Daily Archives: January 1, 2018

Review: M. Wells Steakhouse (Queens, New York)


If you are looking for a neat culinary experience in a unique space that was once a mechanic shop – M. Wells Steakhouse will make you swoon right down to your woolly socks. I was whispered the name, M. Wells Steakhouse, by a waitress at Russ & Daughters in Manhattan a few years ago as the off the beaten path spot to check out. As luck would have it, I simply buried their name in a stack of receipts inside my Passport and forgot about it.
Upon my recent visit to Queens, New York in the Fall of 2017 – I pulled out that note and I promptly made a reservation at M. Wells Steakhouse as it was just a few blocks from where I always choose to stay In Queen’s.
M. Wells Steakhouse is tucked into a corner off a street surrounded immense windowed condos, little shops and people walking their dogs in the heart of Queens. You may miss it if you blink.

The space that greets you emanates warmth, a genuine care from staff, smiles and a rustic vibe that meets a sophisticated nod without the attitude is a perfect match for the solo traveller or a family gathering.
Etienne was my guide for the night. Also Canadian he was sure to provide me with the inside nod of what was indeed ‘good’ at M. Wells Steakhouse. The menu although not huge, does a wonderful job of speaking to what they do best and curated as such upon delivery.
I started off with a beautiful glass of La Pepie 2016 Muscadet. It was a perfect lure as I let go of the cold that was still sitting in my shoulders soaked in the November chill and let the warmth of the wine fill me up.
A delicious plate of fresh bread and butter quickly made its way in front of me. I was sat alone at the bar with a couple to the right of me indulging in their Pig’s Head entrée. I surveyed the small M. Wells Steakhouse space. Busy, intimate, dark but oozing a friendly ambiance. I quietly ate my bread and butter – fully content.

To start, I encourage you to dwell upon the Solomon Grundy. Think a potato waffle, pickled smelts, crème fraiche, roe and dill. It was fresh, delightful and Instagram worthy. Also, zesty and easy to digest with wine in tow. If you order any starter at M. Wells Steakhouse the Solomon Grundy has to be it.
The Chenas, 2016 wine from Christophe Pacalet followed. The layers of the wine versus food is a must. You may feel like a trifle dessert but the soothing element of the wine as it lacquers your stomach between bites is what makes a vacation meal or a night out meal great. Lean into it.
What followed was the Bone Marrow Escargots. Simply bone marrow escargots that were easily scooped onto the shell of a bone with a red wine jus. Light, exquisite and could be eaten on a Sunday afternoon at home in bed with a stack of novels on the go. This is what M. Wells Steakhouse does well – simple meals transformed into moments to dwell upon, have conversations about and to let one’s hard working body to rest in for a few hours on their watch.
The Pommes Alligot was the most eloquent mashed potato and cheese I have ever tasted. Not like your mother’s, not like your grandmother’s. If you are not a fan of mashed potatoes, the Pommes Alligot from M. Wells Steakhouse will convert you in a heartbeat. Ever so thankful to Etienne at M. Wells Steakhouse for encouraging me to give it a go. It was surely one of the many stars of the night.

The Venison T-Bone was the All Star Player of the night. Cooked supremely and accompanied by wild berries and brown butter – it had all the makings of a comfort meat that on a cold night in November could mend and replenish all the aches, pains and heart aches from the past year in one sitting. Pricey but worth every penny.
I relaxed with my Maple Pie dessert after a bit of a break from the sheer decadence of the main meal. The Maple Pie was a lovingly prepared bread pudding and not at all for the faint of heart. It is a worthy participant to leave room for after all the delicious protein from the main meal. Rich, oozing of a vintage childhood dessert – the Maple Pie will seal the deal. You will be having a restful sleep that night with this guy in your belly.
A space that is great for a tourist visit but also frequented by locals. When I was enjoying my meal, I observed many a young couple with their little ones, families and even single folk milling about having a drink, nice conversation over warm and inviting food. Be sure to dress comfortably and be ready to eat when you arrive for your seating is my best suggestion. You will be taken care of.
In the winter season, M. Wells Steakhouse will be a wonderful place to beat the snowy blues . Treat yourself to a few meals that are simply staged, uncomplicated and will indeed provide for an enriching experience. The conversations with friends and loved ones will be brighter and I guarantee you will feel restored.
Make a reservation at M. Wells Steakhouse before you leave town for New York or better yet make it a standing reservation once a month with friends and family. Starting off the New Year on the right foot with good food from M. Wells Steakhouse whilst celebrating your health, happiness and joy will serve you well.
Happy New Year!


Review: M. Wells Dinette (Queens, New York)


When you venture over to MOMA PS1 on a Sunday afternoon, brunch at M. Wells Dinette is a must. Not only will it satiate you but it will provide you with a feeling of calm as you sit quietly in a school lunch room dining alongside other patrons much like you did as a little one.
Upon my recent visit to Queens, New York in the Fall of 2017 – M. Wells Dinette was on the top of my list. After seeing the likes of Anthony Bourdain giving them major props – I figured, if Bourdain gave them a go, so should I!
I like mom and pop resto’s when I travel. Off the beaten path, relaxed, homey and staff that let me do my thing in a quiet corner. M. Wells Dinette fit all of those pieces to a T.
To start, I encourage you to dwell upon the Tuscan, Kale and Lemon Salad. Think currants, shaved pecorino that build upon the simplicity of a hearty kale salad. The lemon was soaked up into the kale leaves and provided an explosion of zesty flavour in every bite. Refreshing and clean. This salad will linger with you throughout your travel day. A healthy choice for those in your group who want something light.
Next, I indulged upon the Capellini and Crayfish Pasta which came with bonito flakes in light red gravy. Think simple. Tuscan, robust and knee knuckling delicious. If you check out M. Wells Dinette for anything before you go back to work and school this Christmas break – grab a bowl of this pasta. This meal is inspired by Chef Damien’s Georgian roots. A true measure of comfort in a bowl. The thinly veined capellini was cooked beautifully, rustically favoured with only the crayfish to support it. I felt every bone in my body instantly soothed after days of walking city blocks in the cold. Something I could have easily written home about in a heartbeat.

I luxuriated with a ginger beer from Regatta as I took in the space. White walls, school inspired tables and chairs, friendly staff and an ambiance that was befitting for a relaxed Sunday afternoon with friends and family. M. Wells Dinette is the perfect tucked away spot and just a hop, skip and a jump away from the subway line.
A space that is great for a tourist visit but also frequented by locals. When I was enjoying my meal, I observed many a young couple with their little ones, families and even single folk milling about having a coffee, nice conversation over warm and inviting food.
In the winter season, M. Wells Dinette embraces its French Canadian roots with the likes of the most decadent comfort food. When I visited, one of the owners, Hugue Dufour, was in the basement making Pot Pies as mentioned by my server, Montana. In Canada we say – Pot Pies for all!
The restorative vibe didn’t end there. After you have a nice meal with the team at M. Wells Dinette consider walking around MOMA PS1 and taking in some of the most lovely art in your own time.
Queens, New York is the place to visit when in town. M. Wells Dinette will take care of the hospitality and provide you with a nourishing meal before you head off for another adventure in MOMA PS1 or for more local fun and frivolity.
Happy New Year!