the gateway nuts at m.wells diner.
When word went around last week that M. Wells would be closing at the end of August because of a landlord lease dispute, everyone — including yours truly — went into a bit of a panic. Brunch lines that were already long started to become insane: my coworker went on Saturday afternoon, only to languish in line for two hours. Was that going to stop me? Nope. Panic only makes me more determined to consume awesomeness.
So, armed with general panic and knowledge of the potentially long lines awaiting us, Mark and I left Brooklyn just at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, hoping to get there just as the restaurant opened it doors at 10. We emerged from the subway at 9:52am. There was already a line maybe 12-15 people deep. On a Sunday morning. In Queens.
But we got in, in the first wave of seating, and from our seats at the counter, began to let our stomachs do the ordering. From the top:
1. Biscuit with I think strawberry jam. Also, Mark got a Bloody Mary which, in Fujicolor 200, shows up much, much Jolly Rancher redder than I think it actually was. (I had a glass of wine.)
2. The famed egg-sausage sandwich, on a big english muffin, with pickled jalapeno, cheddar, and a perhaps overexhuberant dollop of mayonnaise. It’s the standby on the brunch menu, and if you’ve never been to M. Wells before, it’s a must-have. To the right of the sandwich was the grilled cheese + foie gras. You heard me. Foie Effing Gras. Tucked neatly inside a grilled cheese on I think Challah. (Brioche? Forgive me, it was barely 10am on a Sunday morning.) Surprisingly, the foie tasted a bit like a portabello mushroom. Weird, right? Super tasty.
3. THIS IS THE THING TO ORDER OH MY LORD. So M. Wells has a standard Spanish tortilla, which is like a frittata with potatoes and onions inside. You can get that, or you can see what the special add-on of the day is. When we went, the special was duck testicles. YOU HEARD ME. DUCK NUTS. Inside a tortilla. And it was mind-bogglingly delicious. The tortilla had a slightly crispy outer shell, almost croquette-like, and the duck nuts — well, I’ll just say that, like, say, sweetbreads, they’ve got a particular (some might say peculiar) texture, a bit … squidgy, not really gamey per se, but a little funky, a bit salty. And really awesome. I can’t wait to try other iterations of, er, this. M. Wells has made a very desirous woman out of me.
So yeah. We devoured our brunch. Other groups also splurged, quantity-wise, ordering 3-4 dishes for every two people. M. Wells will do that to you on a good day. On a day approaching the end of the restaurant in its current location — they supposedly have a new spot lined up, though no one knows how long it will be before they reopen in that location — M. Wells nudges you into taking it to the next level. Nuts and all.