Mon-Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, closed
6 at 51st St.; E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
This venue is closed.
Il Menestrello—the minstrel—opened at the height of the disco era in 1977. Now, after a short move from its original location on 52nd St., it continues to frolic to its own beat, content to be untrendy. This Northern Italian restaurant, enchants businesspeople and sophisticated out-of-towners alike with its reliable timelessness. The waiters personally sauce up the kitchen's pasta dishes using a small butane stove in the dining room, and serve the piping hot creations to patrons. Those pastas should not be missed, especially gnocchetti, cloud-like, mini potato dumplings blended with a meaty, tomato-inflected veal ragu with shiitake mushrooms. Other selections include angel hair pasta with crab meat and tomatoes, chicken tortellini in cream sauce, and farfalle with salmon and vodka. Mains tend towards veal and chicken, which are typically grilled or pounded thin and sautéed and sauced with white wine, rosemary, or fresh tomatoes. Fork-tender ossobuco crowns a creamy barley risotto; the rich marrow is utterly irresistible. Disco may be dead, but Il Menestrello rocks on.Recommended Dishes
Gnocchetti al sugo di carne e funghi, $19.95; osso buco con risotto dorzo, $32.95