Famous NYC Steakhouse Sues Yelp Over Phony Review Claiming Waiters Spit On The Food

The steakhouse where mobster Paul Castellano was gunned down has asked a judge to direct Yelp to identify the individual who posted a review claiming to be an employee who spits on food at the Manhattan restaurant.

In a New York State Supreme Court filing, Sparks Steak House seeks a judicial order compelling the online review site to turn over details about the user who, in a mid-July post, wrote that, “I have personally spit my own saliva into dishes.” The reviewer added, “Our manager actually condones it to guests who give us attitudes. Just double check your food next time you eat here.”

The review was purportedly posted by “Besfort Shala.” According to the September 8 court filing, a man by that name recently interviewed for a waiter’s job at the East 46th Street eatery. When informed that his name was attached to the Yelp review, Shala--who was not hired by Sparks--filed a police report. The 23-year-old Bronx resident told cops that an imposter had posted the Sparks review in his name.

The “malicious and defamatory” Sparks review has been removed from Yelp and the related “Besfort S.” user account appears to have been deactivated, according to the restaurant’s court petition.

Sparks is one of New York City’s top-ranked--and most expensive--steakhouses. It was also the site of the December 1985 rubout of Mafia boss Paul Castellano, who was whacked in front of the midtown eatery. The murder of Castellano and Gambino underboss Thomas Bilotti was the brainchild of John Gotti, who succeeded Castellano atop the Gambino gang. Gotti, who was subsequently convicted of orchestrating the hit, died in prison in 2002.