It's a big day for the new-ish Queens diner M. Wells, which got included in Bon Appetit's 10 Best New Restaurants list, but also torn apart by GQ critic Alan Richman, who says he was unjustly accused of sexual harassment there. That's a lot to wake up to as a restaurant owner. It would seem like unfortunate timing that the newly lauded M. Wells plans to close at the end of this month for renovations, but perhaps the owners will be glad just to get a break from what will no doubt be a hellstorm of attention in the near future.
Richman starts his review by bemoaning the service at New York restaurants that are "tumbling into informality," before the foreboding statement, "My experience there was like no other. The motto is 'All's well at M. Wells.' I assure you it is not." He describes two decent-sounding meals followed by a third that sounds like a disaster of inattentive service. Afterward, he says, owner Sarah Obraitis sent him an email that read, in part, "It seems we couldn't make you happy, several servers heard you complain and ask for more attention. One of those servers, a female, received a hardy pat on the ass from you."
Of course, Richman swears he did no such thing, and much of the rest of the column focuses on consulting his dining companions for evidence of such behavior (they find none), and reasons why the charge was made. Finally, Richman comes to the conclusion that Obraitis "made it all up in order to intimidate me, stop a restaurant critic from writing an unflattering review." Wow.