Gutsy Food & Films at MoMA's PS1
Meryle Evans / January 2nd, 2013
An audacious filmmaker, the late Pier Paolo Pasolini, and the audacious chef, Hugue Dufour, co-owner with his wife, Sarah Obraitis, of M. Wells Dinette, are sharing space this month at the Museum of Modern Art PS1 where a comprehensive retrospective of Pasolini’s work includes continuous showings of three of his celebrated controversial films at the museum’s Queens location.
For a cinematic preview last week, MoMA enlisted its on-site restaurant to prepare brunch, and Dufour, renowned like the filmmaker for his unrestrained excess, obliged with a lavish feast. The family-style meal was served at communal tables in the classroom-like setting, menus and wine list written on the blackboard.
Appetite-dousing homemade doughnuts and crispy, still-warm-from-the-oven croissants were followed by platters of baked eggs in tomato sauce. Next out, small pies with potato and crème fraîche filling in a flaky crust and covered in slices of silky gravelax. One of Dufour’s signature dishes, a blood sausage loaf—soft and creamy with a crunchy crust—was served with savory apple and mustard sauce. Stalwart guests managed to sample the finale: eggs florentine on a homemade English muffin with sautéed spinach, thick slices of ham, and hollandaise sauce.
Not on the menu at the recently opened restaurant—a reincarnation of the wildly popular M. Wells diner that closed last year: horse meat tartare. Quite acceptable in his native Canada, where Dufour was a chef at Montreal’s Au Pied de Cochon, the dish never happened after some very vocal criticism. Pasolini, always the provocateur, would probably have applauded the provocative chef.
The films at PS1, and at MoMA in Manhattan, will be screened until January 5. M. Wells Dinette is open the same hours as PS1, except on weekends.