Across the East River, a Bestiary

M. Wells may sit in Long Island City, but this shiny diner is worth the trip from anywhere in Brooklyn.

IMG_5771If you read Edible Queens, our fine sister publication to the north, then you already know M. Wells is not in Brooklyn. But this tiny Long Island City restaurant, which opened last summer in an old shiny diner car, is just across the Pulaski Bridge and a mere G stop from Greenpoint. And hell, it would be worth a trip for the Kings County meat-lover even if it were in Hoboken.

That’s because its beautiful young owners—Sarah Obraitis and her husband, Canadian chef Hugue Dufour—have impeccable protein pedigree: Obraitis helped grow Heritage Foods USA, the Brooklyn-based outfit that sources and sells some of the country’s best-tasting animals; Dufour cooked at Montreal’s world-famous restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, home of foie gras-topped poutine with duck-fat gravy and other meaty wonders. Love for Obraitis lured him to her native Queens, where the newlyweds’ meatforward menu is Montreal diner meets farm-to-table: foie-gras soufflés; crackly fried frog legs; pastry-topped savory Quebecois meat pies called tourtière stuffed with game; pickled pork tongue with flaky house-made soda crackers—all featuring flawless flesh. Their produce is pristine, too: In warmer months, some comes from the nearby rooftop farm launched by Roberta’s Pizzeria called Brooklyn Grange. Of course, like M. Wells, that’s also technically in Queens.

Photo credit:  Molly Donahue.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.