THE BURGERS (yeah, they deserve caps)

You know if someone’s eaten the Black Label burger at Minetta Tavern, because they just won’t stop talking about it. Like, ever.

When Verena and I got on the subject of burgers a couple of weeks ago, we decided that it just had to happen: we’d journey down to Minetta to taste-test the $26 Black Label Burger and the $16 Minetta Burger (which Frank Bruni has actually decreed better than its pricier rival) side-by-side.

The Black Label burger is one of the more storied foodie items in the city. Seriouseats has an extraordinarily comprehensive run-down of how the thing (which I would hesitate to call a burger, so far is it from tasting like what one would expect from a meat patty swaddled in bun) is made, but suffice it to say that it’s an elaborate process, including dry-aged ribeye, brisket, and skirt steak in secret proportions, brioche from Balthazar Bakery, and onions that are griddled just-so in the beef juices.

The Minetta Burger, a blend of brisket and short rib, is more along the lines of what you’d expect – which isn’t to say that it’s anything short of spectacular. It comes with cheddar cheese (the Black Label does not, and you’re not encouraged to mess with success), and is less…well, oppressive. OK, honest? I thought the Minetta Burger was worlds better than the Black Label burger. The Black Label burger is super-rich, intense…funky. To me, it was more of an experience than a great meal. Fortunately, Verena vehemently disagreed, and she happily took the remainder of my half of the Black Label off my hands so I could concentrate on the good stuff (which included the pickle – total perfection).

The expertly mixed Ketel One dirty martinis, by the way, deserve special mention: they might just be the best I’ve ever had. I wanted to give the bartender a kiss.

Note: images via seriouseats & beefaficionado ; as I learned on my first trip to Minetta, photos are discouraged…and this time I wanted to obey the rules 🙂

  • J.J.

    Hi Jordan, Recently I've liked some of your content, but I really was surprised by this and some other posts, that have disturbed me and some others. Your blog is packed to the gills with really, really, really unhealthy food. It seems a bit backward given the climate. We all know, as you constantly mention, that you are super-blesssed with an amazing metabolism and can be a stick and eat terrible food constantly. But not sure your readers are. And I'm not sure I see the point in constantly encouraging awful eating. Guide to happiness? Really? Most of my intelligent friends by this day have realized they need to cut down on drinking (something that is mentioned WAY too much on your site–you seem to drinks lots daily, plus you post videos where you seem really drunk) and have even opted to be a vegetarian. You may look “good,” but it doesn't mean you are healthy. This type of eating seems really, like, 80s to me. Also which of your readers really wants to spent $30 on a burger? Who is this site for?

    • trees!

      yeah, who like burgers and drinking and dancing around to '90s songs? and PUPPIES? did 't you know this is supposed to be a vegetarian/abstinence site, jordan?

      • nygal

        ugghhhh SO annoying! what is wrong w people?? talking about a burger or some fries – please! jordan is not force feeding people. she is writing about what she enjoys. clearly people are sad and empty in their lives to intentionally log onto a blog that they KNOW brings them much ire. what is the point? i know do not enjoy cauliflower, thus, why would i eat some and then complain about it?

        jordan, dont even waste your time responding to these sad folks. use your time writing for the rest of us who appreciate it 😉

    • Rebecca

      I agree that this sort of content isn't in line with the current “climate,” but it does reflect the way my friends and I actually live our lives. We work hard and play hard. We eat burgers, get tipsy during happy hour, and don't eat enough vegetables.

      I don't need another blog with posts about salads and exercise to remind me that my lifestyle isn't all that healthy. When I'm reading for diversion, I prefer content that reflects my true lifestyle.

    • jordanreid

      The purpose of this site is to bring readers happiness – and to explore the idea of what happiness means to each individual, sans finger-wagging or high-horseing – and since you also took issue with the number of entries in the TJ Maxx contest, lobbying odd (and false) accusations against me, I'd venture that this site isn't bringing you a whole lot of joy. There are lots of sites out there that do talk about nutrition, exercise, what have you…but this isn't one of them, and you'll be hard pressed to get me to apologize for my lifestyle, which I'm pretty happy with and proud of. I wish you the best of luck finding the right place on the internet for you.

    • Kat

      I don't think this site is “encouraging” unhealthy habits in any way. I am a distance running and I'm definitely conscious of how I eat (as too much junk not only affects my races but my mood in general). That said, I would never deprive myself of the occasional burrito, burger, beer, what have you. You make your own choices. This site is simply highlighting fashion, food, entertainment tips/suggestions. It is by no means professing that readers should adopt a certain lifestyle. If a post does not appeal to your senses, move on to the next (or to a new site). Negative posts really are a waste of breath for sites like this.

