Minetta Tavern is one of the those places that I had always heard about, but had never actually been. My husband really wanted to try it, whether it was for dinner or brunch. We had our hearts set on Sushi Yasuda for dinner, so we opted to go to Minetta for brunch. I think going to a place for brunch is a good way to try somewhere new without committing to a long dinner.
All I knew before going to Minetta Tavern was that it’s an old classic New York establishment and that it was famous for meat. I had seen it appear on several notable “Best Steakhouse” lists over the years. Minetta Tavern is definitely classic New York. It has been around since the mid 1900s, and use to be the hangout spot of Ernest Hemingway and E.E. Cummings to name a few. The people who used to hang out there probably wouldn’t be able to afford it now, but that’s the theme of many of the historic NYC establishments.
Here we are en route like we’re embarking on some special covert operation mission. Someone’s complaining on SnapChat about me copying his Porsche Design sunglasses. Smh. Who bought those sunglasses?
The outside of the restaurant is inconspicuous for a one Michelin star restaurant. Don’t mind me, just adjusting my coat:After you walk through the front door, you go through a thick velvet curtain, and then you’re at the hostess stand. I felt immediately warm! It’s the perfect place to go on a gray, cold, windy day when you want to escape the outside. Minetta Tavern is very cozy, and has an extremely hectic but romantic feel to it. It’s very compact, the ceilings are low, and it’s a cramped space for sure. It definitely gives off the cool Parisian vibe that it’s trying to evoke. Aren’t all Parisian bistros too small? Lol.
We sat at the bar because the restaurant was full of reservations, the space is small and we didn’t feel like waiting for a table. They do have coat check, and I highly suggest checking coats whether you’re at the bar or at a table.Here’s our spot at the bar and my “Minetta Mary.” I plan to sit at the bar again next time, unless I am able to reserve one of the private booths because the back was just too cramped for me. It’s also fun to watch the bartenders make cocktails, and see what types of drinks other people are ordering. Also, I absolutely love that they put a white dinner napkin at your bar spot. It not only elevates the experience, but it stakes your territory at the bar and defines your space.The brunch menu has its own twist, and you’re also able to order certain items from their regular dinner menu. I had originally planned on eating steak or a big juicy burger, but I really needed some vegetables. I know, I know, you’re judging my order, but I was here for the experience and I was not able to handle a meat meal at that moment. Next time, I plan to go starving, and order their famous “Black Label Burger” or one of their meat cuts. My husband had the “Minetta Omelette” and I had the “Avocado & Eggs On Balthazar Levain.” Balthazar bread is obviously amazing and the radish and tomato salsa was fresh, fragrant, and exactly what I was craving. (Note: Keith McNally, the restauranteur who opened Minetta Tavern, also runs Balthazar. The styles of the restaurants are all very similar — French, bistro, brasserie, fogged mirrors, dim lighting, you get the picture.)We had to move on and run a couple errands during the day, so we were not able to try more rounds of cocktails. They definitely have an extensive cocktail menu, and everything they made while we were at the bar looked delicious. At the end of the meal, they hand you the bill paper-clipped to a Minetta Tavern postcard:
Au revoir Minetta Tavern!
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