Keith McNally and his team have a particular genius in creating themed restaurants fashioned after another time or place. Balthazar, Pastis Pravda and Schiller’s to name a few. Excellent food, a casual atmosphere and moderate prices make these restaurants favorites of many New Yorkers. Testament to their popularity is that they are always busy, any day, any time of year. In fact, we never miss stopping at Balthazar when we are in that part of the City and Minetta now joins that group as one of our favorites.
Minetta Tavern was opened in 1937 on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. Over the years it became a hang-out for various literary types including Ernest Hemingway and Dylan Thomas. The McNally group took over in 2008 and despite extensive renovations, the restaurant looks like you would imagine it looked in the 30s, mahogany bar, black and white tile floors, wood paneled walls covered with photographs, tin ceilings, red banquettes, crisp white tablecloths and gleaming stemware. Today, the restaurant is one of the most sought after reservations in the City.
Menu highlights include appetizers like classic beef tartare, roasted bone marrow, salt cod, potatoes and summer truffles and entrees like their to-die-for Black Label burger, a selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts with caramelized onions and pommes frites, roasted free range chicken with braised chard and pommes aligot and of course the bone-in New York strip which is one of the best steaks I have had in New York. A selection of farmstead cheeses and a glass of port end a truly memorable meal.
About 18 wines by the glass priced in the $15-$22 range and with good selections. The full wine list has good choices but is a bit pricey. Great tap and bottled beer choices like Old Speckled Hen and St-Feuillien Saison and an excellent assortment of spirits, many of which you probably haven’t even heard about like Wray and Nephew rum and Basil Heyden’s bourbon.
WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“Nostalgia trip” meets “trendiness” at Keith McNally’s “energetic” Village “standout” that revives a circa-1937 tavern with “vintage” knickknacks, “snappy” service and “excellent” French fare including a “mind-blowing” Black Label burger (“holy cow!”); the prospect of “famous” faces in the back room keeps it a “tough table”, despite digs “more crowded than the subway.” ZAGAT
“The best steakhouse in the city” Frank Bruni, New York Times
“Another McNally Time and Again Mirage. There’s pleasure in everything we’re eating.” Gael Greene, The Insatiable Critic
“The setting itself is classic McNally genius and feels as it did 60 years ago.” Mimi Sheraton, former food critic, New York Times.