My protegé, dearest friend, and restauranteur David Shammah and I wanted to dine at Minetta Tavern for the longest time after seeing rave reviews especially focusing on the steak. We were discouraged because it never seemed possible to get a reservation no matter whose name we dropped. FInally we bit the bullet and took the reservation most people would never consider: 5:30 pm. I really don't mind eating that early--especially when the food is heavy. I can manage to skip lunch and not go to sleep feeling uncomfortable. I have to say the steak was so amazing I didn't notice how very noisy the place was until I returned for the hamburger that is (though that too was delicious). The little cast-iron pot of potatoes puréed with cheese called Aligot, which gave them a wonderfully stretchy quality, was dreamy. Maybe it was the impossible to resist roasted marrow bones pictured above with the steak and the perfect Balthazar baquettes, together with the richest steak I've ever tasted, not to mention those potatoes, conspired to make me feel slightly queasy by the end of the meal but without regrets. In fact I returned with Elliott--twice--for the special "blue ribbon" burger crowned with deeply caramelized onions! (The first time the french fries were the best I had ever tasted anywhere--they were perfect. But the second time they were slightly tough rather than crisp though still melting soft inside.)The burger is too good to disguise with ketchup but I did accept the offer of mustard for the fries. The desserts loodek very promising, especially the soufflés, but so far I haven't had room even to consider a taste. Elliott says next time to call him after I order for us as he can't tolerate the sound level but then neither can I. Here's a photo of the lovely historic paintings of the west village and a small glimpse of drawings of celebrities beneath them I took before being reproached gently but firmly that "policy discourages taking photos of the walls." Luckily policy doesn't attempt to discourage photos of the food as they would have trouble instituting it--especially with us New Yorkers!
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