Hello bloggasphere! It was Easter this past weekend but also C’s birthday. While lots of exciting things happened this weekend (details to follow in another post…), I wanted to do a quick review of the birthday dinner we enjoyed at Minetta Tavern. It’s a New York classic. An old school joint where the waiters have been there for 25 years and don’t really feel the need to overwhelm you with hospitality because they know their food is awesome and you will be back regardless of what they say. I love this weird quality New York restaurant institutions can have.
Minetta Tavern is a stone’s throw from my alma mater NYU in Greenwich Village. It’s on MacDougal, an insanely busy few blocks packed with people. It opened in 1937 and has been dubbed a “Parisian steakhouse meets classic New York City tavern.” I’ve eaten here a few times and the way I think of it is just meat done right. Thinking of the meaty indulgence I was about to enjoy, C and I got cozy in a corner booth.
Was. AMAZING. Since it was so early in the night, we didn’t want to go into a complete food coma so we tried to order light. We ordered two glasses of 2015 Morgon Cote du Py from Jean-Marc Lafont in Beaujolais France. It had amazing cherry notes while still being dry and not too tannic. We decided that when at a place like Minetta Tavern, you go meat heavy because they do it really freaking well. We got decided on the bone marrow to start and then split the Black Label Burger and spinach for our meal.
The Bone Marrow
Might have actually stolen the show for me. It was two giant roasted bone marrows with toasted baguette and a generous helping of shallot confit. It was so decadent and buttery. The shallot confit cut the fattiness of the marrow perfectly, not too sweet or tangy and just complemented without overpowering. We dug at those bones as long as we could and then we grabbed the extra table bread to soak up the extra juices. I was in meaty fatty heaven. I even stained my silk blouse with meat fat. Worth it.
Black Label Burger
Was next. This is a mixture of prime dry-aged beef cuts, which has more marbling, meaning you don’t have to add fat from other sources. All the flavor is coming from the meat. They serve it with just carmelized onions on a special brioche bun. I usually am against brioche buns with burgers because I think they are too greasy. You want a bun to hold up to the meat and complement — not bring its own bold, fatty flavors to the table. But this one does quite well. We got it medium rare (the only way beef should be ordered in my opinion. The meat was so incredibly juicy. I don’t know how they do it but the meat was so tender and succulent. The carmelized onions were delicious, too but I’m not sure I registered them totally. Not sure if they were understated and complementary or forgettable. One will never know. The burger is served with a generous heap of thin fries and lettuce, tomato, and pickle on the side. I looked at C, curious, and asked why they gave us lettuce and tomato. This burger clearly needs no help. He responded “Do you think it’s a test?” Safe to say these items were pushed away. We quietly savored our burgers, stopping every now and then for a fry or taste of buttery spinach.
We opted against dessert and cocktails and headed out to enjoy more birthday festivities and adventures in the East Village. Little did I know we were biding time for a surprise later on that evening. The dinner was overshadowed as the event of the evening but the dinner was totally unforgettable. It wasn’t my first meal there and it certainly won’t be the last but both of these items are on must-orders for me. I think next time I will insist on saving room for the Grand Marnier souffle.
Have you eaten at Minetta Tavern? What’s your must order item? What’s your favorite Parisian steak house? Let me know in the comments below!