Thursday, August 12, 2010

Minetta Tavern

It is only right that Captain Carnivore should provide a guest post about Minetta Tavern...

My birthday was in February, but its stunning conclusion did not occur until mid July. Why? Because Erin and I are simply not cool enough to get a reservation at Minetta Tavern. Recently taken over by new owners and chefs, people such as Madonna and Gwenth Paltrow have taken to it like a fish to water. As a result we had to make a reservation 30 days in advance and could only get a weekday at 6pm.

I would have waited a year. The star attraction at Minetta Tavern is the Black Label Burger. Sourced from meat king Pat LaFrieda, who has created custom blends for many New York restaurants, this piece of meat was unlike any I have ever had. It has no peers. This burger continues the 80/20 ratio of meat to fat that is considered the standard for top burgers-- anything more is too much fat and creates flare up and anything less is too lean to have good flavor. This is not grass fed beef either, which, while humane simply does not have the flavor of corn fed beef. Anyway, this burger is an 8oz blend of dry aged rib eye (the same rib eye steak on the menu for $90), skirt steak, and brisket. They literally grind dry aged rib eye steak for the blend. If you want to know why the burger costs $26, this is why. Dry aged prime beef is very expensive. Now, it’s rare that something, anything, that receives this much hype actually lives up to the fanfare…but this burger does! I ordered mine medium. While not on the menu, they say you can get cheese, but really shouldn’t, so I didn’t. It also comes with caramelized onions which I usually don’t like, but this is how the chef prepares it so this is how I wanted it!

My burger arrived exactly as it was in the picture/card Erin gave to me on my birthday telling me she would take me here for dinner (quick side bar..isnt Erin the best!). [ET: I really didn't add this!] I did take a french fry first, which was fried and salted very nicely, then grabbed for the Black Label Burger. Taking a moment to let the anticipation subside, I took a bite of the beef that must be served in Heaven. It is so hard to put into words because it is unlike any burger you have ever had. [ET: don't think Matt's ever smiled so big in his life. Don Mattingly could have sat next to us and Matt would not have noticed!] The onions are just sweet enough to provide a light and crunchy flavor, while still letting the beef take center stage. If you don’t cook the beef right than nothing is going to work, and this was cooked more than perfect, just slightly pink in the middle. A very nice salty crust formed on the top of the burger, and you bite through that and the onions into a blend of beef that tastes like eating a steak. The burger is loosely packed yet stays in form and molds itself to the bun. I didn’t want to finish it; I let the last bite sit on the plate for a few minutes. When I was done, I wanted another.

I think Erin had a salad and a crab cake special, but I was so immersed in beefy glory she could have been eating crown rack of lamb and I might not have known. [ET: yes, I had a crab cake and a salad with warm goat cheese spread on baguette toasts. Not willing to declare a new crab cake champ, but I give Minetta props for a solid crab cake, with very little filler and a fresh, buttery crab flavor.]

[ET: you can also tell how much Matt loved his burger because he didn't mention our drinks, which I also enjoyed. I had a Stormy Cider, with fresh apple cider, rum, spices and lemon. Matt had a Blood and Sand with whiskey, cherries, oranges and vermouth. Both yummy...but mine was better!]

1 Comments:

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3:55 PM  

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