“There he goes again,” we thought, conjuring up the image of countless restaurants over-rated during his tenure.
But we’ll give Bruni credit for one thing: the man likes his steak, and he likes it the same way we do: dry-aged prime, with a crunchy charred crust. So if Bruni thought Minetta was the city’s best, we figured it certainly wouldn’t be bad. We had to try it.
There are really only two options, a bone-in New York strip and a côte de boeuf for two. I’m leaving aside the Tavern Steak ($21), which looked pretty good when another diner had it, but it’s neither aged nor prime. And I’m also ignoring the filet mignon, which can never be a serious test. And since I was alone, that côte de boeuf wasn’t an option either.
The strip it was. And, oh my! was it good: more marbled than the typical strip, cooked on the bone to give it more flavor, and including a “tail” of half meat, half fat that most restaurants trim off. Equally impressive, it was just $36.
I cannot say for sure that it was better than the Steak for One at Wolfgang’s, which was $0.50 more expensive the last time I had it. But it was certainly as good, and certainly more remarkable for being served on the bone, which few restaurants do.
A side of leafy spinach ($8) was commendably done, but not memorable the way the steak was.
Once again, I sat at the bar, which had just one stool available at 5:30 p.m. Service was a bit more distracted than last time, when I had the burger. This place is bursting at the seams. When I left, at around 6:45, there was a hostess standing outdoors with names on a clipboard. I wouldn’t call her a bouncer—actually, she was quite friendly—but I gather her job was to turn away walk-ins.
We’ll go ahead and give the steak 3 stars, since we haven’t had better, but you’ll have to put up with some hassles if you want to try it.
Minetta Tavern (113 MacDougal Street between Bleecker & W. 3rd Streets, Greenwich Village)