M. Wells does it good

M. Wells Diner
21-17 49th Avenue
Long Island City, NY
Open for brunch, 10a-4pm Tuesday through Sunday and for dinner, 6p-10pm, Tues-Thurs only. Closed Monday.
Accepts major credits

I don’t know anyone who lives in Long Island City, but apparently, it’s become another slightly cheaper destination to live outside of Manhattan. LIC is one stop from Grand Central off the 7 train. The second stop is Hunters Point, where within steps of exiting, you will land at M. Wells Diner.

M. Wells Diner is owned by husband and wife team, Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis. The diner car has a classic feel with an open kitchen and a long counter. M. Wells opened its doors in July of 2010, initially only serving breakfast/lunch or what they call “brunch.” A few weeks ago, M. Wells started dinner service on Tuesday through Thursday. The menu is not what you’d find at your traditional NY or NJ greasy spoon diner. Instead, here at M. Wells you can look forward to creative, intelligent, delicious comfort food kicked up about 5 notches above your expectations. Signature favorites include the Egg Sausage Sandwich with cheddar, picked jalapenos, and tomato on an English Muffin, Beef Tartar with a poached egg & greens, and their (plain) cake donuts. You can also indulge in adventurous delicacies such as pickled pork tongue, a seafood cobbler, a 5 star special of the day and an excellent cup of freshly brewed Oslo (beans) Coffee, which will only run you a buck fifty!

I paid my second visit to M. Wells last weekend. We arrived after 3pm, in hopes of sitting down right away. Much to our surprise, there was a line out the door, but everyone ended up being seated within 15 minutes… yes, communal seating at large wooden tables can totally rock. We shared a table with an entourage we believed to be Russian, who spoke their own language throughout their meal. They ordered an assortment of food which included caviar with crepes, Cubano and head cheese sandwiches, red wine and lots of… vodka (but of course!) It was refreshing not to be sitting next to the typical whining starving actor or musician. In fact, most of the eaters at this late hour consisted of families of different ethnicities as well as older couples. I also loved how the front of house manager served and checked in on us regularly.

We began with the house made biscuit which was light, flaky and moist. The apple butter accompaniment added the perfect amount of sweetness. For our first starter, we had the Escargot and Bone Marrow, topped off with shallots and sauteed with a red wine puree. Spread some of this creamy goodness on a few toast points and you are a satisfied customer. Next up was the highly anticipated giant Beef & Lamb Burger, I’d been reading about. The well-seasoned medium rare burger was oozing with juiciness on a brioche bun with grilled onions and… New Jersey Ketchup. What I want to know and still don’t, is how do you define New Jersey Ketchup? Hungry for more, because I want to try everything… we ordered the Bacon Hash, which came dressed with a poached egg and brussels sprouts. The bacon was more like a tender piece of pork belly with minimal fat. There was some sort of hash brown or latke underneath this mountain of goodness that made the dish even more delicious. Remember, you can never go wrong with bacon, pork belly or fat. This dish was definitely my favorite of the entire meal. Nothing we ordered was over $10, and the service was impeccable. If I lived in LIC or off the 7 train, I’d probably come here every day until I’ve tasted everything on the brunch (and dinner) menu!

“All is well at M. Wells.”

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