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Feb 8, 2010 08:18 AM

Minetta Tavern tonight - first time

2 serious carnivores on the occasion of our 2nd anniversary. I'm thinking Lobster salad, oxtail foie gras terrain and cote de beouf. Ideas? Cocktail suggestions?

Please if you don't like MT save it for another post, I'm really looking forward to this. Unless there's a particular dish or drink you found truly offensive.

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  1. I went for lunch on Saturday - mostly to try the hamburgers. We had a fun time and enjoyed the food, but, as others have noted, the fries are unbelievably salty - next time I'm going to see if it's possible to get them unsalted, and then salt them to taste. I thought the coconut cake was fabulous. I had a most enjoyable green tomato Bloody Mary, but I suspect you will not be wanting that tonight! Congratulations, by the way.

    12 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Cote de Boeuf is definitely the way to go! The tuna carpaccio is also excellent. I was disappointed in the cocktails there and would recommend sticking to wine/beer. Generally loved it though!

      1. re: MMRuth

        MMRuth, how were the burgers? Did you do the $26 one? And how difficult was it getting the brunch reservations?

        1. re: Miss Needle

          I guess I'll go ahead and report here, since these days my intentions about posting reports seem to be a lot better than my actual reporting!

          My husband called at about 10:30 am on the off chance that he might get a reservation for lunch with a friend. He asked for a reservation for two at 1:00, and the hostess took his name, said she'd have to make a call or two, and would call back. So, we kind of thought that was that, since his name isn't a "name", and more akin to John Smith than anything else, but she called back, and he asked to make the reservation for three of us, since, now that we'd gotten a reservation, I wanted to go too. So, no problem getting a reservation.

          Between the three of us we had two of the salads with goat cheese, two Black Label burgers, and one Minetta Tavern burger (me). I started with a really delicious and interesting green tomato Bloody Mary, my husband had a beer and our friend an orange juice. My husband and I split one of the salads - nice size, well dressed, and a more interesting slice of goat cheese than one normally finds on this sort of salad, on a thin slice of toast. Our friend was able to get the BL burger sans carmelized onions, and, when told that they recommend having it without the cheese he requested, he had it without cheese. After his first bite he said, "I can see why they suggest you don't have cheese on it." He and my husband both ordered it rare, though "warned" that their rare is really really rare. I had a bite of my husband's burger, and it really is good. A bit of gamey-ness to it, as another poster has mentioned, very juicy, etc. My Minetta Burger (which I was able to get w/o cheese as I don't like cheese on my burgers) was certainly good, a bit rarer than the typical medium rare, but I had expected that going in, and ordered it accordingly. However, it lacked a certain something (ten dollars?) when compared to the BL burger.

          As I wrote above, the fries really were almost unbearably salty, and I was not able to finish mine, which is a good thing for me. The bun was decent, and I agree with another poster who wrote that it was if the bun couldn't decide if it were a brioche bun or something else. The burgers were served with a piece of lettuce and a slice of red, red tomato that actually had some flavor to it.

          With my slice of coconut cake, three espressos/coffees, a glass of cabernet (for me - enjoyable) and a bottle of still water, the bill was about $170 before tip. The service was gracious etc. throughout our visit, and the only misstep was an American coffee instead of an espresso, but I went ahead and drank it.

          Note on the fries, since this gets mentioned frequently: I really like the Balthazar fries. Even putting aside the salt issue, these are not the same as the Balthazar fries. They are thinner, and not as good.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Thanks for your report -- and for your tip about ordering the fries sans salt. Yes, it's sometimes easier to just do it as opposed to procrastinating -- still need to write up a few reports of my own.

            Seems like it would probably be easier to get a reservation for brunch. Too bad they don't offer the oxtail and foie gras terrine. That definitely sounds like something I would love to try. But good to know that you can get the Black Label Burger. While I don't make a habit of spending $26 on a burger, I'll try it once.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              I found it incredibly easy to get a reservation for brunch but I'd read they only take them the week of and I called around 10am on Monday for a Sunday reservation.

              Really great room, great atmosphere, lovely service. Wonderful food. They also offer you a baguette and butter with your meal. Light and loosely packed latkes topped with poached eggs and salmon. Really nice fresh pasta with fresh sage, parmesan, and chunks of hearty pancetta, with a fried egg on top. Well seasoned, flavorful, al dente pasta, a nice runny egg yolk on top. Also liked the duck hash, which was essentially duck confit tossed with onions and roasted potatoes.

              The only thing I didn't like was the price tag! $22 for latkes with eggs and smoked salmon seems a bit much. My friend and I were both full but not stuffed at the end of our meal.

