Since this post was published, M. Wells Diner has close and re-opened as M. Wells Dinette. Egg Tomato Pot may not be on the restaurant’s new menu.
Long Island City’s M. Wells, the Quebec-American diner that stole the heartbeats of pretty much every food enthusiast in New York when it opened in 2010, did so by offering a playful, gourmet spin on diner fare that’s as accessible as it is intrepid. This is especially true for M. Wells’ brunch menu: dishes tend to cost around $8 or $16, but are often executed with skill and flair well above that pay grade – and without a breath of pretension on the side.
The fact that my two favorite dishes sampled to date are soups speaks to the core competence of M. Wells’ cooks. The breakfast menu’s egg tomato pot ($8), starting with a rich and hearty tomato stew in a tidy ceramic bowl, proves that there’s still room for restaurants to infuse creativity into comfort. A single egg, a hefty splash of pesto, and a sprinkle of parmesan are baked into the surface, layering flavor and richness over the already superb, slow-cooked soup. A crusty baguette stuck into the bowl makes this a meal, one I that would love to make at home but that I’ll enjoy just as much at a sun-bathed dining counter in Long Island City.