I know what you’re thinking, “‘Queens Brunch Club??,’ Joe hates brunch, and isn’t it called ‘Queens Dinner Club’ anyhow?” All true, but for this month Jonathan, Gabe (they hate brunch too), and I are changing the name of our little eating organization to Queens Brunch Club. That’s because we are hosting a brunch at M. Wells Steakhouse on October 26th. Make sure you don’t miss out on this very special dinner by signing up for our mailing list here.
“Québecois Chef Hugue Dufour of M. Wells has created a chef’s brunch for chefs that hate brunch. Not an egg or hash brown to be found here,” says Chef Jonathan. “Nothing but fantastical visions of food turned into reality.”
For one magical year in 2010 Hugue Dufour and his M. Wells Diner revolutionized the way many—including yours truly—thought about dining out and brunch in particular. Truth be told, before I ate at the scrappy classic diner hovering above the Hunts Point rail yards I thought very little of brunch. And then almost all I thought of was brunch à la M. Wells—oatmeal with foie gras and maple syrup, waffles topped with salmon roe and smoked sturgeon, a riff on bibimbap that owed as much to Montréal and New York City’s Jewish appetizing tradition as to Korea, among other out there specialties—and dinner, which featured such over the top dishes as a giant hamburger topped with foie gras and wonton chicken pot a feu, in which a whole bird was deboned save for the legs and wings and stuffed with shrimp wonton filling, and served in soup accompanied by floating wonton skins and veggies. Dufour is reprising that fusion of Chinese and French comfort food as a Cornish game hen for our family style feast. Since it’ s Goatober, there will also be goat in the form of baskets bureks filled with meat and egg that Dufour likens to a very crispy calzone with a decidedly Israeli influence.
Our favorite French-Canadian chef is also known for charcuterie and will be making a terrine en croûte. Instead of meat though, he’ll be using lentils and other veggies like celeriac, peas, and carrots, along with jellified tomato consommé. “This consomme is so fucking good it’s out of this world,” Dufour says noting that there is a tiny bit of meat and egg white but only to clarify it.
Tomato, in the form of pulp, will also be featured in a cod salad that’s influenced as much by Basque cuisine as Mexican gastronomy thanks to the use of sotol, mezcal’s more rustic barnyardy cousin.
But will there be pastries you ask? Naturellement, mes amis, but with an M. Wells twist. Dufour is mulling the idea of a pain au chocolat wherein the two rods of chocolate would be replaced with pieces of barbecued eel. I told him to call it “pain non chocolat.” Dessert from Jenny Kellerhals will skew more traditional with an autumnal classic, apple tartine with aged gouda.
As for foie gras Dufour is considering a riff on Syrian breakfast dish that combines cream of wheat with turkey broth. His version would feature duck broth and foie. “Brunch gives you that liberty of going everywhere,” Dufour responded when I asked whether there was a unifying theme to the Queens Brunch Club menu.“I think it allows us to go all over the place and that’s fun.” Indeed. On behalf of myself and the boys at QDC, we’ll see you on October 26th.