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Good News/ Bad News Minetta Tavern

New, 8 comments
Krieger, 2/23/09

Greenwich Village: That's right. There are already enough online reviews—plenty really—to merit a Good News Bad News on the four day old Keith McNally revamp of Minetta Tavern. Ruth Reichl, Andrew Carmellini, Mimi Sheraton, and the hoi polloi have all chimed in on the look, the menu, the controversial $26 Black Label burger, and the cocktails. The good, the bad, and everything in between, coming up:

The Good News: Ruth Reichl tweets her thoughts: "Dinner at Minetta Tavern. Packed. Fun. Delicious. Great $26 burger (well, it should be). Marrow bones! Kind of funky Balthazar West." [Twitter] Update: And her full review is here. [Gourmet]

The Mostly Good News: Andrew Carmellini documents his meals on Grub Street today and includes this bit on Minetta: "Luke, me, Ken Friedman, Josh Picard, David Lynch, and April Bloomfield all met at Minetta Tavern. I had a salad pissenlit and a Black Label burger with fries. [Is it worth $26?] No comment....They were on point for the first night. The guy’s a genius what can I say. He kept the mirrors from the old Minetta Tavern, the room feels great, classic New York. [GS]

The Bad News: An Eater Commenter is not impressed with the cocktail list: "here we go again with the classic cocktail list. more stuff you don't want created by a guy that will never make one. let's find some obscure liquors and marry it with weirder bitters or purees and take 8 minutes to prepare the drink , only to be returned 3 minutes later for a glass of chard or a pinot grigio. isn't the age of Rhubarb Sophie over?" [Eater Comments]

The Not So Great News: Ubereater deems the space on point, the $26 burger...not so much: "The decor is impeccable - focused and relevant without seeming "themed" or deliberate. It actually feels cool in here. I was beginning to feel at home as I reveled in knowing that so much effort had gone into making something new, feel old, in a new way...In all honesty, the "Black Label" Burger although tasty and cooked medium rare as I had requested, was WAY undersized, and entirely hidden by the large doming bun...I generally appreciate the bistro feel...yet I wonder if the new Minetta is a bit too prissy for its own good..." [Ubereater]

The Really Good News: A commenter has a rave: "...i had a late dinner here last night and was very impressed. friendly crowd, fantastic service, and surprisingly delicious food. it was like eating in a bistro version of keens pub downtown...which i liked very much...the oxtail and foie terrine was rather good as was the cod cooked in newspaper. i had the black label burger for the first time and thought it was insanely good..." [Eater Commenter]

The Good News: And of course, former Times critic Mimi Sheraton chimed in with her friends and family impression: " is great to be able to say that a two-person tasting at Minetta this past Friday night resulted in these absolute winners...and so early in the game, too. What we loved were the oxtais and foie gras terrine, the 3 tartars, the grilled veal chop, the stupendous boned pigs' feet and the say nothing of the setting itself." [Eater Comments]

The Kind of Bad News: Granted these DBTH commenters haven't tried Minetta yet. But some are pissed about an inacuracy in the menu: "Now I'm just really bummed. Are you telling me Keith McNally doesn't know what bourbon is? The guy is offered $100 million for this incredible business he's built and he makes a rookie error on the menu at his new place? Would be like Bill Gates not knowing what a hard drive is..." [DBTH]

The Good News: We're not sure we get the "right for the times" statement viz a vi the Black Label Burger, but nevertheless, Gastro Chic is an early fan: "If Minetta Tavern is the next chapter, McNally has come up on top. He's wisely gotten away from Italian and back to his bistro roots...The Pat LaFrieda burger (called the "Black Label Burger" on the menu) that has inspired so much worship appears here, and, as steak meat ground into burger form, it's exactly right for the times. If we like to have our steak and eat it to, this is it - and yes, it's all it's cracked up to be. yes, it's all it's cracked up to be. [Gastro Chic]

Minetta Tavern

113 MacDougal Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (212) 475-3850 Visit Website