Post Minetta - Chicken the rest of the year
Finally made it to Minetta Tavern last night. Really enjoyed it overall. Here's the rundown...
To me this is one of the most spectacular entrances to a restaurant Ive ever encountered. The street its on and the the unassuming exterior had something to do with it. Got seated in no time and as expected very very close to our neighbors which I didnt mind at all. I remember reading somethng here about flash photography, or no photography. Not only everybody was taking pictures but our waitress was even taking pictures of the folks next to us.
Here's what we ate...
Pasta Za Za - Very good. I have a weakness for fresh pasta with egg. They split the dish and put one egg on each. Although we enjoyed it, not nearly as good as Herbsaint's version in New Orleans
Bone Marrow - This was just ok for us. Less so for DW. What saved the dish for me was the shallots with port. Te baguettes were so buttery almost to the point of being inedible.
Black Label burger - Met the high expectations. The juiciest most flavorful burger that I can remember. 50% of it is 48 day dry aged prime rib eye while the other 50 is a combination of brisket, rib and other goodies. The fries were just ok for me tho - not sure what the hoopla was. They were barely seasoned and the aioli didnt save them for me. But the burger was insane.
NY Strip - Excellent! We ordered medium and it came medium-rare as expected. Great, nicely seasoned crust and a very flavorful piece. But the next day we were talking about the burger. The strip is 28 day aged
Chocolate Souffle - AMAZING!! So rich.
In short, an enjoyable meal. With drinks, $260 for the 2 of us. Would def order the pasta, burger and souffle again. I'm beefed-out, hence the title.
I went for my first time the same night you did, as well. I went in with very high expectations for the burger, and usually when I come into something with high expectations I end up loving it as much as I expect to. Unfortunately, that didn't apply to the burger. The group I went with weren't exactly "foodies" but they appreciate good meat and good steak as much as anyone. I went in telling them "get ready for the best burger you've ever had in your life" and was kinda met with "for $26 it better be". When the burger came, it was smaller than I expected it to be. It didn't have much flavor at all. I was a bit disappointed and that rarely happens. The other guys thought "it's good but not 26 bucks good. I can get a burger just as good elsewhere for half the price." I was expecting this to be a new thing - that I would bring people there to show them the best burger on the planet, but I just didn't love it. If someone can tell me what I missed, I would love to hear it. I want to love this thing. I could eat the lamb burger at Breslin any day of the week. I enjoyed that one more.
I don't mean to rain on your post, Ziggy. I'm glad you loved it.
I know it gets a lot of hype, but I personally think that people who go to Minetta for dinner for the first time and order the burger are doing themselves a tremendous disservice.
I mean, it's great and all that -- but it's a burger, you know? How special COULD it be?
It's the "real" food there that makes that place so fantastic, IMO.
Can you give your recommendations?
We loved the bone marrow, by the way. And enjoyed the oxtail terrine.
But it's hard to pretty hard for me to get any of my friends in their early 30s to go in on the $140 cote de boeuf. Even my brother, who is a very big spender, was reluctant. Unless you can make a super strong case for it, for which I will show them your post!
Case for the cote de boeuf: it's possibly the best steak in New York, which makes it a plausible contender for the best steak in the world (that you can order on a day-in day-out basis, in any event).
But don't think you have to get THAT, either. ALL the broiled meats are superb here. The saddle of lamb is superb. The veal chop with sweetbreads is superb.
But don't think you have to get THEM, either. The French bistro dishes on the daily specials menu are almost always great -- and those are things you can't get done this well very easily in New York.
To me, THOSE are what makes Minetta so special.