Bruni Praises Minetta Tavern’s Meat; Table 8 Shows Skill

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Frank Bruni awards three stars to Minetta Tavern, surprisingly naming it “the best steakhouse in the city” while praising its sophisticated appetizers and versatility. As for the fabled Black Label burger, it’s not love at first sight: “It’s without question a riveting experience, because burgers seldom pack the discernible tang and funk of aged beef. But for that same reason, it’s unsettling and arguably too intense.” [NYT]

Danyelle Freeman visits Brooklyn’s Vutera, where she enjoys “no-frills food” like bavette steak, braised lamb shank, and poussin produced on electric stoves. [NYDN]
Related: What to Eat at Vutera, Now Open in Williamsburg

Over at Smith’s, Jay Cheshes is unimpressed by a “kitchen too often falling just short of the mark,” adding that the dishes “seemed more appropriate to a dinner party in a Manhattan apartment than a restaurant helmed by a chef who’s worked under Alain Ducasse.” [TONY]

“Nothing on the menu is revolutionary,” declares Gael Greene of the apparently noisy Table 8. Still, she notes, “mating of flavor and texture this skilled is rare” and “[t]he savvy and compassion of the pricing certainly helps.” [Insatiable Critic]
Related: Inside Table 8

Despite its location in “what must be Manhattan’s last characterless quarter,” Mike Peed finds Bar Breton‘s menu “packed with marvellous, intricately rendered things, popping with clever ingredients and fresh flavors.” [NYer]

Robert Sietsema checks out El Almacén in Williamsburg, where the menu extends beyond Argentinean cuisine to include Mexican and Italian options. While most of the entrées are good, “you can’t go wrong in making a meal of appetizers and side dishes.” [VV]