M. Wells, the much-hyped, long-lined and about to close (for now) Long Island City destination restaurant has many fans. Like the Times' Sam Sifton: He not only gave it two stars, he just wrote a glowing piece on one of the restaurant's farewell dinners. But at least one critic is over the place. In the September issue of GQ Alan Richman tells how one unpleasant dinner (and an accusation of sexual harassment) soured him on the spot.
Richman wasn't always down on M. Wells. His first two meals there were good enough that he wanted to do a piece on the place's proprietors. But first he came by for one last dinner and, well, things did not go well. First Richman and his friends were abandoned by a waiter for more than 45 minutes with dirty dishes. By the time they finally got service, the critic's companions were rowdy, loud and probably more than a little obnoxious. But the food came, the blue-cheese salad was good and the banana-cream pie was "textbook perfect. That's the pie I want smashed in my face when I play for the Yankees and hit a walk-off home run." Also, "nothing else of significance happened during that dinner." Or so he thought!
The next day Richman got an e-mail from Wells co-owner Sarah Obraitis (who, he says, "runs the front of the house with considerable charm and little attention to detail") that relayed a disturbing story. According to Obraitis, one of the Richman's servers the night before had complained of receiving "a hardy pat on the ass." A claim which Richman and his fellow diners vigorously deny. Nevertheless, M. Wells's owners were no longer interested in doing an interview with Richman (nor he with them).
So instead of an interview... Richman turned his column into a discussion of honor and arrogance in the restaurant industry. The gist of it though? Alan Richman will not be eating at M. Wells again, wherever the hotspot reopens. And though they haven't gotten back to us with a comment, we suspect he wouldn't exactly be welcome if he tried.