              1. re: kathryn

                $22 for latkes with eggs and salmon does seem a bit on the high side. But the duck hash sounds awesome! Hmmm... maybe I'll try to do BOTH brunch and dinner. But I think dinner will be further down the road as it doesn't sound too easy to procure reservations.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  I initially made my res for sunday (superbowl subday) exactly 3 months prior at 11 am. Even calling that early I could only get a 6p or 10pm. A couple weeks ago realizing it was superbowl sunday. I called about 2 weeks ago and was able to get yesterday at 9pm, a pretty Ace slot if you ask me. So it's worth trying for sure.

                  Also, I must've mentioned it was an anniversary as the waitress surprised both of us by congratulating us when our dessert came with a conspicuous candle. Impressive attention to detail that.

                  1. re: 2slices

                    Glad to hear that you had a good experience. I think I'm getting old -- 9P would probably be too late for me to eat. But 6P is doable. I'll give it a try soon.

            2. re: MMRuth

              My wife and I very salt-concious, due partly to a medical condition with one of us. In addition, my wife is very concious of over-seasoning as I have confidence in her tasting ability with her formal culinary training. We've dined, all dinners, at MT 4 times last year and have not experienced the saltiness on the fries which we've orderd as sides during the 3 times out of the 4 occasions.

              1. re: RCC

                There must be an employee (or two) who completely oversalts then. My husband is a salt-whore, so to speak, and even he couldn't handle all the salt on the fries. I'm glad to hear that it's not a regular problem.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  I'd go with the salty fries as a non-regular issue. But, and I'm aware that the past has passed, I would have returned the salty fries had it been me.

                  1. re: RCC

                    Good point about returning them - I think that because I'd read so much about them here, it hadn't occurred to me. Which was rather stupid, now that I think of it!

        2. Excellent choice. Can't go wrong with the lobster salad (very good and refreshing) and the terrific oxtail foie gras terrine.

          As far as drinks are concerned, I'm a wine guy and went with a Cali syrah from Unti vineyards.

          1 Reply
          1. re: RCC

            Aside from my awesome cote de boeuf, On my visit my cousin had the NY strip which she felt was overly salty. I liked it but I understood the feeling. Maybe the hyper-salting goes beyond the fries?

          2. OK so.

            Started off with the Stella Rose cocktail, which we both really liked. I read all the mixed reviews of the drinks but I would rec this one. A bit tart, more importantly it had Gin. Done

            Oxtail Foie Gras terrain was too die for. I really liked the texture of the oxtail and it had a nice deep meaty flavor, not too much pepper or spice, the flavor of the meat came through. And the Foie Gras, which was extremely smooth, it's a hackneyed phrase but this really was melt in my mouth goodness. The dish is about half an inch thick served on a flat plate, the Foie Gras is surrounded by the Oxtail so you can eat them separate or together. I really must stress the inclusion of this dish if any of you plan a trip.

            Lobster salad was not on the menu, so we had a shrimp salad. 3 jumbo shrimp, really fresh tasting. Alot of time those steak house shrimp are so dry. I can't name the sauce or the vegetable it came with, but the shrimp are whole. It's a good dish and we needed something refreshing.

            The Cote de Boeuf was absolutely fantastic. I come from a long line of Luger's regulars, account #140. And this is a formidable opponent. I have never had a steak with such a complete and perfect char. Really perfect, on all sides. I asked the maƮtre d' how they achieved it and he said he'd never seen an oven like this, a alamander oven from the early 1900s. It's charred at 1900 degrees, no grill marks. A pure black crust all around. We ordered steak and it was medium rare through every slice. From just under the crust to the inner most slice it was red all the way through. And thank god for the good people in the kitchen who left all the fat on the plate. The meat was soft and moist but with sufficient chewiness and not at all gready. I gnawed on the blackened bone, and while the marrow was delicious this meal was already rich enough for me; I had one while the lady ate both the other two. We had spinach as a side which was really delicious and not at all greasy, with everything else potatoes seemed too much.

            For desert I had 3 cheeses, all domestic. A cheddar, jasper hill sheeps milk Blue, and a semi soft also from Jasper hills. The cheddar and blue being my favorite. I had it paired with an french ice wine as recommended by the waitress. Usually I dont like dessert wines but enjoyed this. Sweet but overly so, and it didn't linger too long.

            After that was the coconut cake. It was very real tasty, light and fluffier than angel food. I'm not much for sweets so this was a good choice.

            Wish I could remember the wine we had. It was a dry french red, a $65 bottle. The GF picked it out and we had the sommelier endorsement. I wrote down the name as I plan to pick up a bottle for home, if I can find the paper I'll come back with it.

            This was a massive meal and I'll have some steak for dinner tonight and I saved bones for the dog. For your reference the bill came to just over 300 without tip. This was an anniversary meal and it doubles as Valentines day so I was ok with that. Certainly less than last years Picholine visit.

            Oh and celebrity sighting? A good one. Wally Shawn! Inconceivable!

            1 Reply
            1. re: 2slices

              Thanks for reporting back. Glad you're anniversary dinner went well. Yes, those Oxtail Foie Gras Terrine are terrific. You should go back for the Lobster Salad when they have it on the menu.