Zach and I went out last week to celebrate his bday at M. Wells, the much raved about fancy food, casual 'tude diner car out in Long Island City, which is closing at the end of this month. They used to take reservations, but have stopped since announcing their closing. This means they honor reservations that had already been made and take a few walk ins, while the rest of us line up around the block for one of those few spots available in the already teensy restaurant. We arrived a few minutes before 6 to take our place in a line about twenty people deep. At 6:30 a server came out to address the line saying how flattered they were that everyone wants to give them their
So we waited outside while the sun set over Manhattan and chatted it up with some neighbor people who were also waiting. After an hour or so, the first seating started leaving, flashing thumbs up and toting doggie bags, "It's so worth it," they'd say. Exciting! I was going to get to eat delicious things! I delayed cocktail hour for as long as possible, knowing we were in for the long haul, but after the sun set, there was little else to do, so we sucked in our bellies and snuggled into the "bar" aka standing room only by the service bar. I had a mojito + red wine cocktail and Zach had a boozy egg white milkshake concoction. Both delicious. We steered clear of the two part cocktail that involved taking a shot of raw egg yolk, hot sauce and caviar, but thoroughly enjoyed watching others choke it down. Looked way cooler on the menu than it does in person, eh? The wait started getting tough somewhere after 8:30, as beautiful smelling shrimp stuffed chickens continued to bob past. I was trying not to shoot death looks at the hostess, knowing that I would be the one to loose that game. Around 9 she took pity on us and sent over some cold smoked mussels, which may have been the highlight of the meal that we would sit down to shortly thereafter. They were tender, smoky, salty and buttery. But also, they were food and I was RAVENOUS.
When we finally ate, we wanted to eat everything. Instead, we went splitzies on everything. We had the herring smoked caeser salad, piled high with snowy parmesean cheese, the insanely rich escargot buried in bone marrow, beef tartare and a lobster roll. We topped it all off with a decadent maple pie. While it was quite a bizarre combination of foods and included a few that I had never had before, it was my favorite kind of meal. Delicious food that makes you shut the hell up and enjoy the bite in your mouth.
3 hours we waited. It sounds awful, but it wasn't. I'd never seen a reason to wait three hours before, but am glad I did it for M. Wells.