That’s a loaded statement so let me describe the dish before we go any further. It’s a pot of clam chowder — with a light cream base — with succulent, dinner-sized hunks of pork, rosy-pink and tender as a clam, floating in the broth. You spear the pork onto your plate with a fork and then ladle up the soup from the bottom of the pot where the spiced and diced potatoes, clams and vegetables are lurking. Oh baby, oh baby.
This all took place at MoMA P.S.1 in Queens where we caught an early dinner at the M. Well’s Dinette, which serves as the museum’s commissary. It’s not easy to catch dinner there because the Dinette is not open for dinner, but I guess we qualified as a very late lunch.
The M. Well’s Dinette is the second incarnation of this concept from Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis, who are partners in life and business. Hugue came to New York via Montreal’s Au Pied De Cochon and first opened M. Wells, where he dazzled and shocked New Yorkers with his fun, fat and filling take on the eating experience.
The dinette offers more of the same. We opened with a seriously flavorful mushroom soup; then a beautiful plate of vegetables and whole grain for Jilly, the vegan; then a most amazing version of Caesar salad with broccoli florets instead of romaine, fresh-fried chunks of bread, a herring-based dressing in place of anchovy and a “snow shower of parmigiano,” said the waiter. And a snow shower it was. Great dish.
Then there was a tower of chickens — three chickens impaled on a long knife, standing straight up with the hilt facing the ceiling. I don’t remember too much about this dish because we were into some red wine at that point.
Then came the clam chowder with the pink pork, which I have no photo of because I was busy.
It was all great and yes, a bit much — but I like that in a chef.
The menu changes whenever Hugue and Sarah want it to. They seem to be having a lot of fun, they’re not afraid of fat and they get to go home after lunch. Hmm.
M. WELLS DINETTE - MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
by Kitty Kaufman