Every so often I have an experience that just leaves an unsavory taste in my throat. As a foodie i’m supposed to have an acumen that allows me to filter and find the places that are not just wearing the emperors clothes and lacking the emperor; M. Wells Steakhouse was an experience that left me embarrassed and rather light in the pocket book.
Everything I’d read about the M Wells was positive, a mecca for meat lovers in a hidden former auto body shop in Long Island City ( A place I had never been, nonetheless) Queens, lauded Canadian Chefs in an eye catching space. I was pumped as this was to be my final reservation on a whirlwind NYC dining trip.
Things started off well, as my companions were impressed at my navigational abilities in finding the virtually hidden space (no sign whatsoever) – we walked in the glowing and warmly lit open space with an almost cathedral like feeling. The walls have elegant wall paper and the ceilings have intricate details.
Our waiter sauntered over after a few moments too long of waiting without greeting, a large heavyset man of some age and experience he began to croon the specials in an old manner reminiscent of the steak houses of yore. My excitement began to build as he overtook the the personal space of the table with his fluid hand motions, swooping his arms through the air describing luxurious cuts of offal and head cheese. I scribbled incessantly in my notebook to keep up.
We decided, as we were probably going to be tieing quite a few drinks on this evening that we should stick with the cocktails (true to form, we ended up in a gay club in the Meatpacking district dancing to Beyonce at 3 am), though I had read the wine program was exemplary. It wasn’t hard to spot the sommelier in a smartly cut suit dashing back and forth across the room. Tragically he never stopped by, but I got a chance to hear him in action at the lovely table of two next to us.
After some deliberation he brought back a bottle of ; I’m guessing this was Malvasia di Candida, and obscure bottle from the Canary Islands grown on mostly volcanic soil. I thought this was a daring pairing for a Canadian styled steak house. He decanted the wine away from the table and brought it back in a decanter, placing it on a pedestal just to my left. I was struck by the fact that neither he, nor any server brought any stemware to the table. Ten, twenty, and thirty minutes went by as the ladies finished their nearly empty cocktails before they flagged a waiter inform that they were ready to drink the bottle. The sommelier didn’t seem all that occupied standing off to the side chatting with a server, never once did he return to the table to check on anything – it certainly seemed he was spending more time on his vertical hold hairstyle than his wine service.