Restaurace Mincovna

Staroměstské nám. 930/7110 00 Prague, Czech Republic • Staré Město, Praha 1+420 727 955 669restauracemincovna.cz

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I’m back baby! Sorry for the hiatus to those of you who were heavily relying on someone to speak the truth amidst a sea of fake news, but my other job got kinda busy.

Excuses aside, there is absolutely no excuse for why this place is so damn good, because by all conventional wisdom, it should be touristy crap. Located right in tourist hell central, on the Northwest corner of the Old Town Square, Mincovna somehow manages to zag against all low expectations and nails it on all fronts. The setting is modern and clean (pictured), whilst paying homage to the arches and catacombs of its medieval surroundings. It’s also quite sizeable, so if you didn’t make a reservation, chances are you can just walk right in.

For a drink, I highly recommend doing as the locals and getting a fresh, ice cold stein of Pilsner Urquell. Yes, it’s basically like Coca-cola around here, meaning you can get it everywhere, except a nursery ward in the hospital, although I’m not even sure about that, to be honest.

The reason for said recommendation, however, isn’t to be a lemming, but rather because the cuisine here goes so friggin’ well with it!

Speaking of which, let me start by saying, “Pickled cheese!? Where have you been all my life?!” Shockingly this has yet to make it to the states, and I’m about to write a letter to someone, because it’s a massive culinary oversight. Now, in case you’re wondering WTF is pickled cheese, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. It’s pickled cubes of white cheese in a mason jar with herbs, scallions, sunflower oil, hot chili peppers and pickled onions on the side. Served with a buttery, soft Bavarian pretzel.

Another must-get is the beef tartar, served with a wonder smoky mayonnaise, marinated chanterelles and topped with a marrow parsley salad, because why not? Obviously there’s toast too, but you could eat this off a plank of balsa wood and it would be incredible.

For entrees, the cauliflower pancakes, while admittedly a bit of a zag to get, are insanely good. As is the sausage, the gnocci and the brisket. The only average dishes of the lot for me are the trout and schnitzel. I’d skip those in favor of the more interesting fare.

And while it’s a bit of a classic, with not much of a twist, the apple strudel is pretty darn good too, assuming you are some freak of nature and actually have some room left in your stomach.

So, all in, I’m giving Mincovna a super strong four and a hearty thank you for proving the old adage true once again, you can’t judge a book by its touristy cover.

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Rothbard Ale & Larder

90 Post Rd EWestport, CT 06880 • 203) 557-9666 • rothbardct.com

Rothbart is not a bar. Nor is it a restaurant. It is an Eastern European godsend filled with beer that flows like happiness dipped in gold and dishes that will have you thinking you’re in Prague, not Westport.

The setting alone couldn’t be more perfect really, with it’s castle-esque, basement dining room off the corner of an alley (of the charming variety). Which proves to be a living testament to just how good this place is, because it’s plenty busy for a place that isn’t that easy to find. In fact, the only reason we went there was because the wait was ridic at Bar Taco. And I’m so glad it was!

Beyond having kickass tripel beer on tap and in bottle, the bartender Adam is the perfect blend of sarcasm and wry- yet Johnny on the spot with his service and the recos.

Of the starters, I think I’d give it to the cannibal toast by a nose. Essentially a deftly balanced beef tartar spread over toast and over and out. We horked it down so fast I’m lucky I still have all ten fingers.

After that, an extremely close second would be the mussels, cooked in a beer-based broth that rivals any white wine version I’ve ever had.

The pretzel is also a solid option, but not by comparison to its predecessors. And truth be told, if it’s pretzel you want, then save yourself for the bratwurst platter. It is everything right with this world all on one cutting board. A beautifully charred brat, bursting at the seams with flavor. A ramekin of tallegio, a pile of cornichon, a dollop of grain mustard and last but not least, a pretzel roll that is every bit as good as the solo act, only with this dish you can doll it up into a bratwurst sandwich worthy of the gods.

The other starter I would giddily recommend is the deviled egg appetizer. Not quite as impressive as the ones over at The Whelk, but that’s a mighty high bar to be fair. These are topped with pickled pearl onions and trout roe and are hot damn delicious.

The only real miss for me is the chicken schnitzel. It’s really quite bland and lacking the accouterments to make it interesting. Essentially, it’s like ordering one gigantic chicken finger that covers your entire plate.

But getting back to the wowzers, be sure to get the salted apple pie as your closer. It is deceptively simple, yet magnificent in every metric imaginable.

This is not the place for the faint of heart, however. So if you’re on a diet and looking for a light bite, you really shouldn’t come here unless you’re willing to fall off the wagon. Hard.