Alan Richman Hates M. Wells, Is Accused of Sexual Harassment
Alan Richman's M. Wells dinner probably didn't look as jovial as this.
"Never in my professional life has anyone in the restaurant business questioned my conduct. Not until I ate my third meal at M. Wells," is how GQ restaurant critic's fascinating article about the soon-to-shutter diner begins. And it only gets more scandalous from there!
Richman dines at the restaurant with some colleagues initially and has a good meal, so much so that he introduces himself to the restaurant owners and schedules a time for an interview. He then dines at the restaurant for a third time, but "what stands out is the heat and the long waits." And then comes the drama!
Richman receives an email from Sarah Obraitis, one of the restaurant's owners, which reads:
I am a bit distressed by the feedback I received after your visit last night. Either you had despicable service or you guys were in an awful mood. 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. Totally unacceptable in our world. I don't know what to think or how to proceed. But I must relay my worry.
Richman replies saying that it's 100 percent untrue and a lie, but includes the somewhat questionable line "I thought one of the men in my group was totally out of line with his mouth and his comments." If that's the case, why didn't he say something to his friend? Richman then posits that Obraitis made it all up in order to intimidate him and to stop having a restaurant critic from writing an unflattering review. Quel scandale, as the Quebecois would say, no?
In the end, nothing really gets resolved, though Richman concludes with several ruminations on the general decline in service in restaurants, which rings somewhat true. But the facts of the story remain still very much "he said, she said." But one truth that comes out of the story: It's unlikely that Richman will be dining at the new M. Wells.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to New York dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.