In this solo dining adventure, Gary and friends finally find the time to have lunch at weekday breakfast/lunch-only M. Wells.
Note: This visit took place back in August.
One of my first assignments at Eater was to sift through and compile the reviews of M. Wells, a Quebecois diner in Long Island City, for their Good News/Bad News column. It was a place I’d head of when it was first announced it was opening but had done a poor job of checking up on it afterwards. All I knew was that the guy running it used to be a chef at Montreal’s infamous Au Pied de Cochon. Really, just knowing that alone was enough for me to put it on my radar. After spending a day reading review upon review of the diner, I knew that I’d have to make my trip there sooner rather than later.
As it’s currently open only on weekdays from 7 am to 3 pm, it took some time before Won and Cindy, my designated LIC dining companions, could find the time to join me for lunch at M. Wells. Finally, on a warm Friday afternoon, we were able to meet up and have a nice leisurely lunch at a place the three of us had been looking forward to trying for quite some time (okay, barely two months). It wasn’t too busy when we got there so we were able to snag some seats in the rather tiny, retro-looking diner. After cursing the crossing-out of the chicken fried chicken skins on the menu (so sad), we went on with ordering our meal, sans glorious chicken skins.
I had the blood sausage hash, a heavenly (in my mind, anyway) combination of chunks of blood sausage, potatoes, apple mustard, crispy shallots, and herbs. The blood sausage here is truly wonderful with a slight snap from the casing when you bite into it but then the soft filling rushes out with all its iron-y goodness. Potatoes were browned to a nice crustiness and those crispy shallots added a really nice bite. The apple mustard, though, is a bit mislabeled as it’s rather more like an applesauce and mustard, each a separate component of the dish – wonderful components, but still separate.
I did mention it was hot outside, right? What better way to cool off than with some vanilla frozen custard on top of a beautiful slice of strawberry pie? That’s exactly what I was thinking when I ordered their strawberry pie à la mode. The strawberry filling was a beautiful, ripe red and had that juiciness you only get with perfect seasonal selection. The custard here is good and plays really nicely with the pie filling to create a lovely strawberries and cream sensation.
While I think M. Wells is already a great place, I get the feeling that things can only get better once they’re open for weekend brunch and daily dinner service. It seems like they’re still working to get everything right – most noticeably was the moderately long wait between ordering and actually getting our food (not terribly long but definitely long enough that this won’t be a very good work lunch hour option. There’s nothing especially truly Quebecois on the menu right now (though I did notice that foie gras had been on the menu at one point) but I’m holding out hope that things like rabbit and frogs will show up when they start dinner service. Until then, though, I’m content to rip through their constantly evolving breakfast and lunch menu.