After the original M. Wells in Long Island City shuttered only after a year after it’s opening, diners were curious as to what were the next plans for owners Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis. M. Wells has hosted a few pop up food stands at various food festivals such as Googamooga but loyal patrons were still looking for a more permanent M. Wells location. As of about two weeks ago, Dufor and Obraitis have now opened a smaller version of the beloved M. Wells in MoMa PS1 called M. Wells Dinette. In our opinion, the main reason why M. Wells didn’t last over a year was due to the bizarre hours the restaurant was open (Tuesday to Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m., for dinner and Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., for brunch) and perhaps the industrial neighborhood the original M. Wells was located in could have been a turn off to some. However, MoMa PS1 is definitely familiar territory for their regular clientele and is fairly close to Manhattan so the owners surely picked a much more convenient location for their new restaurant. However, M. Wells Dinette is only open for lunch 12 PM – 6 PM Thursday – Monday as well as for breakfast/brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant itself is located past the courtyard at MoMa in a small room that looks exactly like an elementary school classroom. Guests can either sit at the school desks or at one of the more traditional tables either inside or outside on the patio. We do recommend sitting at the desks as if you reach inside them, you will find crayons, pencils and coloring pads which were an interesting touch to our lunch.
The menu is written on a chalkboard on the right side of the restaurant and has a few interesting and unusual items such as Escargot as well as more “normal” options like Squash Soup. To start we had the Rabbit Terrine and the Wagyu Carppaccio and had the Veal Cheek Bucattini as an entree. We noticed the service was a bit quirky once we received our food. We got our entrees and appetizers at the same time and after the bus boy went on break, simple requests such as getting water became a long and tedious task. The Rabbit Terrine consisted of two big pieces of rabbit terrine wrapped in bacon with a small salad off to the side. The rabbit was tasty and the bacon added that extra salty flavor that helped off set the rich flavors of the rabbit. The Wagyu was interesting mainly due to the presentation, the dish arrived in an old school lunch tray with many different components, however the Wagyu itself was a bit tough and the dish became far too heavy to eat half way through. We did appreciate all the elements of the dish though such as the assortment of mushrooms atop the wagyu and the crisped toast off to the side but overall the flavors just became too rich for us to eat the entire thing. The Veal Cheek Bucattii suffered the same problems as the Wagyu. While the first few bites of the well cooked pasta were great, the dish was very heavy and the rich flavors of the sauce didn’t blend well with the fat of the braised Veal Cheek.
Overall we enjoyed M. Wells but our visit became much more uncomfortable as the lunch progressed. Ordering two plates each was far too much for one person to handle on their own, not because the portions are so generous but because each plate is so heavy and rich, and the service simply just stopped after a while. The food and decor both are interesting and it is worth checking out once or twice but we’re not convinced M. Wells Dinette would become our regular spot right now.
M. Wells Dinette at MoMa PS1
2225 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101