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Minetta Tavern

I’ve written about Minetta Tavern before (here, here), and as far as background goes, I have little to add. I keep wondering if quality will suffer, given that it is perpetually packed and could probably float on reputation for years to come.

In four visits, I’ve only sat at the bar. Walk-in tables are never available at the hours I’ve gone, nor is it reservable at the times I want to eat. But the bar is really just an extension of the dining room: most people seated there order food.

The food remains excellent. If they’re capable of serving a bad dish, I haven’t seen it yet. The main menu is fairly static—except for the prices, which keep going up—but there is a printed specials menu that changes reasonably often. On a Monday evening a couple of weeks ago, everything we ordered was from that menu.

At $18, a Brussels Sprouts salad (above left) was no bargain, but despite the humble-looking photo, it’s studded with bacon and egg, a dream of a dish.


Sea Bass ($36; above left) seems to be the default fish that every restaurant must offer (having apparently replaced salmon and swordfish). This version of it was just about perfect.

But the dish I’ll remember for a long time was the Calves Liver ($34; above right), so thick and hearty it could be a steak, with a charred skin as if it were a steak. This was the best liver dish I can recall, anywhere.

The formula here remains what it was: deceptively simple things that they knock out of the ballpark. Our food bill was $88 for two entrées and a shared salad. Most of the entrées are above $30, but you can eat for less. The Minetta Burger is still just $17 and worth every penny; the Tavern Steak, at $26, although it is not the best steak they serve, still puts many other places’ steaks to shame.

Wine will plump up the bill, no matter what you do. It’s a good diverse list, but with very little below $60 a bottle.

There are a lot of Minetta dishes still on my bucket list — I’m still looking for an occasion to try the côte de boeuf for two (now $134), and the roasted bone marrow looks incredible. That’s for another day.

Minetta Tavern (113 MacDougal Street between Bleecker & W. 3rd Streets, Greenwich Village)

Food: ***
Service: **
Ambiance: *½
Overall: **½

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