I don't want to be embarrassingly over-enthusiastic but listen, I've had my best meal of 2011 and I just had it tonight. Carol made a reservation for a party of six at M Wells back in July . . . before it was announced that the restaurant had lost its lease and would be closing at the end of August. Take a super popular restaurant, tell everyone it's about to close after being open for about a year, and you wind up with the most popular restaurant possible. Our table for 6 at prime dining time was an incredible score . . . we still had to wait nearly an hour to be seated, but I watched a party of two waiting for seats from 7:30 (when we got there) until 11:00 (when we were wrapping up.)
So anyway, this was my third meal at M Wells and, while those first two meals were great, this third one (and maybe it's just a numbers game, as you'll see, the odds were in our favor) was beyond ridiculous . . . come, journey with me:
First of all, meet the diners: JB & Carol
and my dear brothers Owen and Greg, here in town for a week of brotherly activities.
Now meet our first wave of food:
Duck Heart Salad with Fresh Greens and Fried Bread. This was one of my favorites.
Bread Salad with Shishito Peppers, Tomato, and Basil. Delicious.
Lobster Roll . . . brought out on accident (I had ordered the General Tso Sweetbreads) but what a happy accident. I've only ever had maybe 3 lobster rolls, this was the best by a longshot.
Radish and Horseradish Salad with Alioli, Apple, and Cucumber. What a fine combo! All salads should be rhymey, it's just good cooking.
Escargots & Bone Marrow (served in a bone) Very decadent, went straight to my head.
And now I'll pause before showing you our main courses with a few miscellaneous M Wells images.
First main course: The Mega Hamburger. This picture does not show how big it is. There's no scale, unless you consider the size of those onion rings.
Does it look big now? It's a 2 1/2 lb, 60/40 blend of beef and lamb. We cut it into five gigantic pieces. This burger isn't just huge, its spectacularly delicious and was served a perfect medium rare. My Frankies cookbook taught me that it's actually easier to cook big pieces of meat right but still, great work, M Wells chefs.
Owen eats like an animal.
Greg like landed gentry.
Main Course #2: This was called "Shrimp Chicken", it's a whole roasted chicken stuffed with rock shrimp, served with deep fried peppers, and ginger scallion sauce.
This is what I look like when I've been eating, I'm happy, but I'm a little worried why everything is so good. Sometimes I start to worry when food gets too delicious.
Finally, our father didn't raise Owen, Gregory and I to wimp out at dessert time. We had their Angel Food Cake with Gooseberries (a real highlight), the Paris Brest, Banana Cream Pie . . .
A wonderful chocolate mousse. I wish we had ordered four.
(another look at the Paris Brest, a lot of the food at M Wells arrives stabbed)
The Banana Cream pie and Lemon Posset in the background (it's like lemon pudding you dip cookies in).
We made just about all of it disappear.
It wasn't just the food that made this the meal to beat for 2011. So many other things lined up last night to make it all so right. The night was clear, the weather easy, the restaurant was bustling and crowded but not chaotic. We five at the table were in good spirits, laughing and talking the whole time. We drew the attention of our tablemates and nearby neighbors as plate after plate after plate came to our table. We behaved a bit like rappers in a music video. A bit. I cannot ask for much more than nights like this. It's too bad you weren't there, really I wish you had been.
Goodbye, smoking jackalope, I'll never forget you.
After dinner, a wizard battle.
Satisfied and satiated subway riders.