Romantic New York Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 01/28/2014
Photo: Jesse Winter
M. Wells Steakhouse
43-15 Crescent St., 718-786-9060 (restaurant); 718-696-7863 (reservations)
M. Wells Steakhouse is the most thrilling restaurant Long Island City has ever seen and one of the most important openings in all of New York City in 2013. This is not hyperbole. Quebecois chef Hugue Dufour's bold, robust food grabs you by all five senses, including hearing, considering all the exclamations rising from the tables. The staff is in befitting steak-house attire here; the interior details, which allude to the space's former incarnation as an auto body shop, are both apparent and useful—the concrete floor makes it easier for a server to wheel around an old-school dessert trolley laden with black forest cake, tiramisu and cheesecake. Brick walls are painted red, vintage wallpaper covers the ceiling and a fire roars in the open kitchen, beautifully charring chateaubriand for two, among other cuts. There are many craveworthy sides and starters, from traditional poutine to a shell filled with rich, creamy scallops under a lid of crusty potato puree; and someone's got to get the bone-in burger. The bone is a removable handle, for presentation purposes only, and the burger itself is so incredibly luscious that all others pale in comparison.