113 Macdougal St. New York, NY 10012minettatavernny.com•
If it weren’t for the reputation, most people would walk right past this place. Even upon entering, there is honestly nothing worth mentioning that you might not find at 100 other places that look and feel just like it in the city. It’s a gastro pub.
Also, not a fan of the reservation process. First of all, they block out 6pm to 9pm for people who have VIP status. So, unless you know someone, which I fortunately did, you can’t get a table at a reasonable time. That said, you can always walk in and eat at the bar. But even that can be a 30-45 min wait, and the bar area is my definition of cramped hell. Not a place I would ever want to eat, with people leaning over you to get the bartender’s attention, placing their dirty glasses next to your plate, etc…
On the plus, the bar has some great cocktails. We each had the Rhubarb Sophie and it was VERY good. DUI good. If I wasn’t driving I probably would’ve had two more.
Another plus is the service. I know a lot of people have said that they are NY rude, but I guess I didn’t notice it. From hostess to bartender to waiter, every one was good.
Now for the main event, the food. Getting off to a bumpy start, I found the bread to be very disappointing. As was the special pork belly appetizer.
But then, the entrees came and holy burger heaven- the Black Label is everything they say it is. The meat is so moist and flavorful it’s as if they ground up baby angels to make it. The marinated onions and the bun- so good. Didn’t put a thing on it. No ketchup or mustard. Used them for the fries, which are just eh. If you want the best fries in the city (if not the country), try Ilili’s Phoenician Fries. But anyway- back to the burger. Patty for patty, probably the best burger meat I’ve ever had.
The Za Za pasta was also a solid good. Basically a slight variation on a carbonara. Compared to the burger though, you’d have to be crazy to order it- so I suppose I just insulted the wife. #doghouse
And last but not least, dessert. We went with the Grand Marnier souffle. Probably the best one I’ve ever had. Spot on perfect. And they don’t go light on the hooch.
So, between the burger and dessert it’s hard not to go 4 knives. But with the decor and opening misses, it’s also far from perfect.