New York Hotspot: Minetta Tavern

Walk into Minetta Tavern on any night of the week and it’s as though you’ve gone from black and white to color; the joint, it jumps. There’s a feeling of old New York to it, which makes sense since this city institution was first established in the 1930s. Thanks to restaurateur Keith McNally of Balthazar fame, what was a decrepit chophouse has been resurrected as a hybrid steak house-brasserie with all its vintage trappings--murals and framed caricatures--left intact. Chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr teamed up with renowned meat distributor Pat La Frieda, who created an onsite aging room for the exceptional rib eyes. The latter are combined with brisket, skirt, and short-rib to form the seminal Black Label burger (definitely worth trying). As for the French side of things, appetizers like the mussel soup or oxtail-and-foie gras terrine are spot-on, while the trout meunière and stuffed pig’s trotter also please. Make sure to get an order of roasted bone marrow for the table, sample the potato options, and, for dessert, request a chocolate soufflé--it’s worth the wait.  (212.475.3850, www.minettatavernny.com)

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