NYC — Spring 2016: Minetta Tavern

Saturday, May 14, 2016
I had wanted to try Minetta Tavern for some time and I had actually made reservations there twice last year, once in February when I went to NYC with Austin and once in September with my mom, and we ended up cancelling them both times to go to restaurants that were closer to our hotels because we were too lazy. But it constantly shows up in all of my NYC restaurant searches and tops "Best of NYC restaurants" lists, so I was determined to go this time around, laziness be damned. And I am so, so glad I did.

Moules Frites

Minetta French Dip

Minetta Burger

Minetta Tavern is apart of the Keith McNally empire (which includes powerhouses Balthazar and Pastis), and specializes in French and New American cuisine. Since my dad was with us as well (he arrived in NYC on Thursday night), we decided to order three dishes to share. The Moules Frites, a big bowl of fat Maine bouchot mussels in a flavourful, almost milky white wine broth with shallots and parsley; the Minetta French Dip, featuring some of the most plush roast beef I've ever had on a warm baguette that has the most satisfying crunch; and the famous Minetta Burger, which doesn't look like much but is so perfect in its simplicity: the most flavourful, juicy, perfectly medium cooked beef patty with real cheddar and caramelized onions on a soft sesame bun — honestly one of the best burgers I've ever had the pleasure of eating. All three are served with massive cones of the most perfectly salted, crispy, golden fries.

The space is cramped as hell, but it's also classic New York: black and white checked floors, plush red leather booths, dim lighting, and old photos and caricatures on the walls. It reminds me of a 1920s speakeasy; unassuming but effortlessly classy. Service is warm, inviting, and attentive — our water glasses were constantly filled, and empty plates were promptly removed — but never suffocating. Overall, I had an incredible experience there, and it's easy to see how they can be consistently packed, even at 3:00 in the afternoon. Minetta Tavern focuses on perfecting classic dishes rather than reinventing them, and there's nothing wrong with that; they're proof that simplicity is key. It's a New York staple for a reason. 

Minetta Tavern
113 Macdougal Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 475-3850
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