In its one-year history, M. Wells has never stopped generating headlines. From its birth (ie: "Bizarre & Gluttinous Restaurant Opens in Long Island City Diner"). To its nearly immediate acclaim (ie: "Get Thee to the 7 Train!"). To, recently, despondency (ie: "Greedy Landlords Rob NYC of One of its Most Original Restaurants").
We paid our respects with an impromptu 11pm meal that started with a lurid cocktail named the R.I.P. Topsy. Step One: Shoot sriracha, salmon roe, egg yolk. Step Two: Chase with rye, lemon, maple syrup, and egg white. (Forget nose-to-tail, this is albumen-to-yolk sac.) It's a play on the shot as knockout. Instead of a hit of alcohol, here the first punch is protein, fat and spice, as elemental a wake-up call as the strongest proof of liquor. The chaser is the boozy partner, but the effect is the same as more typical pairings -- cooling, silky, almost creamy.
Delicious and delicate duck heart salad came with fried bread and greenish Marcona almond-like things. A bracing vinaigrette hid in the heart's chambers and blood vessels, like sauce in an offal ziti.
Strange, perhaps. But to me these raw oysters with coffee sabayon tasted like my Puglia beach vacation, when we ate lunches of super-fresh seafood, then lingered over shakeratto frappés. You probably don't share this memory.
Some beef tartares are ironed into a paste. M.Wells' version is more like a meaty salsa. You can roll the pieces in your mouth like dice and they're solid enough to play along.
Green salad, the one that's not buried under mountains of cheese.
A much better version of the celery-peanut-butter "Ants on a Log". I mean, "Snails on a Bone Marrow"? Too easy.
Duck testicles deliver muskiness to a rich and salty cassoulet crock of beans, bacon, and rabbit. What do I mean by muskiness? Like skunk, armpits, truffles, sex, etc. It's a brilliant move to take a comfort dish and turn up the hormones.
Posset, where have you been all my life? Possets are simply milk curdled with acid. Dead-simple, clean, a natural beauty. Posset makes curds, custards, and panna cottas -- with their make-up kits of egg, cornstarch, and gelatin -- look positively Snooki-like.
Finally, a coconut cream pie with a granular curd similar to watermelon juice and a flaky crust that also had chew and bounce. Here's to M.Wells 1.0! It's going to be a very delcious 2.0.