It's been an exciting wait for Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis's newest whimsical restaurant offering in Queens, following the closure of their first ridiculously popular destination restaurant M. Wells in 2012. The mini PS1 Dinette offshoot sated the city's desire for creative Canadian fare in the meantime, but the new full-service M. Wells Steakhouse offers the whole shebang inside a converted garage (natch) in Long Island City. They may not serve horse meat but the dishes are still anything but ordinary.
It's the meat that matters here, from the Bone-in Chateaubriand for two ($100) to the Stack of Pork Chops ($28) topped with umami-rich anchovy butter. There's always some kind of burger on a steakhouse menu, and much fuss has been made over the Bone-in Burger ($17) here, a coarsely patty served on a bun with a giant bone attached for gnawing. It's the most Instagrammable dish on offer, but it's the freshly prepared Truine au Bleu (trout) that truly impresses. The wriggling fish are plucked from an on-site tank to order, gasping their final breath just minutes before diners pluck the tender flesh from the bone.
A steakhouse can be equally judged on its sides and they're not resting on the rote creamed spinach and mash here. Potatoes can be ordered in a cheesy, fondue-esque crock (Pommes Aligote, $12), thin-sliced and baked (Pommes Boulangerie, $10) or in Canada-friendly Poutine ($10), which sees crisp fries drowned in savory brown gravy and squeaky cheese curds. Escargot ($12) gets a meaty punch with the addition of bone marrow while Gnocchi ($15) get a decadent infusion of foie gras. If fish is more your style, opt for the BBQ Mussels on a Stick ($8), a smokey, briny version of yakitori, or the gelatinous Scungelee ($12) stuffed with different kinds of seafood.
The space retained some of its car-storage charm, like the metal roll down gates and unfinished floor. Bright red walls add drama to the dining room while wallpapered ceilings and vintage-looking chandeliers add touches of old world elegance. The most fun seats in the house are in front of the open kitchen, where doomed trout swim in a large sink and fiery logs create heat for searing big hunks of flesh. There's drama at the bar, too, with a blow torch creating a flambeed marshmallow topping for a seasonal egg nog cocktail.
43-15 Crescent Street, (718) 786-9060; magasinwells.com