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Yesterday I had a fabulous meal at M. Wells. A couple days earlier the M. Wells folks sent out an email saying that they were having a Labor Day party. There would be a DJ, food for a fixed price of $30 and a cash bar. As is usually the case with M. Wells’ special events, there were no details about the food. The email only stated they would “celebrate the best of our summer specials and take a peak at our upcoming fall menu”.  You have to be prepared to jump in without any details.  You have to ignore the press who usually get it wrong (Time Out said the menu would include fish quenelle and lobster, veal kidney with sea beans and salt-crusted squab–none of which were served). With M. Wells, you have to put yourself in their hands, go in blind and trust in Hugue. Whatever it is, it is bound to be surprising, generous and wonderful. Yesterday was a case in point.

We got our wristbands and a couple of drinks from the bar, sat down at a table and over the next couple of hours, the following dishes were brought out to the two of us:

Seafood platter

Seafood platter

The seafood platter had 6 oysters and 4 little jars which contained geoduck, mussels, clams, and roe. What a way to start! (Later we saw that king crab legs were being added to the platter)

Baked potato

Baked potato

A baked potato was served with the seafood platter. The roe with creamy horseradish sauce from one of the jars was a perfect topping.

Hamburger

Hamburger

We shared a juicy hamburger and fries.

Fries

Fries

Pan con tomate

Pan con tomate

The pan con tomate was loaded with flavor.

Stuffed guinea hen

Stuffed guinea hen

The guinea hen roulade was stuffed with something sausagey (foie gras was mentioned) and topped with a mushroom sauce.  The best part with the exterior–it was wrapped in a thin french toast.

Pork chops w/anchovy butter

Pork chops w/anchovy butter

One of the regular items on the M. Wells Steakhouse menu is a “stack of pork chops.” We got a beautiful stack of two delicious chops.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

The cauliflower was roasted, topped with puffed rice and served with a sauce with a little heat and Indian flavors.

Fried chicken

Fried chicken

Fried chicken with a yummy gravy for dipping.

Foie gras gnocchi

Foie gras gnocchi

Much more a croquette, than gnocchi, this was oozing foie gras. OMG!

Wild hare in civet

Wild hare in civet

A special meal at M. Wells has to include wild hare.

Dessert

Dessert

We were stuffed by this point, but managed to eat all of our dessert-maple pie, something like a chess pie and a chocolate icebox type cake.

Oh, and the music was terrific–it started out with New Orleans music and built up to dance music.  A lovely way to spend Labor Day.  Thanks M Wells!

 

 

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This week I am hitting all my favorite places. I had lunch at Union Square Cafe the other day (read about it here) and yesterday I had lunch at M. Wells Dinette.  The owner, Hugue Dufour, and the chef de cuisine, Aidan O’Neal, are among my favorite chefs.

They now have a prix fixe lunch:  any starter and any main for $28.00. The main courses alone were between $22 and $26. And you can get a wine pairing of two short pours for $10.  These are both great deals but we would have been there anyways because the food is so rich, unique and flavorful.

Everything we had was terrific.

Here is the menu:

M Wells menu July 17, 2014

M Wells menu July 17, 2014

One of our starters was beef tartare. Fresh and tasty, the mustard seeds have a great pop to them. They’ve added edible flowers since the last time I had this dish. They make the plate pretty, but I am not sure they added anything to the taste profile of the dish.

Another starter was called cauliflower and mussels.  I am not generally a huge fan of mussels, but I love Aidan’s smoked mussels. The dish was a fresh mediterranean salad. Fresh crispy cauliflower, cucumbers, croutons, radishes, some amazing super thin ribbons of pickled red onions and the wonderful smoky mussels. A great way to start.

Our third starter was a creamy summer squash soup with micro greens and some crunchy toast on top.

Summer squash soup

One main course was a beef short rib dish. The dish included fava beans and thin slices of turnips.  The sauce was excellent but I could not figure out what was in it.  It was the consistency of a curry or a peanut sauce but didn’t have the favors of either. Turns out it was a sauce made of almonds and red peppers.

Another main course was a pork chop with a lighter sauce.  It included peaches, parsnips and crunchy parsnip ribbons.

Pork chop

The third main course was roasted poussin.  It was stuffed and served over lentils and tomatoes.

Poussin

Both our desserts included blueberries.  One was a blueberry crumb creme brûlée and other was a cheesecake.

Blueberry crème brûlée

Blueberry cheesecake