Monday, March 21, 2011

My First Bone Marrow at Minetta Tavern

As I round out my 3rd year living in NYC, there are a few restaurants that have moved from my "Must Try" list to my "Seriously, Why Haven't I Gone There Yet?!" list. Per Se. Le Bernardin. Minetta Tavern. After last night, I can finally move the latter to the "Been There, Done That" list, and oh what an experience it was!
I'm working on an article on Bone Marrow (the kind you eat, not the kind in human bones) and when I polled my Twitter followers on where to get the best in the city, several people swore by Minetta Tavern's version. After a lazy Sunday afternoon, I rounded up my usual restaurant-going gear (my camera and my boyfriend) and hopped on the 1 train down to Christopher Street around 5pm. When I called Minetta earlier that day, they informed me that absolutely no reservations were available for that night, but if we showed up at 5 when the doors opened, we'd likely snag a few seats at the bar. Challenge accepted!

We walked in the door around 5:15 and the front bar was already pretty crowded. The hostess assured us that many of the patrons around the bar were just waiting to be shown to their reserved tables at 5:30, so we caught the bartender's attention and told him we needed 2 seats at the bar. They have a system in place where the bartenders control who sits at the bar to eat based on first come, first serve. No sketchy hovering for us, we would get the first 2 seats that opened. Brilliant!

As soon as the clock struck 5:30 (can we talk about how absurd it is that we were having dinner at 5:30 by the way? Early birds? US!?) 2 people got up and we had our seats. This is where the real adventure began. Regardless of the fact that the menu looked amazing, we had tunnel vision for the Bone Marrow and the Black Label Burger. We decided to skip the $15 cocktails to save some cash, and we anxiously awaited the arrival of the food.

I have to mention that there were 3 bartenders manning the bar, and they were all SO incredibly nice and helpful. We observed as they poured some mean-looking cocktails and waited on everyone in the bar. They were friendly, bubbly and all had huge smiles on their faces. I really appreciated this, and it made for a fantastic vibe.

As the plate of bones approached us, I began to have second thoughts. Could I do this? I mean, I'm an adventurous eater, but was I really about to eat the goo straight out of the bone?! My stomach did a few flip flops as the plate was placed in front of us. There was no turning back now.
I'm shocked at how much the sheer idea of the dish bothered me, but it did. Regardless, I scooped it out, put it on the toast, covered it with the accompanying garnish of roasted onions, closed my eyes and in she went. Okay... it was a little salty... and a little gooey... but it was pretty good.. okay, it was REALLY good... and before I knew it, we had cleaned out all 3 bones! Reflecting back on the dish, I have to say that I enjoyed it even though the concept and the consistency made me a little queasy. Since I am planning to try 2-3 more bone marrow dishes at other restaurants, I hope it gets easier with each experience.

Then the burger arrived. I have heard many say that the Minetta Tavern Black Label Burger is the best in the city (Rev, care to weigh in?) so we knew we had to try it. We decided to split the $26 hunk of beef on a bun and when it arrived my first thought was that it was TEENY tiny. Since we were splitting it, I'd say it was about 4 bites per half. Not nearly enough burger for the expensive price tag.
We ordered it Medium Rare and I'm happy to say our burger was practically mooing. I often find with rare beef that it can have a slightly metallic flavor but I'm happy to report that this burger had no such negative quality. The burger was delicious! Smothered in carmelized onions and served with the advice to avoid condiments, it was simple but tasty. Juice flowed from the meat with every bite, and I thoroughly enjoyed my portion. Again, it would have been nice if it was a little bigger, but I guess that's what we get for sharing a burger.

I plan to return to Minetta Tavern to try the rest of the menu, and maybe have a Black Label Burger all to myself!

Okay, let's hear it, what are your thoughts on Bone Marrow? Love it? Hate it? Repulsed by the thought of it (mom)? I'm planning to have the Bone Marrow at Beauty & Essex tomorrow night and at either Landmarc, Blue Ribbon or Prune later this week (suggestions welcome.)

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie

PS- Check out this post on the Bone Marrow craze on MMMelody's blog

1 comment:

  1. OMG....had to skip over the picture. Just not my cuppa tea as u well know. And that burger!!!! Holy cow and I do mean COW.....not just mooing on that plate but check under left you some milk as well! I will take 3 TR's please!