    • Rachel

      Don't know about you, but juicy burgers sure do bring me happiness!

      Jordan, your reply was very gracious and classy. You're A-OK in my book. 🙂

  • lovesclothes

    Oy! Minetta Tavern… My boyfriend and I went here for his birthday because he desperately wanted to have THE black label burger. Maybe our palettes are not as refined to notice the nuances of the different meats that have been blended to make this burger, but we were sorta meh about it. That said, I had the dressed beets and they were absolutely divine. One of the best things I have ever eaten.

    And the drinks! Oh my god the drinks were great. Especially the absinthe cocktail they have. I can't remember its name, but it is hands down one of the best drinks ever. That or a cocktail from Freeman's will just about make the night.

    • jordanreid

      Right?! I also didn't really like the cote de bouef, which Kendrick and I split when we went to Minetta for our anniversary. I suppose my palate isn't that refined either 😉

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  • J.J.

    I don't get it. I wrote a perfectly reasonable, intelligent post and I get this? Who are you people? Jordan's friends? And why get so heated, Jordan? I began by saying I liked some recent content. I think I bring up a legitimate concern that many very intelligent bloggers have taken seriously. I think it at least deserves some consideration. Are you turning into Julia? Beyond criticism?
    And if you were savvy enough about the internet, you'd know that many companies do unleash their own on sites when they run promotions. I was just surprised to see you suddenly get so many comments on that TJ Maxx post, suddenly. I didn't make some slanderous accusation! Your tone is so imperious, so catty, so holier-than-thou and those who are “defending” you don't seem to offer particularly educated-sounding defenses either. Who IS this site for? I don't constantly hate on your site, but there is no site on earth that doesn't get some criticism. You are new to the internet–you will of course make mistakes. Why can't you deal with it?

    • low horse

      Wait a minute, J.J. Asserting conspiracies isn't reasonable, and a legitimate concern would be a question (not an insult).
      This is, what, your fourth bitter comment/rhetorical question in a row? That's an agenda, Jerri, not a conversation. I'd say you're too irresponsible regarding the facts and too eager for blood to be taken seriously. You clearly have a personal vendetta. I would lay off on calling yourself intelligent; I'd prove it first. I'd also watch saying the other readers on this site – and Jordan! – are not “particularly educated-sounding.” You're wrong, but more importantly, I don't care who's educated. I like them. I don't like you.
      I'm not defending Jordan, I'm saying I think you're a dick.

      • Annoying

        J.J. you never have anything positive to say on any site you comment on — yes, we must read a lot of the same sites. It is tiresome. Why would you spend so much time and negative energy on blogs you only complain about? Be happy! Life is short!

    • brianna

      Top 10 ways J.J. could better channel her aggression:

      10. Email Ann Coulter.
      9. Chop wood.
      8. Write for Pitchfork.
      7. Play whack-a-mole with little pictures of Jordan instead of moles.
      6. Take showers with warm water instead of ice cold water.
      5. Wrestle a wild bear.
      4. Make baking soda erupt from science fair volcanoes simply by looking at them.
      3. Self-flagellate.
      2. Drink a glass of wine and relax.
      1. Anything.

  • J.J.

    This is actually just getting pathetic. Calling me a “dick?” Is this what you want on your site, Jordan? This is beyond ghetto. Self-flagellate? Email Ann Coulter? I'm actually a person of color, maybe the first on this site. And my argument with burgers and beer talk constantly was that it sounded to me like Bush's America actually, not Obama's (where he got dissed for being an arugla-eater). Thinking I was pointing out conspiracies is just insane–conspiracies were the wording of one other commenter and Jordan. Not me. Which brings me to really conclude these commenters really may just be Jordan in various forms, Kendrick, and/or her group of close friends. Because part of my job has been internet analysis and I see almost no other site around that gets this sort of rabid-dog defense of a blogger, when you make a polite criticism. In no part of my comment was there an insult but now I'm getting attacked. I guess you get the type of readers, you deserve. I'm happy not to look on anymore and alert my many friends who've looked here to do the same. Because it seems weird to me that an internet newbie would also get totally unprecedented-style comments and web-commenter-behavior. I know Jordan already edits a lot of the negative comments she gets, but to encourage your commenters to attack people with legitimate and smart claims, is just awful. And that's not conspiracy theory–that's just pointing out bad, insecure, green manners. I'm amazed I'm getting bullied like this.

  • J.J.

    And low horse: agenda?! Personal vendetta? Who's the conspiracy theorist? Nobody cares so much. Why would I harbor that against a “domestic bliss” columnist new to the internet? Anyone who is counting the number of comments I make just isn't a casual commentor, sorry. But definitely a “low horse” if you want to get insulting!

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