M. Wells Restaurant in Long Island City

M. Wells restaurant in Long Island City interior looks like a typical diner with 50's style decor and metal framed glass windows

File under: the dinner we're most excited about eating in October. When the diner-looking-but-not-diner-tasting M. Wells opened in Long Island City early this summer, anyone who's ever been to Montreal's legendary restaurant Au Pied de Cochin–and we are fortunate enough to include ourselves in that crowd–immediately booked tickets on the 7 train. But M. Wells owners Hugue Dufour (formerly of the aforementioned Au Pied de Cochin) and Sarah Obraitis (currently still of the family-farm collective Heritage Foods USA), have gone slowly, starting with breakfast in June, lunch in July, dinner in… well, we've heard late September, fingers crossed, as they wait for their liquor license. But we couldn't wait, and so on consecutive Fridays recently we headed out to the LIC to see what the Quebecois/Queens crew have been up to. Consider us blown away by the hearty, meaty, full-flavored deliciousness. 

 Hugue DuFour and Sarah Obraitis serve up a plate of mushroom bread pudding topped with foie fras and drizzled with warm blueberry reduction sauce

The M. Wells menu right now is evolving and a bit of a mishmash between breakfasty foods and dinner-type dishes, both because the kitchen is committed to market-driven ingredients, and so they change it up from day to day, depending on availability, but also, it seems, because they are having a blast back there experimenting with things. We've had six items from the M. Wells menu, with five winners, including a pair of true superstars. These people know how to cook, and they know how to enjoy food. On our first visit we started with an excellent Egg Sausage Sandwich on a crispy, over-sized English muffin, dripping with homemade mayo, gooey with melted cheddar, on fire with pickled jalapeno, the meat and eggs standing up nicely to all the above. We can't imagine eating this first thing in the morning, but for lunch, why not. We also "splurged" on the M. Wells menu's highest-priced item, a delightfully chewy and funky Mushroom Bread Pudding topped with a generous slab of luscious Foie Gras, drizzled with a warm blueberry reduction. Like most everything here at M. Wells, both of these dishes were rich, intense, and immensely satisfying, and a total bargain at $8 and $16, respectively.    

M. Wells in LIC oversized english muffin with mayo, cheddar on top of pickled jalapeno meat and eggs.

On our next visit, it was more of the same amazingness: a special appetizer of Escargot and Marrow was perfect, the four fat snails buttery soft and more than matching up to the beefy marrow. This dish, like most things here, reminded us why we loved Au Pied de Cochin: these are chefs confident in their conceptions, cooking their food with skill and care, and allowing each ingredient to taste as it should; to stand on its own merits. Take the M. Wells Pate Chinois, or Shepherd's Pie, as another example. There was nothing terribly flashy here–and, frankly, maybe it could have used a little of that pickled jalapeno–but the short rib was tender and plentiful, the potatoes fluffy and flavorful, the corn fresh and sweet. The only miss so far on the M. Wells menu was the Maple Syrup Ploye, a plate of not-quite-pancakes which were too gummy to warrant more than a few bites, especially when there were so many better things to eat on the table.     

M. Wells in Queens plate of escargot and marrow topped with buttery herbs and a side of toasts.

M. Wells Details 

M. Wells restaurant is located at 21-17 49th Avenue in Long Island City, which maybe sounds far away, but is actually just half a block from the Hunter's Point station on the 7 line, two stops from midtown Manhattan. The decor is hipster diner, and the block is about as unlovely as can be, but the kitchen more than makes up for any atmospheric shortcomings. The hours now are Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., but they're adding a weekend brunch soon, as well as the promised dinner service. Check the M. Wells website for any changes

M.. Wells restaurant exterior looks like a typical diner from the outside in Long Island City

M. Wells on Urbanspoon

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