Gallery: M. Wells Diner in Long Island City: Beyond Dressed-Up Diner Food?

Interior
Interior
Ah, pastels.
Cake donuts
Cake donuts
Dry, clearly out of the fryer for quite some time, room-temperature and distressingly chewy. Cinnamon and sugar couldn't save what otherwise tasted like stale bread. ("That was probably a bad batch," conceded our waitress.)
Blueberry-banana fruit loaf
Blueberry-banana fruit loaf
About as appealing.
Chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate chip cookies
All but inedible, and the three we ordered looked so different we first thought they were different sorts of cookie—but no, just wildly inconsistent batches.
Biscuit with apricot jam
Biscuit with apricot jam
Undeniably tasty, but more cobbler-crust crumbly than flaky.
Buckwheat crepes
Buckwheat crepes
They existed at some strange intersection between pancakes and crepes—thinner than the former, thicker than the latter. But thin though they were, they were so dense as to seem almost uncooked—more pasty than anything else. And the slightly bizarre Martian green color had us all scratching our heads. As for the flavor of the cakes themselves, they're served so drenched in syrup it's hard to taste much else.
Egg-Sausage Sandwich
Egg-Sausage Sandwich
Here's where things started getting good.
Cut open
Cut open
A fluffy egg patty, fully melted cheddar, lively pickled jalapeño, and a tender house-made English muffin with nooks, crannies, and tons of character—though the sage-y breakfast sausage could have been juicier.
Hot Dog
Hot Dog
We loved a snappy hot dog with a soft, well-toasted Balthazar bun and tangy coleslaw.
Pan con tomate y Jamón
Pan con tomate y Jamón
A great riff on the classic tapa; the tomato-rubbed bread was chewy and garlicky, with a generous portion of Benton's Country Ham.
Tortilla Española
Tortilla Española
Fluffy and well-seasoned, with big sweet peas and plenty of ham.
Egg tomato pot
Egg tomato pot
Though a reasonably homey dish, it united huge, sweet tomato chunks with a melting blanket of Parmesan and a soft-set egg that oozed appealingly into the whole stew.
Spooned up
Spooned up
Yum.
Cubano
Cubano
No objections for swapping in mortadella on a crispy, properly smashed Cubano sandwich stuffed full of fatty roasted pork, though a little more melted cheese wouldn't have hurt.
Bacon, egg, and potato hash
Bacon, egg, and potato hash
Though its potatoes were a bit limp and oily, the dish showcased thick, meaty slices of bacon we'd never expect from a traditional diner.
Beef tartar
Beef tartar
With mustard and capers and a thick, crusty baguette ($8)—yes, we ate it for breakfast, with no regrets. One of the restaurant's best dishes.
Cherry pie
Cherry pie
A stew of pleasantly tart cherries in a crust that's a bit sweeter and more crumbly than our ideal pie crust, but it's a tasty dessert nonetheless.
Banana frozen custard
Banana frozen custard
From Timmy O's in Corona. Though we were afraid re-frozen custard would stiffen and lose its silky appeal, the banana custard softened right back into a wonderfully supple dessert.