Minetta Tavern (II)

Minetta Tavern

Minetta TavernI had only been to this joint once in my life. And I recall it being dark and shabby and somewhat on the depressing, retirement home side. No wonder Keith McNally seized the place and basically rehabbed it as Pastis North or, uh, Schiller’s West. Of course the whole French steakhouse with its black and white floors and tin ceilings mixed with some of the gnarly old world red banquets and black and white photography a la The Palm just feels welcoming in the old world way a restaurant should. All in all, the effect is pretty dang Minetta Tavernclassy and timeless. The restaurant really commits to the throwback bit. It also commits to being popular, as my struggle to find a decent reservation could attest. But, hey, early bird is the new hipster. At the time we went, there were some groups of ladies wrapping up their post-shopping gabfest and some other folks who were either middle-aged tourists or folks down from Upper West Side or reverse slumming it from Jersey. And while that may sound kind of dreadful on the surface, it was actually quite pleasant in that there was not a drop of cynicism amongst the crowd, but rather genuine glee for the close company, spirits and meat. We looked at our neighbor’s food and drinks. They looked at ours. We quipped, we laughed, we drank some strong-ass booze. And then we ordered the Dry Aged Côte de Boeuf. And holy fuck if that wasn’t an intense-looking piece of beef. Surrounded by several long bones filled with rich marrow, the perfectly steakhouse medium rare (which is rarer than non-steakhouse medium rare) pile of cow was stunning in its marbled beauty. It’s their trademark cut, it’s expensive and it’s worth it when your love is staring adoringly at you while shoveling bovine flesh into her face. I wish I was cool (or rich) enough to make restaurants like this a regular thing, and not just a special-occasion, event-driven night out on the town, but if you’re like me (and God help you if you are), this re-imagining of a classic will have you dreaming of charred flesh and French accouterment months on. [MF]

113 Macdougal St.

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Cote de Boeuf

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