers? Whatever Corden meant, his implication was clear: he didn’t do it."
He continues, "Although I didn’t witness the incident, lots of my restaurant’s floor staff did. They had nothing to gain by lying. Corden did. I wish James Corden would live up to his Almighty initials and come clean. If the supremely talented actor wants to retrieve the respect he had from all his fans (all 4 of them) before this incident, then he should at least admit he did wrong. If he goes one step further and apologizes to the 2 servers he insulted, I’ll let him eat for free at Balthazar for the next 10 years."
6:37 AM PT -- The story just got even more bizarre. Balthazar owner Keith McNally just told TMZ ... "I have no wish to kick a man when he's down, but I believe the best way for James Corden to retrieve some of the vast respect the public had for him before this incident is to own up to it and apologize to the young servers he abused. If he's big enough to do that, he can eat free at Balthazar for the rest of the year." Somehow we're thinkin' this isn't going to go over well with the wait staff.
James Corden has retracted the apology he made to an NYC restaurant owner earlier this week ... 'cause he's now saying he did nothing wrong.
'The Late, Late Show' host sat down with the New York Times Thursday and called allegations "silly" ... he acted like a "Cretin" by twice going nuts at Balthazar brasserie in Soho.
"I haven't done anything wrong, on any level. So why would I ever cancel this," Corden told an NYT reporter, referring to their interview after his embarrassing restaurant flap.
Corden goes on ... "I was there. I get it. I feel so Zen about the whole thing. Because I think it's so silly. I just think it's beneath all of us. It's beneath you. It's certainly beneath your publication."
At another point during the interview ... Corden peered over to a customer complaining about her meal in the swanky Mark Restaurant.
"Happens every day," Corden told the reporter. "It's happening in 55,000 restaurants as we speak. It's always about eggs."
Then he got serious ... "Can you imagine now, if we just blasted her on Twitter? Would that be fair? This is my point. It’s insane.”
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As we reported ... Corden came under fire Monday after Balthazar owner Keith McNallyblasted the funnyman on IG for twice acting like a "tiny Cretin of a man." McNally banned Corden from his restaurant, dubbing the TV host "the most abusive customer" ever. That prompted Corden to call McNally and apologize profusely. As a result, McNally lifted the ban.