This is the infamous Minetta Tavern. I had been here back in mid 2010s, and it was pretty good. Before I met my partner, I used to come here once every few months to just scarf their Black Label burger. The price for this was just barely over $20. Now in recent times post-pandemic, it’s been a bit more difficult to walk in without reservations. We were able to sit at the bar on a Friday late-afternoon around 4:55 PM without reservations.
Ambiance & Service
Note that this place feels very old school, almost like a French cafe feel attracting hustling New Yorkers who are looking for a quick night. The bar is actually quite claustrophobic (elbow to elbow), but the bartenders do a good job laying out the napkins over your dining area if you were planning on having dinner. Because reservations are fully booked up, walk-ins can only sit at the bar.
The food service itself felt a bit on the slower side. It took easily 30 minutes or so for some of the bar diners to get their food. I’m not sure if it was the kitchen being slow or if there were many diners. Regardless, it could’ve been better.
This place is known for the Black Label burger, which is now a whopping $38 in 2023. Personally in the past, I thought the burger was good, but questionable at premium price. Today, I have doubts that I will be happy spending $38 on a burger with premium ingredients. Is it really going to matter that much after it’s cooked? At a later day when I order this again, I’ll update it with a picture.
We ended up ordering other items off the menu.
The Soupe à l’Oignon ($23) came with Gruyère and a baguette. This is of course a French onion soup. What’s a little different about this compared to other places such as Boucherie is that the broth is more savory than sweet. I actually prefer this vs the others. There’s also plenty of cheesy goodness in the soup, and it’s not too salty. The price is definitely a bit up there, but it’s nice to be spoiled once in a while.
The Housemade Tagliatelle ($35) came with duck ragoût, rosemary, paprika breadcrumbs, and parmesan. The tagliatelle was like a very thin, wide egg pasta. It was delicious with the duck and the sauce, but I definitely felt the price to be steep at $35. The duck ragoût was definitely salty on its own.
The Steak Frites ($48) came with maître d’butter sauce. I thought the flavors of the steak were quite good, though there were some tendons in the steak. The fries were cooked in peanut oil, and it definitely had a delicious crunch to it despite being salty. I did end up drinking a lot of water while eating the fries.
Minetta Tavern is a Keith McNally staple in Greenwich Village and is a very good restaurant to checkout if you are around the area and in the mood for French or burgers. It definitely has some notoriety, so the prices are a bit more expensive than what it once was. If you’d like to dine at a table, you definitely need to make reservations ahead of time.
The perfect burger does exist. Their “Black Label Burger” checks all the boxes (temperature, cook, and presentation). They even know the blends of the meat they use in the burger.
Unfortunately this Elitist missed the most important thing in a “perfect” burger: taste. The meat blend that they use in the burger is a selection of prime dry aged beef cuts. Ask yourself this. If you grind a bunch of meat together in a burger then layer it with ketchup, are you going to really taste the meat blend? It’s one of those things where the colorful description of the burger tricks you into thinking it’s the best ever. It’s definitely good, but it’s far from perfect.
This being said, for a $40 burger, even with high-quality meat, you’d expect a bit more on there. Cheese? Bacon? Not sure…. It was a very nice indulgence and I left very full. But I feel like I’d add something else to it!
I think this is where it gets you. Burgers generally are all about the composition of condiments and how it all comes together into 1 bite. This burger’s price really will be about the “quality” of meats in the patty because they want you to taste the meat and not be distracted by other condiments. The fact that this Elitist is asking about more things on there implies the burger is a bit one dimensional.
- May 26, 2023 - Updated post and added Steak Fries and Homemade Tagliatelle.
- Sep 9, 2018 - Initial revision.