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Minetta Tavern, in West Village since 1937 - Featuring Pat Lafrieda's $26 Burger on 113 McDougal Street


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Minetta Tavern

113 MacDougal St.

New York, NY 10012

http://www.minettatavernny.com/

If ever there were a drink that was alone worth the time and expense of traveling to New York, it might be the Green Mary at Minetta Tavern ($14). A Bloody Mary made with fresh green tomatoes, it has a sweet smokiness that lingers on the palate for minutes and on the brain far longer. Literally every time I have an ordinary Bloody Mary, or even a good one, I think about this drink. This trip, I had my Green Mary with the Black Label Burger ($26). For the price it should, at least, come with bacon. Really, really good bacon, made by monks in the Black Forest, from hogs raised on a diet of Champagne and truffles. Or maybe some cheese. But, whatever, it's a good burger. It does come topped with well carmelized onions and a side of nicely crisp, but kind of bland fries. And a really, really good pickle. Unlike the drink, the burger is not the sort of thing you lust after. But I'd get it again, even considering the cost. I'm a sucker for a good burger.

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Coincidentally enough, my wife and I, along with another friend, were at Minetta Tavern this past Saturday night. Strangely enough, the bartender recognized me from another McNally restaurant we are known to frequent, so that was nice.

We didn't have the Green Mary, but my wife's Aviation was perfectly made; the bar in this place is just a classic. And that burger - while the price tag seems crazy, those fries alone run $10 on the menu, and they're the equivalent of the fries at most McNally places - that is, very good, imo. I don't know about missing bacon on this burger, which is made from the trimmings from their aged, prime beef - and it's great. Perfectly cooked, good bun, and the funkiness that comes from dry aged beef. Couldn't ask for more from a burger.

Here are Bourdain and Ozersky at Minetta Tavern contemplating that burger...

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If ever there were a drink that was alone worth the time and expense of traveling to New York, it might be the Green Mary at Minetta Tavern ($14). A Bloody Mary made with fresh green tomatoes, it has a sweet smokiness that lingers on the palate for minutes and on the brain far longer. Literally every time I have an ordinary Bloody Mary, or even a good one, I think about this drink. This trip, I had my Green Mary with the Black Label Burger ($26). For the price it should, at least, come with bacon. Really, really good bacon, made by monks in the Black Forest, from hogs raised on a diet of Champagne and truffles. Or maybe some cheese. But, whatever, it's a good burger. It does come topped with well carmelized onions and a side of nicely crisp, but kind of bland fries. And a really, really good pickle. Unlike the drink, the burger is not the sort of thing you lust after. But I'd get it again, even considering the cost. I'm a sucker for a good burger.

It's only been 24 hours since I had it, but I'm most definitely lusting after that burger.

:rolleyes: <-- that's me, still thinking about it.

The amazing thing is just how simple it is.  Bun, beef, grilled onions.  You can choose to put the lettuce and tomato on if you want.  This isn't fancy, it's just the beef has got such great flavor.  There's nothing else I can do to describe it except say it's really beefy.  As to the price, if you think of it as a really good steak, just ground up, that helps.  I've paid $28 dollars for a steak before.

Oh, and apparently the Green Mary is only served on weekends.

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Had a client dinner at Minetta last night. It should be noted that the famous "Black Label" burger is now $28. Our group of three split three appetizers - two orders of Hamachi crudo (radish, fennel, hearts of palm, lemon) and fried quail. The hamachi crudo was excellent - the large pieces of hamachi were slightly chilled, and the accoutrements added the necessary brightness and spice to balance out the dish. Perfect for a humid day in NY. The quail was presented as a mini fried chicken, and it was good, but not particularly memorable.

We had a significant delay in between our appetizer and main courses as the Health Inspector apparently showed up during our stay. Our server alerted us to the issue and apologized, which wasn't necessary. Our mains arrived, and we had a Black Label burger and a cote de boeuf for two. The ribeye was presented whole, then sliced and returned to the table with marrow bones and some watercress. The beef was excellent - perfectly cooked, with a nce crust and plenty of dry age funk. I had a few bites of the black label burger, and it was ok. Very "beefy" flavor, if needing a bit of salt. The onions were very nice, and added a lot of richness to the already rich burger. That said, while this is a very good burger, I'd still put the original DB burger ahead of it in the "tavern burger" pecking order.

Service was uneven - we waited about 5-10 minutes after sitting down to have our drink order taken (the wine list is pretty mediocre, btw), and our server disappeared for long stretches during the meal, which impeded our ability to order another bottle of wine, etc. That was contrasted by the excellent way in which the entree delay was proactively communicated by both the server and the manager. Ultimately not a big deal, but fairly surprising to have two ends of the spectrum in the same meal.

Our client enjoyed the dinner, so mission accomplished on that front. Personally I'd return to Minetta tavern, likely for the veal porterhouse, which looked incredible - but would likely skip the burger.

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