Russian Breakfast: a blini crêpes with hard-boiled eggs, smoked sturgeon, pickled vegetables, crème fraîche, and chive oil
Egg in Jelly: citrus fruit jelly, aspic, trout roe, chives, and topped with uni
Escargot and Bone Marrow Tart: marinated porcini, shallots, red wine purée
Chocolate chip cookie
As soon as I received the email from Sarah Obraitis, co-creator of M. Wells, inviting me to the opening of M. Wells Dinette "TONIGHT," I soberly told myself that that tin of baked beans, glaring at me from inside our office fridge, would just have to wait. This meal would require the emptiest of bellies and purest of palates. The original M. Wells shut down not long after I wrote about it, which is either a coincidence or a sign that I am New York’s most influential food writer and the crowds were overwhelming. You know what they say, once you have one foie gras and horse bologna grilled cheese sandwich you never go back, so I’ve spent the last year somewhat obsessively emailing Sarah, inquiring as to when the rumored reopening would be.
Sitting inside MoMA PS1, M. Wells has come back from the dead in the body of a school cafeteria but with the same soul. Vinyl booths have been exchanged for school desks and chairs (complete with cubby holes and bookracks) and written across a blackboard an updated menu awaits. Old class photos hanging on the walls and mess hall trays used as plates only further the theme. The food is anything but elementary: I indulged in some cured blue fish with gooseberries and huckleberries, salted cod with mashed potato, trout roe with aspic, and veal brain cooked in brown butter. Truth be told, I unknowingly ate the veal brain—I am one of those “eat first, ask questions later” people, rendering me a terrible vegetarian. Other delicious dishes include the Blanquette of clam, leek, carrot, and chanterelle and the Autumn Salad made with romano beans, smoked ham, kohlrubi, and green beans. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any more decadent, chocolate chip cookies and canelles trotted out of the open-plan kitchen (and swiftly into my bag). M. Wells Dinette will be open for extended hours during this weekend’s New York Art Book Fair so go check it out.
M. WELLS DINETTE
22-25 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY MAP